By Jennifer Geiger on June 15, 2012
In a lot of crossovers, getting into the third row is usually a tricky exercise for adults. If a child seat is installed in the second row, it's almost impossible. According to Infiniti, the second row of its new JX crossover not only makes the maneuver possible, but easy. But how well does it actually work? We put it to the test with and without a child-safety seat and came away impressed.
Infiniti says the second row slides forward and backward 5.5 inches to ease third-row access, and we found that there's plenty of room for an adult to get by. The doors open wide, too, easing the process, though the step-in height is very high. Smaller children and older adults will have trouble with the height.
Managing Editor David Thomas used his own Britax Marathon car seat in the passenger-side second-row seat over the weekend. "It was strange to see such a large child seat move out of the way like that. My wife was able to get into the third row easily, but my baby boomer parents who were in town for a visit couldn't handle the maneuver at all." He did like the sliding second row in terms of giving third-row passengers more room on the fly. The seats weren’t too heavy to slide back and forth, even with kids sitting in child seats.
In other ways, the JX's cabin could be more family friendly. The vehicle we tested had a light cream-colored interior, which kids will quickly trash during everyday use. "After one pickup from daycare, my kids left a heavy pattern of footprints all over the seats and floor," Thomas said. There are three interior leather colors to choose from, however.
And then there are the Latch anchors. They were easy to find and use, but they're only in the second row's outboard seats. Infiniti could've added them to the third row, too. Same for the third-row tether anchor; there's only one for a seat that holds two passengers. As for the second row, the center seatback doubles as an armrest, so it's not a safe place for a rear-facing child seat. Lastly, three car seats don't fit across the JX's second row. Some midsize SUVs — including Nissan's Murano — accomplish this feat; click here for a list of vehicles that can do this.
Although it may have fallen short in some family-friendly areas, Infiniti got the second row right. With or without a car seat installed, there was a wide enough path to the third row — no twisting and squeezing required.
Assistant Managing Editor Jennifer Geiger is a reviewer, car-seat technician and mom of three. She wears a lot of hats, many of them while driving a minivan. Email Jennifer