The 2017 Infiniti QX60 comes with a lot of luxury, comfortable three-row passenger space and great safety scores at a comparatively low price. Alvin Thomas takes the mid-size SUV for a first-hand taste of the all-new thrills and frills and declares: it may be the deal of the decade.
When you think of luxury crossovers, it’s highly unlikely that Infiniti is on the top of your list. Heck, if you’re dead serious about investing in an expensive SUV with seven seats, you’re most likely going to consider a German or American vehicle. Let’s be honest: the only reason you stopped at the showroom is because of its close proximity to several others, in Wattayah.
But that’s where things take a turn for the better. This is 2017, and Infiniti, after years of soul-searching, has finally shed its longstanding ‘underdog’ tag and begun playing with the big boys from the league.
How? Keep reading to find out.
What you’re looking at here then, folks, is a new era of Japanese luxury vehicles.
The future does look great, and for Infiniti, it all starts with the name: QX60.
Keen car-nuts will argue that it was once called the JX35, and they’re right! The SUV’s name has been changed – alongside several other SUVs in the lineup – in 2014. Think of it as a move by a teenager trying to figure himself out.
Now that they’ve got it sorted out, however, it all looks mighty good on paper.
A vehicle packing a V6 engine, all-wheel drive and an interior to rival most American SUVs, Infiniti isn’t just going at the competition; they’re trying to annihilate them.
It all starts with the exterior, though: it is unlike anything I have ever seen on the road. No, really! The body is curvaceous and incredibly slick; almost like it has been sculpted into various shapes by its designers.
The front fascia of the car is clean, and is only broken by a galore of chrome fittings upfront. It certainly broke the pearl white paint that my car was finished in and gave it a very posh feel.
The headlamps are carried over from the 2013 variant, but it adds daytime-LED lighting and xenon projector headlamps to the mix. Of course, you also get fog lamps and swooping air intakes on the bumper. If you look closely, though, you will notice the car chortling at you. It really cannot be unseen.
The sides are far more busy, with several curves and lines added to the body panels. Further incrementing the look is the sloping roofline, which ends in a slight kink in the D-pillar – it looks cool.
The rear possesses a hunchback-styled posterior, but it works in the QX60’s favour. The boomerang-shaped tail lamps now have diffusers inside them, which spread lights evenly. I never thought I would say this, but the Infiniti QX60 actually looks much swankier than when it first hit the market.
Stepping inside, the interior looks fabulous, even by ultra-luxury standards. Thankfully, Infiniti sticks to a single touchscreen on the dashboard, which is controllable via a rotary dial and shortcut buttons, integrating the stereo, climate control and navigation; in lieu of the dual-screens found on the brand’s Q50 sedan.
The touchscreen displays dated graphics but is functional and quite responsive to the touch. I was disappointed when I found out that Infiniti had omitted Apple CarPlay and Android Auto from the infotainment system.
But worry not, for the Infiniti scores where it should: there’s a generous dose of leatherette and soft-touch materials covering all above-the-waist areas. Even the hard plastics feel relatively upscale when compared to that of other SUVs at this price point.
Moreover, the seats are comfortable and very cushy to the touch, and side bolstering and lumbar support is adequate while taking tight corners. The riding position is what I would call perfect; not too low and not obnoxiously high.
Space is generous up front. Second-row passengers also enjoy excellent head and legroom, meanwhile, access to the third row is dignified and easy. But, space in the third row is cramped, and should be used exclusively for young kids. Of course, you can always make more space for taller passengers by siphoning off space from second row passengers.
On the plus side, the third row folds flat to make a large cargo floor, and can be electronically operated.
As for the tech, Infiniti adds automatic parallel parking to the mix. Is it useful? Yes, but I think of it as a gimmick, unless you really put your heart into it; using the system every time you want to park your car.
Besides, you also get Infiniti’s legendary 360-degree surround view camera, which should take care of your parking needs, any way.
Just to be safer, there’s also a back-up collision-avoidance system that detects cross-traffic as you back out of a parking space. It even brakes automatically at the last minute if there is an obstacle.
Power is sourced from a 3.5-litre V6 “VQ35” engine that is seen on the Nissan Maxima and Murano. But, for some reason, it has been detuned to churn out 295hp at 6400rpm and 336Nm of torque at 4400rpm. I assume it is to save on fuel and keep things sane within the cabin upon hard acceleration.
Still, mated to Nissan’s continuously variable transmission (CVT), the SUV picks up speed with much efficacy. During my mid-summer run, I was able to clock a 0-100kph time of 9.5 seconds. It isn’t what I would call quick, but it is brisk; more like a highway cruiser.
Overtaking and quick manoeuvres are fairly easy, and the transmission shifts ratios without much haste. Obviously, you would have to select ‘Sport’ mode to eke out the performance out of the V6 motor.
This also livens up the throttle response. But, be aware that smashing the throttle does invoke the drone and stuck-rev nature characteristic of traditional CVTs. Thankfully, there’s very little noise (almost none) entering the cabin, so I didn’t find the noise to be particularly annoying.
The QX60 takes corners with ease, but it is most settled when taking turns below the 60kph mark. Any more and a substantial amoung of body roll will kick in.
But, if you’re planning to take things to another level (although I cannot for the love of God comprehend why) there’s plenty of grip from the all-wheel drive system that sends power to the adequately-sized 235/55 tyres, riding on 51cm multi-spoke alloys.
Thanks to the hefty high-profile tyres, the ride in the QX60 is smooth and linear. Bumps rarely upset the overall dynamics of the vehicle, and remarkably there’s none of that general floatiness that is tagged along with SUVs, while cruising.
Handling is benign and the steering is soft and light. No feedback is translated back from the roads to the driver, either. But, why should it? It’s a luxury cruiser, after all.
The brakes are progressive and linear in providing stopping power. In short, it handles all the heft with ease.
We didn’t spend much time off-roading in the Infiniti QX60, but in pursuit of some photos, we did show it soft sand. I can report that it did very well, not getting bogged down at any point. If you’re planning a trip to the beach, the SUV should do just fine.
Infiniti –in pursuit of claiming a share in the luxury car market –has put forward a magnificent contender in the form of the QX60.
No, it does not aim to dethrone its competitors with a fit of rage; it’s more serious than that. What it does is it provides the discerning customer a family SUV with all the thrills and frills of a luxury crossover, and at a very attractive price tag.
If you ask me, I would have to say Infiniti may very well have given us the deal of the decade. This is smart calculations and stratagems in motion.