- Elegant styling
- Excellent third-row access
- Hybrid promises better fuel economy
- Not all that exciting to drive
- Eco Mode here is for masochists
- Telematics display isn't intuitive
The 2015 Infiniti QX60 has a rich look and excellent interior space, even if its powertrain and handling aren't so energizing.
It's taken a couple of years, but we're finally coming to grips with Infiniti's Q-based naming system. What once (for just one brief introductory model year) was known as the JX is now the QX60. That decodes to a mid-size, three-row crossover utility with available all-wheel drive. The QX60 shares its underpinnings with the Nissan Pathfinder, and like its less-luxurious counterpart offers a hybrid version.
The QX60 has already blazed a new trail for Infiniti, as it's the first three-row vehicle sold by the brand that's not based on truck underpinnings. It also stands out as the only front-wheel-drive-based offering in Infiniti's current lineup. It's squarely in the center of the luxury crossover market, compared to the QX70 (nee FX), which is sportier and less capacious, and the larger, thirstier, truck-based QX80 (which, believe it or not, was previously the QX56). The Infiniti QX60 goes head-to-head not only with the Lexus RX--which doesn't offer a third row--but also the Acura MDX and perhaps the Lincoln MKT.
While the name has been in some flux, the QX60's looks haven't changed. The seven-seat vehicle is relatively sleek, nicely detailed, and modern for what could have been a tall and blocky-looking box of a utility vehicle. But the long hood of the QX60 eliminates any hints of the dreaded minivan, and its roofline falls slightly to give a softer look than more slab-sided models, such as the Acura MDX. Inside, the QX60 is spacious and stylish, cabin trims that are rich but restrained, with practical luxury trumping all-out opulence.
The base QX50, called QX60 3.5 because of its engine's size, uses a 265-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 engine paired with a continuously variable transmission. Along with its name change last year, the QX60 gained a second powertrain option, a hybrid. Called, very simply, the QX60 Hybrid, it features Nissan's Direct Response Hybrid technology, which combines a 2.5-liter supercharged four-cylinder engine with a single 15-kilowatt electric motor, using clutches on either end of the electric motor to drive through Nissan's familiar continuously variable automatic transmission. Together, the two torque sources produce a total of 250 horsepower, and return an EPA Combined rating of 26 mpg. Both models are offered with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
With its- compact lithium-ion battery pack tucked under the third-row seat, the hybrid gear in the QX60 doesn't interfere with either cargo space or the fold-flat seats--both it and the nonhybrid QX60 receive good marks for interior volume and flexibility. The QX60's third-row seat isn't an afterthought, and we like how the adaptable second-row seat folds, tilts, and collapses in several combinations, giving good access to the third row even if there's a child safety seat latched into it—as no other three-row vehicle can, Infiniti says (except for the related Nissan Pathfinder). The first and second rows are comfortable for real-world adults, though the third row (no matter how easy it is to reach) is better used for children than more adults.
A full suite of safety systems is offered on the QX60 3.5 and QX60 Hybrid, including a Backup Collision Intervention system that watches for approaching objects from the sides and rear when the vehicle is in reverse. It can detect objects in the vehicle's path up to about 5 mph, and will identify cross-traffic approaching from the rear at up to 15 mph, and once it does will apply the brakes for the driver. Lane Departure Warning is useful though a bit too sensitive, we think, while the Around View Monitor is an essential safety aid for busy parents, providing a stitched-together overhead view of what surrounds the vehicle.
The 2015 Infiniti QX60 comes with a healthy list of standard equipment--glass moonroof and rearview monitor included. Several large packages bring those active-safety features or infotainment upgrades as options. The QX60 Hybrid, by the way, sells for about $3,000 more than the standard QX60.
Changes for 2015 include the addition of several new colors--Hermosa Blue, Majestic White, and Graphite Shadow--which displace three similar hues, a newly available high-contrast Wheat interior decor, and enhanced shift logic for when the continuously variable transmission is impersonating a conventional automatic.