In the mid-1900s, the station wagon served the needs of new car buyers who wanted more functionality and the capacity for more passengers or cargo. Then came minivans, followed by sport utility vehicles and now Crossovers are the most popular of the new utilitarian vehicles.
The crossover market is larger than any of the others because of the broad appeal and more car-like attributes. It runs a full spectrum from entry-level transportation up through to the recent influx of luxury cruisers. You know the category is hot, when brands like Bentley and Jaguar announce the addition of future crossover models.
Infiniti has been in the crossover/SUV market for a dozen years with their futuristic-looking FX35 and FX45 models which debuted in 2003. Currently Infiniti offers three crossovers, the QX50, QX60 and QX70 plus the full-size QX80 SUV.
In the new Infiniti naming scheme, all models start with a Q while crossovers and SUVs use the QX moniker. The numbers no longer refer to engine sizes, but more to a relative size – larger numbers, mean larger vehicles.
The mid-level luxury QX60, replaces what Infiniti originally called the JX35 when it was first introduced as a 2013 model. The QX60 is a three row configuration that is available in front-wheel or all-wheel drive.
The QX60 is powered by the Infiniti/Nissan award winning 265-hp, 3.5-liter DOHC V-6 engine with CVT (continuously variable transmission) with D-Step Logic Control and manual shift mode. Unlike typical CVTs which almost feel as if the engine RPM and vehicle speed are unconnected the D-Step Logic simulates the feeling of a geared transmission during acceleration. It also has the Infiniti Drive Mode Selector, which allows the driver to use a console mounted rotary switch to select from four drive modes – Standard, Sport, Eco and Snow. Each mode varies throttle response and the shift program for the conditions.
The QX60 accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 7.8 seconds according to buff magazine tests. Fuel economy is rated by the EPA at 21 mpg city, 27 mpg highway and 23 mpg combined. We averaged 23.1 mpg during a week of combined driving.
There is also a hybrid version of the QX60 hybrid which uses a 230-hp supercharged four-cylinder engine supplemented by a 15kW electric motor connected to an advanced electronically controlled continuously variable transmission. Combined the hybrid has a 250-hp rating. Our review on the hybrid is available at http://ourautoexpert.com/2014-infiniti-qx60-hybrid-awd-test-drive/. The hybrid AWD is rated at 25/28/26 mpg.
The interior treatment shows a high level of elegance and quality workmanship with an open airy feeling. The rear doors are longer and second row seating slides far forward both which make for easier access to the second and third rows, and the third row has enough knee space and headroom for two adults who won’t feel punished for having to sit there. The QX60 has much more interior space than the exterior size would indicate. With all three rows of seating in place cargo space is 15.8 cubic feet. With the third row folded it goes to 40.8 cu. ft. and 76.5 cu. ft. with the two rear rows folded.
In basic form, the Infiniti QX60 has an extensive list of standard luxury features including leather seating (heated in the front), moonroof, HomeLink, Tri-Zone climate control, power rear liftgate, power tilt/telescoping steering wheel and heated outside mirrors.
Standard technology enhancements include rear view monitor, seven-inch color display, intelligent key and push button start, Bluetooth and Sirius XM satellite radio. Then there are other standard features like automatic off/on bi-Xenon headlights and all the electronic stability, electronic braking aids and an Active Trace Control system which automatically applies brakes and smooths engine torque characteristics to improve the cornering feel.
The 2015 Infiniti QX60 pricing starts at $43,395, including the destination charge, for the front-wheel drive version. The Hybrid starts at $44,795 and all-wheel drive is $1,400 more on either version.
Our test vehicle was nicely outfitted with four of the available packages: Technology ($2,600) — Backup Collision Intervention, Intelligent Brake Assist with Forward Collision Warning, Blind Spot Warning, Lane Departure Warning, Intelligent Cruise Control and Distance Control Assist. The Deluxe Touring Package ($3,450) – 20-inch alloy wheels, Bose Surround Sound, Advance Climate Control, Heated 2nd row seats, Climate Controlled front seats and maple interior accents. The Premium Package ($1,550) – Bose 13-speaker sound, memory seats, heated steering wheel and remote engine start. The Premium Plus Package ($3,000) – Infiniti connect, hard drive navigation system, eight-inch color screen, voice recognition, around-view monitor, rain sensing wipers and more.
The Infiniti QX60 looks and feels luxurious and pampers the occupants with a smooth, comfortable and quiet ride. The handling is good, it stays flat in the corners and is well controlled over rough roads. The brakes are a strong four-wheel vented disc design. The Infiniti QX60 should be on your ‘must drive’ list, if you are shopping for a mid-size luxury crossover.