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SAFETY | 8 out of 10
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The JX is chockfull of fascinating and advanced active-safety features, but you'll have to pay extra for them, and in some cases, "opt into" them every single time you drive, thanks to Infiniti's lawyers.
Infiniti clearly invested more capital in safety features and creature comforts than [in] the driving experience
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives the 2014 Infiniti QX60 an overall rating of five stars, its highest level. It received five stars for side-crash safety, and four stars each in frontal-crash and rollover tests. We'd note that the overall five-star NHTSA rating is an improvement over the four stars received by last year's Infiniti JX, which is almost entirely the same vehicle under a different label.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) hasn't fully rated this year's QX60, but gives it the top rating of "Good" in the two tests it has listed on its website for the vehicle: moderate-overlap front crash and side crash. The IIHS gave the same two ratings to last year's JX model as well.
For a vehicle this large, the rear-quarter vision in an Infiniti QX60 is pretty good--provided you're not using the third row. Its headrests are thankfully designed to fold down, which opens up vision through the rear window, but when they're raised, there's not a lot of vision left to the rear. Unfortunately, folding down those headrests means pulling a pair of tabs after you've walked around to open the rear liftgate--but at least they do fold down in the first place.
The QX60/JX pioneered a world-first safety feature last year, known as Backup Collision Intervention, that it expects to be very popular with parents. When the car is put into reverse, sonar sensors in the rear bumper scan the surrounds for plastic objects, and radar in the rear quarter panels looks for metal objects and over longer distances. The system is looking for motion that might be a child or a pet moving into the vehicle's path. If it finds anything that qualifies, it automatically brakes the QX60 after alerting the driver with both audible and visual warning signals. It works at speeds up to 5 mph for objects directly behind the car, and up to 15 mph for cross-traffic coming from the sides. It can be switched off too.
The seven-seat crossover also comes with six airbags, including side-curtain bags that protect passenger heads in all three rows, and the usual suite of standard equipment: traction control, anti-lock brakes, and other electronic safety systems. Among them is an Around-View Monitor, which uses some of the sensors above to detect moving objects
Better-known safety systems in the QX60 include Distance Control--otherwise known as adaptive cruise control--Blind-Spot Warning and Intervention, Lane Departure Warning and Prevention, Forward Collision Warning, and Intelligent Brake Assist. Over half a day's test drive, they all worked as expected, though we found the Lane Departure Warning system more sensitive than those in other vehicles. After a while, it started to become annoying, warning us every time we changed lanes--deliberately or not--unless we used the car's turn signals every time.
The telematics service will contact the nearest emergency responder if an airbag triggers or it senses a crash. It can also locates stolen vehicles, and unlock the vehicle remotely at the owner's request. Parents with teens who are just getting their drivers' licenses can set up Drive Zone and Speed Zone alerts that will notify them via text or e-mail when the vehicle exceeds a predefined speed or crosses the boundaries of a designated geographic area. The system allows both "stay within" or "keep out" zones.
The 2014 Infiniti QX60 (nee JX) has surround-view cameras and available auto-braking, which put it ahead of many competitors.