Now that I’ve driven the Infiniti M37 for a while, it’s time to provide a list of its shortcomings. Before I opened this can of worms let me make something clear. Although these seven things really bother me, I still like the car. I don’t have buyer’s remorse, because my Cadillac developed an unsolvable problem.
Even though the Infiniti M37 isn’t perfect, I would be in a much worse situation if I still had the SRX. I will say I expected more from the five-year newer Infiniti product in the technology department. There are a bunch of things that this car is missing that Cadillac has had in place for a decade. Let it be known that there are many positive aspects of my new used car. Rest assured that next month I’ll post an article about the five things I like about the Infiniti M37.
No Remote Start Feature
When I looked at this Infiniti M37 the first thing I noticed is no remote starter function. Although at the time I was disappointed I didn’t realize the magnitude of this issue. I understand that aftermarket systems are available, but I want no parts of them. They should build a remote start feature into any upscale automobile from the factory at this point.
The Cadillac spoiled us by allowing me to start the engine a few minutes before entering the vehicle. A nice feature in the wintertime so that we could start a trip of any length without freezing. However, now we’re in the summer season, I miss the remote start feature even more.
In fact, I thought something was wrong with the air conditioning, because it was so hot for so long. I ran an AC performance test and found the discharge temperature at the center duct in the 45 degree range. This is impressive and a sure sign that there’s nothing wrong with the air.
The problem appears to be a combination of the black interior, sunroof, lack of window tinting and a large cabin area. The Cadillac didn’t have a sunroof, had a light color interior and I could use the remote start to run the car for five minutes before I entered. It’s something I truly miss and I don’t understand why Infiniti didn’t have this on the standard equipment list.
Rear Seat Doesn’t Fold Down
The Infiniti M37 has a large trunk area and a roomy back seat area. Unfortunately, the rear seat doesn’t fold down to tie these two large spaces together. This vehicle has the capability to carry as much as any SUV if they included the thoughtful feature. To make matters worse, they tease us with a very small pass-through hatch.
This means I can drop the armrest in the rear seat back and look into the trunk. So far the only thing that I could fit through the narrow pass through is our beach umbrella. What the small hatch does allow me to see is just how much space we could have benefited from. Not allowing the seat to fold down completely baffles me.
Doors Don’t Unlock in Park
The Infiniti M37 is equipped with automatic locking and unlocking door locks. Nevertheless, what is so frustrating about them is when they automatically lock and unlock. In my Cadillac SRX the door locks engaged when you moved the shifter from park to drive or reverse. They unlocked when the gear shift lever is placed in the park position.
On the Infiniti the doors don’t lock until you reach 5 mph in a forward gear. This means that when you put the car in reverse the doors are open. When you’re driving down the street in your neighborhood the doors are still unlocked. Then when you hit the magical 5 mph limit they snap shut with such force it scares everyone in the car. The automatic unlock feature isn’t activated when you put the vehicle in park.
They will not unlock until you turn off the engine. This means when we arrive at the restaurant and I put the vehicle in park all of the passenger start operating the door handles, but they can’t get out of the vehicle. I rush to turn off the vehicle as fast as I possibly can, but because the passengers are frantically operating the door handle they still can’t get out. Now I have to use the unlock button and ask everyone to remain calm so that we can all get out of this car. Remember in my Cadillac as soon as I put the shifter in park the doors unlocked. This makes a lot of sense.
No Battery Voltage Display
Another item that I am still trying to wrap my head around is no battery voltage display on the driver information center. As a mechanic this is something I would like to see at all times. This is a problem, because I use the vehicle for a lot of short trips. I’d like to keep an eye on how diminished the battery is becoming.
I would also like to see on longer trips that the alternator is putting out in the 14.7 V range and as the trip progresses, this should decrease as the battery comes up to its ideal level of charge. I would like to know the current state of my alternator and battery instead of being blindsided by a no start condition. This desire increases as the original battery starts pushing for 5 years of age. I’m not sure why Infiniti doesn’t value the alternator and voltage measurement.
The Infiniti M37 had technical service bulletins issued on several battery problems. The first one was for a dead battery due to people not operating the start button correctly and actually leaving the vehicle in accessory mode. The second issue was a feature they built in, to increase fuel economy, by throttling back the alternator rate of charge. Both of these problems were corrected with a computer firmware update.
Fuel, Motor Oil and Hyper Maintenance
I think the strongest part about this Infiniti M37 is the 3.7 L V-6 engines. Unfortunately, they coax 330 hp out of the engine by using premium fuel. I didn’t find out about this issue until the papers were signed. I hate pulling up to the gas pump and paying $.60 more for fuel than I paid for my Cadillac. With that said, the Infiniti M37 gets about 6 miles per gallon more in the fuel economy department. So the expense of premium unleaded fuel is slightly mitigated between this car and my old one.
Another difference between the General Motors Corp. V-6 and the Nissan V-6 motor is the type of engine oil they use. To my surprise the 3.7 L recommends conventional grade motor oil in the 5W-30 weight. This means oil changes every three months or 3,000 miles as recommended in the owner’s manual. The Cadillac had an engine oil life monitoring system and used Mobile One full synthetic oil.
Not only do I have to change my engine oil more, but there are some strange recommendations in the owner’s manual like frequent brake fluid changes. Again the Infiniti utilizes an old fashioned DOT 3 brake fluid instead of the modern DOT 5 synthetic. Also in the braking department the original equipment brake pads and rotors wear quickly. I put a post together about what kind of brake pads work well on the Infiniti. At a time in automotive history when maintenance intervals are increasing Infiniti is holding the line with hyper maintenance.
Infiniti Transmission Shifting Issues
In 2011 Infiniti launched a new 7-speed transmission behind the 3.7L V6 in the M37 series cars. In June 2012 they came out with a fix for a complaint about erratic shifting problems and harsh downshifts. The update bulletin number is 1TB12-021.
It flashes the transmission control module with new firmware to address the issue. Since it’s a firmware update it has to be performed at an Infiniti dealership. However, after the reprogramming I’m still not thrilled with the way this transmission shifts. It seems to hunt for gears at times.
It also shifts early and requires an excessive amount of throttle before downshifting on its own. Another thing I don’t like about the shifting is that each gear feels different. Sometimes the shift is firm and sometimes it slides into the next gear. Yet, my biggest concern is that I have an intermittent flare up between gears.
I’ve noticed this most in the 2 to 3 or 3 to 4 shifts. The problem is so infrequent it seems like a waste of time to take it to the dealership for diagnosis. I will say the update most certainly improved the harsh downshift, so I consider it worth your time to have it done.
Back Up Camera
On the second day I owned this car I almost ran somebody over backing out of the Public’s parking lot. My Cadillac had a radar system that warned if someone stepped behind the rear bumper. I truly miss this feature. I thought that the backup camera would be good enough, but I was wrong.
The problem is the display is almost impossible to see when the sun hits it. With a large amount of windows and a sunroof, it seems like the sun is always hitting the screen. This leaves the backup camera completely useless.
Before you say I need to turn up the brightness, I want you to know, I have found that setting and it’s set for maximum. Another thing I’m having a hard time getting used to is the lines projected behind the image of the automobile. They come in three colors of green, yellow and red, but I’m having a hard time seeing how they apply to the current situation. Maybe this is something I’ll get used to over time, but for now I do not like the Infiniti M37 backup camera.
Infiniti M37 Interior Issues
Going back to the interior compartment there’s a bunch of things that aggravate inside the Infiniti M37. The center console seems a bit on the wide side and it cuts into the interior space. The other thing about the console is the beautiful wood trim sealed in a high gloss finish. It’s beautiful to look at, but is statically charged to attract and hold dust. I have purchased specialized dusting cloths to remove the dust, but they don’t work.
When you go to dust the console it just pushes the dust into different places, but fails to remove it. So far the only thing I have used that worked is a leaf blower inside the vehicle to blow the dust out the door. Another area that collects and traps dust is the seats. The seats are air-conditioned. They allow the cool to flow up through the leather fabric through tiny little breathing holes. These little holes attract sand, dust and dirt. This shows as tiny white spots and detracts from the beauty of the interior seating surfaces.