Carefully specified to face its competitors, the 2014 Infiniti QX60 falls neatly into a price spectrum that starts just above $40,000 for base models, and rises above $50,000 if you have a heavy hand on the list of optional equipment. All-wheel-drive models--laudably available in all trim levels--cost $1,100 more than the default front-wheel-drive system.
Standard QX60 features include the third-row seating, leather upholstery, pushbutton ignition, a rear-view monitor for reversing, and even a glass moonroof with an electrically retractable sunshade. The standard audio is a six-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system that plays MP3 files and comes with three free months of Sirius XM satellite radio, a USB port, and speed-sensitive volume adjustment. Drivers control the audio, navigation, and other infotainment features using a fixed mouse-like controller below the 7-inch color touchscreen display.
There are no fewer than five models above the base QX60, though Infiniti says it expects the $4,950 Premium level to be the most popular. It can be ordered with or without a $1,700 Theater option that adds two small displays in the backs of the front-seat headrests for second-row video viewing.
The Deluxe Touring Package (for $2,550) adds 20-inch alloy wheels, a Bose WaveGuide audio system with a specially designed amplifier to occupy minimal room under the load deck to maximize underfloor storage space, a fixed-glass roof above the third row, cooled front seats, heated second-row seats, and rain-sensing wipers.
Then there's a Driver Assistance Package that adds Rear Collision Intervention, along with a smart Eco Pedal that resists hard acceleration under certain driving circumstances. Infiniti has made this a standalone option that can be ordered for $2,200 separate from any other packages, reasoning that it will appeal to all families, wherever they fall in the model range.
Finally, the $3,100 Technology Package ($3,100) includes all features of the Driver Assistance Package plus Lane Departure Warning and Correction, Blind-Spot Warning and Intervention, and seat belts that automatically pre-tension in anticipation of an accident. It requires that the Deluxe Touring Package be specified as well.
One unusual option is the Infiniti Personal Assistant service. For an additional monthly fee, drivers can be connected by voice to a concierge--an actual live human being--who will attempt to answer any queries the driver can come up with. Separately, the QX60's telematics package provides a year's worth of free destination assistance, along with access in the vehicle to Google Calendars, plus alerts that can be set (presumably by parents) to notify someone if the vehicle travels outside a specified geographic area or exceeds a pre-set speed.
The infotainment system isn't without its flaws, though. The menus are convoluted against the best in class, although the dash display is nice and crip. And the mix of dials, knobs, touchscreen commands, and controller use was among the least intuitive in any vehicle we've tried to figure out on the fly. We strongly recommend that shoppers testing the QX60 take the time to find a handful of commands they're likely to use, and make sure they're comfortable with this interface before signing on the line.