Infiniti JX Concept: First Look

  • Looks like: Luxury-loving families have a new option
  • Defining characteristics: Bulbous body panels and itsy-bitsy lights
  • Ridiculous features: None; this is what the real thing will look like
  • Chances of being mass-produced: Will go on sale next spring

Infiniti has been teasing the JX three-row crossover with close-up images that don’t reveal much. Now that we can finally see it all at once, the JX looks to be the best adaptation of Infiniti’s recent design to a large vehicle. Neither the QX nor FX has universal appeal that the G and M sedans have managed. The JX splits the difference.

That appeal will mean a lot because the production JX scheduled to go on sale next spring will look nearly identical to the “concept” you see here. A production version will be revealed at the 2011 L.A. Auto Show.

Because of its concept status, hard specs weren’t released, but Infiniti promises the JX will have class-leading interior room. Families will be interested to hear that the second row will be able to slide forward, allowing access to the rear, even with a child-safety seat still attached to the Latch anchors. The company says the second row can slide forward or back 5.5 inches. That translates to a really roomy second row to us.

Powering the behemoth will be a version of Nissan’s venerable V-6 engine used in nearly everything from the Nissan 370Z to the Infinti FX35. The company did not announce whether it would be the 3.5-liter or more powerful 3.7-liter version of that engine, however. We’d hope for the latter. It will be teamed to a continuously variable automatic transmission, the first Infiniti product to use one over a traditional automatic.

There will, of course, be a lot of tech as we’ve witnessed in action in the latest M. New features will include a 14-speaker Bose surround-sound stereo and a new telematics system that will sync your calendar — presumably from a smartphone — to the navigation system and guide you to your appointment.

Safety features like blind spot detection will be offered, along with a new backup collision intervention system that will detect objects passing behind the vehicle and engage the brakes to avoid a crash. This will be especially useful when backing up in a shopping center parking lot, but it could also prevent tragic driveway accidents involving children.

The production version, along with all the specs we’re waiting on, will be unveiled at the L.A. Auto Show in November. As always, we’ll be on hand to bring you the details and see if this design holds up in person.

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Former managing editor David Thomas has a thing for wagons and owns a 2010 Subaru Outback and a 2005 Volkswagen Passat wagon. Email David Thomas

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