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Best high-tech car for mom: Infiniti JX35

Infiniti’s JX35 crossover vehicle comes with “Infiniti Connection” technology that shoots information about the vehicle to most smartphones through a dedicated app. Beyond that, it syncs with Google calendar so that you can access your schedule—soccer games, piano lessons, pilates classes, and happy hour at Mel’s—through the vehicle’s central information screen. Throw in the optional and spectacular Around View Monitor that uses four cameras to generate a 360-degree mosaic of what’s surrounding the vehicle, and running a family becomes easy. Well, easier.

Check out the bumper-to-bumper review on Edmunds.com.

The test-drive

The 2013 Infiniti JX35 is a family-friendly luxury crossover—Infiniti’s answer to the Acura MDX and the Lexus RX. This seven-passenger SUV is packed with tech, including a fancy infotainment system and tons of safety features.

The first time you hop behind the wheel of this luxury car, you might find yourself a bit overwhelmed. After all, the inside of the JX35 is littered with buttons, ports, and screens. However, once you start using the interior tech, you’ll find that it’s quite user-friendly. The buttons are merely options (the infotainment system can also be controlled by touch or voice), the rear-facing screens are useful for distracting bored children, and the backseat component hookup lets kids play video games and DVDs on long road trips.

Multiple means of control

The JX35’s infotainment system is located on the car’s head unit, which features an 8-inch WVGA color touchscreen surrounded by physical buttons.

You can control the screen by touch, by the surrounding buttons, by buttons located on the steering wheel, or by voice. The touchscreen doesn’t offer haptic feedback, but with so many control options this is hardly needed.

The touchscreen offers basic in-vehicle apps, such as GPS-based navigation, route guidance, climate control, and stereo system. There are no fancy third-party apps, such as Internet radio, but you can stream music from your smartphone to the car’s Bose speaker system. The touchscreen is relatively snappy—it’s quicker than the Cadillac ATS’ CUE system, but it’s nowhere near what you’ll find on a modern smartphone or tablet.

'Around View' with four eyes 

The head unit screen is also where you’ll see the images from the JX35’s Around View cameras. This SUV has more than just a rear-view camera, it’s got four cameras located around the body of the car. These cameras offer up a 360-degree view of what’s around the car, which is useful for navigating into tight parking spaces. When you look at this camera on the touchscreen, you’ll also see guidelines that show what path the car will take based on how the wheels are turned. This makes backing into a parking space fun, like a video game, as you try to align the virtual guidelines with the physical parking lines.

The instrument cluster screen isn't huge, but shows vital car information such as tire pressure and gas mileage.

The JX35 also has a small screen built into the instrument cluster. This screen shows safety alerts, vehicle data, and stats, such as the tire pressure, whether various safety features are turned on or off, and trip information. 

Bottom line

There’s no doubt that the Infiniti JX35 is an excellent family car. Not only does it sport two 7-inch rear-facing screens for entertaining the backseat passengers (and each screen can show its own entertainment), it’s also highly adaptable for multiple drivers. Unlike some infotainment systems, which are primarily touch, voice, or button-based, the JX35 offers full control with all forms of input.

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