Think about this for a second: What if you could be irresponsible, forget about your job, bills, the mortgage. What if you can have any car you wanted, no matter the cost? All that car has to do is get you from one place to another and leave you with a smile on your face when you switch the engine off.
Sadly, the truth is that there are responsibilities in life; a myriad mundane chores that make up the life of a suburbanite family in these modern times. That being said the truth, as ugly as it might be, is our vehicles can’t simply convey us from place to place; they have to be functional. They have to carry passengers, groceries, soccer balls and the family dog. Thus, we have to rely on vehicles that are larger than a sedan, or a coupe, or (gasp) a convertible.
To fill this niche the automakers begat us the SUV/Crossover. Not exactly a car, not exactly a minivan, an SUV is something in between. Yes, it can get from place to place, but it can also do stuff; carry kids and other things. The SUV/Crossover field is a crowded one, every major carmaker has them; Ford with its Escape, Chevy with its Equinox, Toyota Highlander, Dodge Durango, you get the idea. Even the high-end makers have SUV’s; Lexus for example and even Porsche.
Infiniti has an SUV/Crossover. We had one for a week recently. The QX60 which just last year was the JX35, is Infiniti’s addition to the world of SUV’s.
The luxury moniker of Nissan, Infiniti has proven they can give you luxury . We’ve driven a few of them and found them to be quite nice. So it is with the QX60. Indeed it oozes luxury and actually looks quite nice, inside and out.
The QX60 is based on the Nissan Pathfinder foundation. However, this isn’t simply a Pathfinder with a lot of bling, it does stand out on its own. And does so quite nicely. In all there are three rows of seating, and unlike some SUV’s, the third row is actually useable for something other than carrying coats. The side rear doors are wide enough and the second row seats can actually move up far enough to allow real adult people to climb in.
The QX60 comes in both conventional gas engine (QX60) and gas-electric hybrid-powered (QX60 Hybrid) versions. Each comes in a single trim level and offers a choice of either front- or all-wheel drive. There are a great deal of standard features and a near dizzying array (Seven) of option packages such as the Premium package, the Deluxe Touring package, Theater package, Technology and Deluxe Technology packages. In all, these packages can take an MSRP from around $40,000 to nearly $60,000. Why Infiniti, or any other carmaker for that matter, won’t simply offer the best it has, escapes us. It almost feels like you need to push a grocery cart through the showroom and try to fill it with what it is you want. That can be quite the pain, especially when your kid keeps trying to throw things in your cart you don’t really want. Our test model had just about everything available (Thank you Infiniti), but we could not imagine having to set in a dealership looking over a list of extras:” Would you like the Premium and Driver Assistance package and the Technology or Technology plus package. Oh, you could add the Deluxe Touring package”. Wait, stop. That’s all too confusing. Just sell us the car and tell us what it has in it.
Perhaps the best thing the QX60 has going for it is the addition of a hybrid for 2014. We were once hybrid haters, but with some of the newer ones, there is more than enough power to pass a Prius and good enough fuel mileage to keep a few bucks in our pockets.
The standard engine, which is what we had, is a 3.5-liter V6 that makes 265 hp and 248 pound-feet of torque. A CVT is the only available transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, while all-wheel drive is optional. We had the all-wheel drive. The Hybrid combines a supercharged 2.5-liter inline 4-cylinder and an electric motor powered by a compact Lithium-ion battery pack that gets a net system rating of 250 horsepower.
The interior has a nice combination of wood leather, and metal accents, and Infiniti's electronics interface with its combination of physical buttons, a touchscreen and a rotary knob is easy to use. We had the optional 360-degree camera system that has a top-down view of the vehicle in relation to its surroundings when you need to park in tight spots. The seating in front with an eight-way power driver’s seat, and a six-way power passenger seat, is comfortable and the view is excellent as it usually is in an SUV. There is a rotary switch mounted in the center console, that allows a choice of four drive modes – Standard, Sport, Eco and Snow – depending on road and climate conditions. The system will vary throttle response and the CVT to optimize performance.
Since our week was spent in Central Florida during the middle of August we didn’t have cause to use the “Snow” mode. However, we did try the Eco mode, and sadly found it a bit annoying on the road as it generates feedback via the gas pedal and a light on the dash to try to keep you driving in the most efficient manner possible. Please, please don’t tell us how to drive.
On the road the QX60 drives, well, okay. Just okay. The power is adequate, but the vehicle seems a bit heavy and he CVT transmission (to be fair like most others) seems to always be trying to play catch up. Due to the heaviness, perceived or real, aggressive cornering is not something we wanted to try much. In the interest of the review we did try however, but to be honest never really got our foot into it.
Overall the QX60 is a good SUV. However, it is just that, good. Not surprising, not awe inspiring, not really all that exciting to drive. But in the end that’s what an SUV really is; it’s not designed to take on a track or zip through traffic. An SUV gets things done. The QX60 does that and does it in style. Although it’s luxurious, it’s not flashy, but it’s not trying to be. It may not have the pizzazz of some others in its class, but for the luxury appointments alone it’s well worth a look.
MSRP (As tested, with five of seven available option packages): $57,240
Engine: 3.5 Liter V6, 265 hp @ 6400 rpm,248 ft-lbs torque @ 4400 rpm
Fuel Mileage (EPA estimated): 19 city, 25 highway, 21 combined
Fuel Mileage (as tested in mixed conditions): 20 mpg
Width 6 Ft. 5.2 In. (77.2 In.)
Height 5 Ft. 8.6 In. (68.6 In.)
Length 16 Ft. 4.4 In. (196.4 In.)
Ground Clearance 0 Ft. 6.5 In. (6.5 In.)
Front Track 5 Ft. 8.9 In. (68.9 In.)
Rear Track 5 Ft. 5.7 In. (65.7 In.)
Wheel Base 9 Ft. 6.2 In. (114.2 In.)
Front Head Room 40.7 In.
Front Hip Room 56.8 In.
Front Leg Room 42.3 In.
Front Shoulder Room 60.3 In.
Rear Hip Room 55.8 In.
Rear Head Room 38.3 In.
Rear Leg Room 41.7 In.
Rear Shoulder Room 60.4 In.
Maximum Towing Capacity 5000 Lbs. (When Properly Equipped)
Epa Interior Volume 165.6 Cu.Ft.
Curb Weight 4462 Lbs.
Cargo Capacity, All Seats In Place 15.8 Cu.Ft.
Basic 4 Yr./ 60000 Mi.
Drivetrain 6 Yr./ 70000 Mi.
Roadside 4 Yr./ 60000 Mi