Infiniti JX35/Nissan Pathfinder: Around View circle of safety
Infiniti was a pioneer in placing cameras on all four sides of the car (including two in the side mirrors facing straight down). Do that, stitch the image together in real time, display it all on the LCD display, and the Infiniti Around View Monitor makes it almost impossible to ding the car when pulling into or out of a tight parking space. You’ll also see exactly how close you are to the wall of a parking garage, you’ll never crunch the $500 front spoiler parking too close to a high curb, and you can parallel park with confidence. The new Infiniti JX35 / Nissan Pathfinder medium-large SUV is the latest and best user of this technology.
Infiniti also provides low-speed moving object detection: If a child, dog, or car gets too close as you’re backing in or pulling out, a warning sounds. Other tech helps avoid accidents too. Infiniti’s lane departure warning and prevention warns if you cross a lane without your signal on and selectively applies brakes on one side to nudge the car back into lane. Similarly, blind spot detection and intervention first warns if you’re about to change lanes if another car is in the lane and then, if you don’t take action, the car eases you back into lane. Adaptive cruise control is available; that’s a key technology for boring long-disance travel.
If you need a land cruiser that’s a bit smaller and also cheaper than the Mercedes-Benz GL, the JX may be the hot ticket. And if you need something cheaper than the Infiniti JX 35, the 2013 Nissan Pathfinder (photo) is much the same vehicle and offers Around View (on a $39,000 model, $11,000 up from the entry Pathfinder). It lacks the adaptive cruise control option so useful for long-distance cruising. This keeps the Pathfinder from cannibalizing Infiniti sales, Nissan execs hope. Both come with front-drive, CVT transmissions, and optional all-wheel drive.
PS: If you read this a year from now, the Infiniti JX35 will be name-changed to Infiniti QX60 as part of a rebranding campaign. This comes from the Japanese Nissan that was known in the US as Datsun, which became Nissan, which begat the Infiniti luxury brand that used Q a lot in its early models and now is bringing non-Q models into line and changing the numeric part from the engine displacement (3.5 liters here) to a semi-random number.
The 10 Best award stands. Barely. At one time, Q stood for quixotic, as in Infiniti’s chances of overtaking Lexus. Now, they’re on a roll.
- Key technology: Around View Monitor system shows overhead view of the vehicle when moving at slow speed in confined spaces.
- Pros: Great long distance cruiser with all the technology you’d hope for.
- Cons: Infiniti and Nissan suffer from the Asian Disease; lane departure and blind spot warnings are annoying beeps the passengers hear, too. European and American automakers vibrate the steering wheel or seat pan so only the driver knows the driver screwed up.