Used Vehicle Review: Infiniti JX35, Infiniti QX60, 2013-2017

Vehicle Type

Flexible cabin, relatively generous third-row seating, ease of entry and exit, a large amount of technology for the money, and a smooth, pleasing, and efficient powertrain.

Crossover

History/Description

Launched in 2012 for model year 2013, the Infiniti JX35 (renamed Infiniti QX60 from 2014 and on), amounted to an attainable, family-ready premium crossover with a three-row-from-the-get-go design that helped it find a place in the driveways of many growing families.

Most notably, the JX35/QX60 was designed to carry three rows of occupants from its initial concept. As one of the market’s only crossovers without a tiny, uncomfortable third-row seat added in as an afterthought, maximum comfort for all occupants was assured.

This machine was big on innovative, exclusive, and family-oriented stuff. While reversing, it can self-apply its brakes if a tricycle, LeSabre, or distracted texty-walking teen gets behind it. The second-row seats fold forward for third-row access, even with a child seat mounted. A full arrangement of premium feature content was on board, too – including Bose audio, navigation, voice command, climate-controlled leather seating, and much more.

If your budget allows, a 2016 or newer model offers revised styling, improved feature content, and an optimized ride and handling calibration.

Engines

A 3.5L V6 with 265 hp powered virtually all models. Infiniti offered this machine as a hybrid, though the overwhelming majority of used models will be powered by the conventional gasoline V6, so we’ll focus there. All units ran a continually variable transmission (CVT), and the all-wheel drive (AWD) system was fully automatic and operated with no driver input – though a drive-mode selector enabled selection of special Eco, Sport, or Snow modes. From model year 2017, the QX60’s engine was up-rated to 295 horsepower.

What Owners Like

Owners appreciate a flexible cabin, relatively generous third-row seating, ease of entry and exit, a large amount of technology for the money, and a smooth, pleasing, and efficient powertrain. In terms of ride quality, the powertrain, and the steering, many owners say this machine is expert at delivering a laid-back, secure, and comfortable drive, every time. Fuel mileage is also highly rated given the machine’s size and power output.

What Owners Dislike

Gripes include a massive turning circle and a few too many warning beeps and vibrations from the safety systems. Some drivers wish the gear-free CVT transmission felt a little less syrupy and sluggish at times, too. Finally, some wish for higher towing capacity.

Here are some owner reviews.

The Test Drive

Many owners report few if any issues from their JX35/QX60, as evidenced by this discussion. Some have complained of rattly dashboards and a shuddering or surging sensation from the transmission, though both these issues seem tied to early models, and owners say they’ve had minimal issue having dealers address them.

On the topic of the CVT transmission, note that some have reported having the shuddering sensation, if detected, remedied with software updates on 2013 and 2014 models, though others have had the transmission replaced in full. In the case that transmission replacement is required as a fix, it seems most likely at low mileage, and under warranty. Here’s some more reading.

Note that the vast majority of owners have had no transmission issues, though test drivers are advised to pay close attention to any warnings for signs of trouble. Coax any unwanted sensations from the transmission by applying light throttle at a lower speed (say, 60 km/h), and ideally when travelling up a moderate to steep hill. If any unwelcome sensations are detected, have the transmission and driveline inspected by an Infiniti dealer, or move to another unit.

Be sure to check the transmission’s servicing requirements in the owner’s manual, confirming that it’s not overdue for any fluid changes or maintenance. Confirm that all applicable software updates for the model you’re considering are up to date, too. If you’re set on an earlier model from this generation, an extended powertrain warranty that covers the transmission may be a good idea.

Move to the power liftgate, trying it several times from the liftgate-mounted handle, the remote, and the interior liftgate release switch. Confirm that the liftgate opens and closes from all triggers, and be on the lookout for any clumsiness – perhaps an unexpected reversal in direction, or failure to latch securely. If the liftgate seems to be acting up, remedies may include adjusting the latch alignment, or resetting the control module by temporarily disconnecting its power supply.

Numerous owners have reported premature wear of braking components. This is common in many new vehicles, and brake wear is a function of a multitude of factors, though test drivers should be on the lookout for squealing brakes, a weak or soft pedal feel, or any pulsations or dull vibrations through the vehicle when the brakes are applied lightly to moderately. Here’s some more reading.

Test drivers should also confirm proper operation from all steering-wheel-mounted controls, and proper functionality from the Bluetooth interface, which may be fussy or unable to consistently connect to certain smartphones. If that’s the case, updated software may be the fix.

Finally, have the QX60 inspected for a leaky transfer case, which should be easily spotted by a technician on a pre-purchase inspection (PPI). If noted, this issue is likely caused by a bad seal which will need to be replaced.

The Verdict

The JX35/QX60 looks to be a fairly solid and trouble-free used family utility vehicle candidate, especially when running all current software updates, and after a thumbs-up following a pre-purchase inspection from an Infiniti technician. For maximum peace of mind, go with a 2014 or newer unit sold as part of a certified pre-owned (CPO) program at an Infiniti dealer. If that’s not a possibility, a full pre-purchase inspection, with careful attention paid to the transmission, is highly advised.

Crash Test Ratings

IIHS: Top Safety Pick + (2016)

NHTSA: 5/5 Stars

Here’s a list of recalls.

Infiniti JX35 / QX60 has many satisfied owners. 2/1/2018 6:28:00 AM