2016 Infiniti QX60 AWDPosted on August 25th, 2016
Midsize crossover appeals to the driver in all of us
By Nina Russin
We all hate that point in life when we have to jump the shark, and be more pragmatic in our choice of vehicle.
The guys at Infiniti get this, and they’ve come up with a remarkably good solution: the midsize QX60 all-wheel drive crossover. For active families or couples who have a lot of gear to haul around, the QX fills all the squares. Seating for seven: check. Large configurable cargo area: check. All-wheel drive for off-road and four-season performance: check and check.
But here’s the best part: get behind the wheel and the QX60 is a hoot to drive, with a powerful 3.5-liter V-6 engine, a really good continuously variable automatic transmission (seriously, really good), and traction to all four wheels.
The QX60 isn’t cheap, with pricing for the all-wheel drive test car starting at $44,400. There are three option packages on the test car, a technology package including active safety features such as blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, backup collision intervention and forward emergency braking; upgraded Bose audio system and a theater package that adds an around-view monitor, Bluetooth streaming audio, navigation, eight-inch touchscreen and automatic wipers.
Final MSRP is $58,845, putting the QX60 right in the middle of the luxury segment. In this writer’s opinion, it’s worth the money.
Revised exterior styling
Designers refreshed the car’s exterior styling for 2016, giving it more affinity to the brand’s sport sedans with graceful fenders that sweep over its large 18-inch rims in similar manner to the haunches of a predatory cat.
A large grille with wrap-around headlamps and large air scoops give the car road presence. A rear spoiler and undercar aerodynamic enhancements contribute to 26 mile-per-gallon highway fuel economy.
The car’s elongated front end and hood bump pay homage to the 265-horsepower V-6 engine underneath. Peak torque is 248 pound-feet, giving the QX plenty of low-end power for acceleration off the line.
One of the car’s option packages has upgraded wheels on the test car to 20-inch rims with low-profile tires. The wheel/tire package gives the QX larger contact patches for better traction during aggressive driving, but also limits its practicality in snow or on unimproved roads. Those who plan to travel off the grid should probably stick with the standard 18-inch wheels.
Test drive in southern Arizona
Over the past week I drove the Infiniti QX60 around Phoenix, Arizona’s east valley as well as some two lane roads at the base of the San Tan Mountains southeast of town. What makes Infiniti’s midsize crossover so exceptional is that it doesn’t feel like a big car to drive. It’s peppy and nimble, not unlike a smaller sport sedan. Infiniti’s extensive Formula racing experience shines through in making the QX one of the rare crossovers driving enthusiasts won’t get tired of.
While most continuously variable automatic transmissions have a rubber band feel, making the gas pedal feel disconnected from the throttle, this one is actually quite responsive. The driver can dial in more aggressive throttle response with a sport mode, or opt for second gear starts on slippery roads in snow mode.
A four-wheel independent suspension consists of independent struts up front and a multi-link setup in the back. Beefy stabilizer bars on both axles keep the chassis flat in the corners.
The electric power steering system is well tuned, providing plenty of assist for maneuverability at low speeds and good on-center response on the highway.
Large vented disc brakes stop the car in firm, linear fashion with no risk of fading.
Visibility is somewhat limited towards the back of the car due to its large D pillars. Blind spot monitoring illuminates LED signals in the A pillars when vehicles in adjacent lanes pass through the driver’s blind spots.
The around-view monitor gives the driver a 360-degree view of the car’s perimeter when he shifts into reverse.
Three rows of seating give the QX60 room for up to seven passengers. Access to the first two rows is quite good. Kids will be most comfortable in the third row, with limited leg and headroom.
Second and third-row seats fold flat to extend the cargo floor for long items such as bicycles. Seats in the second row also recline to keep occupants comfortable on long road trips.
Keyless entry and start saves the driver from fumbling for the key fob, adding a measure of safety after dark. I found the power driver’s seat easy to adjust. Adjustable lower lumbar makes the seat much more comfortable for drives over an hour in duration. Front seat ventilation that comes as part of an option package makes the leather upholstery much more comfortable in the extreme summer heat.
Audio and infotainment controls are easy to access from either front seating position and intuitive to operate.
With the rear seats in place cargo room is limited. There’s enough room for the weekly groceries or a couple pieces of luggage. Roof rails on the test car make it easy to add an overhead carrier.
The Infiniti QX60 comes with front, side and side curtain airbags, antilock brakes, traction control, stability control, daytime running lamps and tire pressure monitoring. The car received a five-star overall crash test rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Infiniti builds the QX60 at its Smyrna, Tennessee assembly plant.
Like: A stylish seven-passenger crossover with a spacious, versatile interior, excellent power and handling.
Dislike: Expensive option packages significantly increase the vehicle’s final MSRP.
Model: QX60 AWD
Horsepower: 265 Hp @ 6400 rpm
Torque: 248 lbs.-ft. @ 4400 rpm
Antilock brakes: Standard
Side curtain airbags: Standard
First aid kit: N/A
Bicycle friendly: Yes
Fuel economy: 19/26 mpg city/highway2016, Luxury 2016, Active Lifestyle Vehicles, auto review, Infiniti, performance, pricing, QX60, standard safety