Infiniti’s EX and FX crossovers are a hoot to drive, but as showroom performers, they’re the Microsoft Zunes of the automotive world. Crossovers like the Lexus RX and Acura MDX trounce the duo’s combined sales by tremendous margins every month in the charts. The execs at Infiniti are well aware of this, and are preparing the three-row JX to properly mount an assault on the luxury-crossover market.
Through the garbage-bag garb of this prototype, we can make out an Infiniti grille that may even beat that of the M sedan for bulginess. The roofline of the car in these photos is clean and elegant, tapering towards the rear into the oval-shaped rear window like those of the EX and FX. The design seems very far along—perhaps it’s even finished—and in profile, the truck is somewhat reminiscent of the low-slung Audi Q7. There isn’t a lot you can do to disguise seating for seven.
Unlike the rest of the current Infiniti lineup, which depends on just two rear-drive-based platforms—one for the G, M, EX, and FX, and a second for the QX—the JX will borrow a front-drive-based Nissan platform. (Our guess is the architecture from the Altima and Murano.) The bosses at Nissan and Infiniti haven’t yet spoken to the degree of differentiation between the JX and any Nissan siblings, but we expect the Infiniti to be something more than simply a stretched and rebadged Murano.
Our spy photographer also got a clear shot of the JX prototype’s interior, and the car shows both its Nissan roots and some Infiniti-style touches. The layout of the center stack is clearly dependent on what you’ll find in the Nissan Murano, with a centrally mounted display flanked by air vents. The gearshift lever is similar to what you’d find in other Infinitis, though, and you can also spot the same knob on the center console, situated between the seat-heater controls, that controls chassis settings on other Infinitis.
As we previously reported, Nissan has filed paperwork with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office to trademark JX20, JX25, JX25h, and JX30. Which—if any—of these badges will one day adorn JX crossovers on the road is difficult to say. Infiniti’s current naming convention indicates the engine displacement in liters multiplied by ten, and we have a hard time believing the company would sell a three-row crossover SUV with a 2.0-liter or 2.5-liter engine—at least in the States. What’s more, Nissan doesn’t even have a 3.0-liter engine in the parts bin right now, save a diesel six offered in a few Renaults. In spite of there not being a trademark filing for JX35, we think the crossover is most likely to receive Nissan’s ubiquitous 3.5-liter VQ V-6, which produces in the neighborhood of 290 hp in most of its front-wheel-drive applications. Given Nissan’s proclivity for rubber-band transmissions, a CVT may be the only transmission on offer.
That’s where the speculation ends. In showing off its sketch in New York, Infiniti laid out its timeline for the JX: It will show a concept version at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in August, and follow that with a production vehicle at the L.A. auto show in November. Expect more information as those dates near.
Thanks to: Car and Driver