It’s been about a year since Infiniti’s new boss Johan de Nysschen decided to change the names on all Infiniti models and restructure the lineup. (Now that that’s happen, Nysschen has jumped ship and moved to another luxury brand but the new model names remain.)
While we think it was probably a good idea, although we’re still a little uncertain as to which is which and that has become even more confusing as further new models are introduced. We are sure a year or two from now it will all make sense, but for now we’re still in an area of dawn that requires us to use lights, or in this case we occasionally have to take a quick peak at the Infiniti web site to make sure we know which model is which.
The Infiniti QX60 is comparable in size and price to other premium crossovers including the Acura MDX, Audi Q7 and Volvo XC90, but the interior design gives in nearly as much space as Infiniti’s largest SUV the QX80.
The QX60 gets high marks for styling with its distinctive long sleek look with large smooth wheel flares and strong character lines. The modified Infiniti family grille visually attaches to the “A” pillars through strong creases in the hood and the notched “D” pillar add to the fresh distinctive look that sets it apart from competitors.
Inside the space is attractive, well executed and functional, plus it can actually hold seven people. Standard equipment includes posh leather seating and a full range of power equipment including the rear liftgate. The second and third row seating folds flat to accommodate up to 76.5 cubic feet of cargo – that’s a lot of recreational equipment or shopping treasures. In addition, the second row seats have 5.5-inches of travel, so you can adjust for passengers or cargo as needed. The interior is beautiful, but we discovered one problem when the sun gets in an overhead position – as the sun hits the center stack the chrome and shiny wood surface reflects right in the driver’s eyes on accession.
Rather than using the venerable Infiniti V-6 engine, the hybrid has a 230-hp supercharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine paired with 15kw electric motor together producing 250 horsepower (that’s only 15 horsepower fewer than the V-6 model). The pair drives the QX60h through a Continuously Variable Transmission providing power to the front wheels or all four wheels on all-wheel drive models. Plus the transmission does have a manual shift mode for drivers who want a little more control.
The Infiniti Direct Response Hybrid® system uses a compact Lithium-ion battery and electric motor to provide supplementary power through its one-motor/two-clutch system. The efficient drivetrain has an EPA rating of 25 mpg city, 28 mpg highway and 26 mpg combined, which Infiniti claims is the best-in-class combined fuel economy. As a contrast, the V-6 powered QX50 is rated at 20 mpg city and 26 mpg highway. What’s interesting about this Infiniti Hybrid is that it only cost $3,000 more than the gas-only version. Unlike some other hybrids, however, this one’s smaller battery does not support electric-only motoring other than when coasting.
The 2014 Infiniti QX60 Hybrid, drives much like the last JX35 we drove, and that’s a good thing. The ride is very smooth and quiet, handling is like a large sedan with a little lean on the corners and the steering is slightly muted. But overall it’s a very pleasant driving experience, and about what we expect from a seven-passenger crossover.
The Infiniti Connections and Connection Plus system in the QX60 contains a grouping of telematics services and Personal Assistance that provides 24-hour access to a team of live professional assistants. They include features like Automatic Crash Notification, Emergency Call, Enhanced Roadside Assistance, stolen vehicle reporting, remote door lock and unlock, alarm notification, Maintenance Alert, Schedule Maintenance Notification. It also has Google My Schedule collaboration which is like having a spouse constantly reminding you of those things that need to be done.
Safety and driver assist features include Around View™ Monitor with Moving Object Detection; Lane Departure Warning and Lane Departure Prevention; Blind Spot Intervention™ system; Intelligent Cruise Control (Full-Speed Range); Distance Control Assist; Intelligent Brake Assist with Forward Collision Warning and Active Trace Control.
Another neat feature for parents with teen drivers is Drive Zone/Speed Alert, which can be used to establish boundaries to monitor where and what young drivers are doing. It can even play snitch by sending a text, e-mail or make a phone call to the parent when the teen driver has broken the rules. It sounds devious, but it could save the life of someone you love.
One other important piece of available technology that comes with the Technology Package is the Backup Collision Intervention system that detects vehicles approaching from either side when you back up. If the system sees a vehicle is moving into your path it flashes a light, makes a sound and presses back on the accelerator. If that doesn’t work, it ultimately can apply the brakes.
A gas powered QX60 has a base price of $43,095, including the destination charge. All-wheel drive adds $1,400 and you can make it a Hybrid for $3,000 more. Our test vehicle had the works, which includes roof rails, Theater Package, Deluxe Technology Package, Illuminated Kickplates and the Hybrid Premium Package which brought the bottom line all the way up to $60,789. The result was one of the most technologically equipped vehicles we’ve driven recently. You can check out all the features and learn more about the QX60 hybrid at http://www.infinitiusa.com/.