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SAFETY | 8 out of 10
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The JX is chockfull of fascinating and advanced active-safety features, but you'll have to pay extra for them, and in some cases, "opt into" them every single time you drive, thanks to Infiniti's lawyers.
Infiniti clearly invested more capital in safety features and creature comforts than [in] the driving experience
So far, the 2013 Infiniti JX hasn't been rated for crash safety by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has given it four stars overall, with identical ratings in all categories except for a five-star showing in side-impact protection.
The JX comes with six airbags standard, including side-curtain bags that protect passenger heads in all three rows. As well as standard equipment like anti-lock brakes and traction control, there's a full suite of electronic safety systems. Among them is an Around-View Monitor, which includes sensors for detection of moving objects.
That permits a new feature that's a world first, one that tested extremely well with parents, known as Backup Collision Intervention. Using sonar sensors in the rear bumper for plastic objects, and radar in the rear quarter panels to sense metal objects and longer distances, the system scans continuously for movement nearby when the car is put into reverse. If it senses an object--whether it's a child or a stray little red wagon--moving into the path of travel, it quickly applies the brakes to prevent a collision after providing visual and audible warnings. The system can be toggled on or off with a dashboard switch, and works at speeds up to 5 mph for objects at the rear, and about 15 mph for rear cross-traffic alerts.
Beyond that, a long list of better-known safety systems includes Lane Departure Warning and Prevention, Blind-Spot Warning and Intervention, Forward Collision Warning, Intelligent Brake Assist, and Distance Control, otherwise known as adaptive cruise control. All systems worked as advertised in a half-day test drive, though the Lane Departure Warning seemed more sensitive than in other vehicles we've tested. It became irksome, warning us every time we changed lanes--deliberately or not--unless we used turn signals religiously.
As part of the telematics suite, owners can set up Drive Zone and Speed Zone alerts that will notify them via text or e-mail when the vehicle exceeds a predefined speed or crosses the boundaries of a designated geographic area--either a "stay within" or a "keep out" zone. The service also contacts local emergency responders if an airbag triggers or it senses a crash, locates stolen vehicles, and can unlock the vehicle remotely at the owner's request.For a vehicle this large, the rear-quarter vision is pretty good--provided you're not using the third row, whose headrests are thankfully designed to fold down to open up vision through the rear window. Folding them down, unfortunately, requires opening the rear liftgate and pulling a pair of tabs, but at least they do fold down in the first place.
With a four-star crash-test rating, the 2013 Infiniti JX has one standout safety feature in surround-view cameras.