After suffering the indignity of a low-speed scrape in Chicago -- thanks, Toyota Camry driver -- we quickly whisked the JX35 off to the body shop, so it could be put right, in time for the summer road-trip season. May is the official kick-off to that season, and no one has embraced it more heartily than graphic designer John Kalmar. In fact, by the time the sun had set on Memorial Day Weekend, Kalmar had taken the JX35 on not one but two major in-state road trips in May.
He didn't do all of the 2248 miles we added to the JX35's total this month, but he did way more than his fair share. Thus, we will cede the floor to Mr. Kalmar.
Both trips -- one to the shore of Lake Michigan on the west side of the state, and one to the Upper Peninsula and another lakeshore, this one Lake Superior -- involved, as he put it, "lots and lots of highway driving." That meant plenty of time to check out the Infiniti's adaptive cruise control. At first, Kalmar was not a fan, but by Memorial Day, in heavy traffic on US-131, he was sold, saying it "definitely came in handy."
On both trips, seating comfort and roominess got full marks from Kalmar and his passengers. "I had three passengers in the car with me" on the Upper Peninsula trip, "and they all noted the spacious and comfortable interior. All three of them comfortably napped on-and-off in the back seats and the front passenger seat, while I tackled the seven-hour drive there and back." Such is the life of the designated driver. Still, he had no complaint: "The driver's seat was particularly comfortable; my back and legs weren't sore, and I didn't feel restless."
Although roomy and comfortable, "the JX didn't feel like a big boat from behind the wheel," he said. One complaint, however, is that it's not easy to see out of. "With the third-row seats up, I found that the blind spots are pretty bad. I found myself double- and triple-checking before merging because of the impaired view." What about the blind-spot monitoring system? While admitting that it was helpful, he also found it prone to false alarms.
Driving across the Mighty Mac, Michigan's often-windswept Mackinac Bridge, the JX was rock-solid in the gusty wind. Kalmar also gave the brakes a workout, thanks to crossing deer, and he spent some time on dirt and gravel roads, which the Infiniti handled with ease. "If I could choose one word to describe the JX," he said in conclusion, "it would have to be 'smooth' -- on the highway, in the city, and on rural country roads."
Fair enough, but next month, please let some other staffers have a turn.