Sometimes we work too hard for success. We listen to others, constructive criticism or not, doing our best to make a change for the better. But are we really accomplishing that? I’ve always wondered if the ends justify the means. Not for me at CCS in Detroit: after trying to change myself to fit a certain mold and failing, I realized I’m totally okay with (most) everything I do. On or off the vellum.
I wonder if vehicles like the Infiniti JX are the byproduct of a design studio trying too hard to address criticisms. Or maybe this is just a common case of “over-styling” a vehicle. Either way, here we are.
Since when did we let vehicles get so big (or tall) that emblems make a statement by being the size of a license plate? I’m not sure if I love/hate the lumps and bumps on the hood, bumper and the strange wraparound curves of the headlights. The wings at the ends of the hood are a bit much, but nothing compared to that XXL grille. Silly makes the wrong statement for a luxury car brand.
While Lexus’ “spindle” grille has a certain presence from its sharp curves and layers of texture/elevations, this flat and flabby grille shows why Infiniti always plays second fiddle to that other premium Japanese brand.
When you need textured light/wind diffusers in such an obvious location on the headlight, you did something wrong. Maybe there was a last minute legality issue with the light output, or maybe those things were needed to smooth out the aerodynamics. Or maybe something else. Whatever that design problem is, this was the wrong solution.
This Mustang-esque lower valence treatment looks too sporty for a truck. Or SUV. Or CUV. But when you have a face as tall as this, you got a lot of real estate to style. At least the chrome fog light trim and not-solid plastic grille looks suitably upscale.
Hello Mr. Front Fascia, I’d like you to meet Mr. Hood and Mr. Fender. You guys obviously hate each other, but that’s what happens when you add too many curves with no real place to merge elements cleanly. For a fine example of this concept, check out the 1984 Corvette. It tucked away every panel gap behind a protective rubber stripe.
I enjoy directional, twisty wheels on vehicles with boring sheetmetal, it brings visual excitement where needed. The JX’s voluptuous curves don’t need them: it adds too much noise to an already noisy body. Furthermore, can you believe how short (yet tall in height) the overhang is on this machine?
Like Disco music in 1983, car based trucks are wearing really, really thin these days.
The negative area highlighted here may become a significant design element as you walk further back, but it starts in a horribly undefined/arbitrary location. I’d move it much farther away from the door’s cutline, so it’d be less of an afterthought and “part of the whole” package.
There’s a tacked-on mud flap up front, a clever chrome moulding (when nobody woulda minded ordinary paint) and a flared lower moulding at the bottom. I hate the latter, as they are usually so big that they require “notching” so you can actually open the door without squishing the moulding. Pontiacs of the 1990s were terrible about this, and it’s sad to see this trend continue apace.
The notch doesn’t go away when you step back. Even worse, the wavy sheetmetal is a unique element to the JX. Waves are a slippery slope, so to speak. The more waves you add, the uglier the door cut line becomes. I liked the aggressive (yet symmetric) coke-bottle profile of the 1996 Taurus from this angle, perhaps that’s the upper limit of good taste.
Toyota is pretty bad about over-styling the sheetmetal beneath the door handle to give a unique appearance, and now Infiniti is following suit. Somehow, some way, this trend needs to stop.
Ack! The plastic triangle bends up the window seal! Infiniti is far from the only automaker doing this bit of design sin, I just wish I could banish this to the land of tailfins, open fenders and other outdated design elements.
I needed to snag an EVOX image to really show off the side. From afar the JX looks much cleaner. The fender flares and side sculpturing are not just appealing, they are unique. But, as I’ve tried to show in the last few pictures, they over-styled the hell outta this vehicle. And for no good reason!
Speaking of…I normally like a radical looking side window, but this one tries way too hard. The logical crease that sweeps back to the tailgate is a nice touch, ditto the plastic tailgate trim emulating the window’s curve. But it’s not enough: this is such a silly design element.
Yup, still very silly. Plus, it makes a rather impressive blind spot. Remember when people bought SUV’s for their excellent view of the road from all corners? That died sometime around the Explorer-Firestone tire debacle.
While the front can get away with the curves and bubbles, the business end of a CUV needs to be boxy. Infiniti tries harder than most to hide that truth, and the overall look is contrived and counter-intuitive. The lower curve of the rear glass gives the rear end a silly smile, while the rakish lighting pods have no business on a CUV. Infiniti’s signature upper and lower license plate chrome mustaches are similarly out of place. When it comes to the business end of any vehicle, being simple (or at least functionally honest) in the design is the right move.
More to the point, the JX’s rear hatch has too many elevation changes. I like the design on the tail lights from this angle, if they were flush with the body. Stop trying so hard to be different! There’s not enough room for creative expressions at this point!
Here’s an EVOX image since mine was too washed out from this angle. You can’t see the elevation changes from here, which makes the JX look cleaner. Flattening out most of the elevation changes would make the JX look this good at other angles. But there’s really no hope in saving that rear glass treatment: this isn’t a Nissan Murano. It doesn’t work here.
Bumper protection is usually an extra-cost option, but it shouldn’t be this much of an afterthought. If you can’t flush this part into the bumper for all models, at least chop it off before it melts down the bumper. I’m fine with this treatment on a Hyundai CUV or similar, but Infiniti is a luxury brand!
Yup, they need to be inches thicker. Inches, because the dead space between the bumper and the tail lights is rather extravagant. And not in a good way.
Thanks for reading, have a wonderful week!