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2016 INFINITI 1197 QX60 28913 381110
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Introduction

The Infiniti QX60 seats up to seven passengers on three rows. The sizable midsize luxury crossover SUV competes against Acura MDX, Lincoln MKT, and Volvo XC90. When introduced as a 2013 model, it was known as the JX35. A switch to new model nomenclature took place the following year. QX means sport-utility. The QX60 shares its foundation with the Nissan Pathfinder.

Suspension changes for the 2016 Infiniti QX60 include stiffer springs and shock absorbers. The goal was improved dynamics; but rather than enhance agility, the change seems to have only impaired the ride. The styling of the 2016 QX60 was revised, led by a larger grille above an integral air intake.

Offered with either a conventional gasoline V6 engine or a hybrid powertrain, the QX60 is available with front-drive or all-wheel drive.

Infiniti QX60 comes standard with a 3.5-liter V6 engine, rated at 265 horsepower, and a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

The QX60 Hybrid uses a 2.5-liter supercharged four-cylinder engine that makes 250 horsepower, coupled with a 15-kilowatt electric motor.

Blending elegant design with abundant interior space, the Infiniti QX60 is more practical than stimulating to drive. Roadholding is respectable overall, but the body can lean significantly in turns. The length of the QX60 can be an impediment when parallel-parking, and when making your way through narrow urban streets.

Modern, spacious and stylish inside, the QX60 provides splendid third-row access. That’s not the case with Infiniti’s non-intuitive infotainment system, which tends to be confusing and appears outmoded.

Infiniti’s QX60 slips neatly into the central core of the luxury crossover market. In contrast, the shapely QX70 is sportier, while the huge, truck-based QX80 is considerably less thrifty with fuel.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the QX60 a five-star rating for side-impact, and four stars each in frontal-crash and rollover tests. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave Good ratings in all tests, plus Superior for the forward collision system.

Available safety systems include adaptive cruise control, blind-spot warning and intervention, and lane-departure warning and prevention. For 2016, the forward collision warning has added emergency braking and pedestrian detection. Backup collision intervention can automatically apply the brakes after alerting the driver to an object behind the vehicle, or to cross-traffic at the rear.

Model Lineup

The 2016 Infiniti QX60 ($43,595) and QX60 AWD ($45,395) come with the V6 engine, leather upholstery, power front seats, heated front seats, tri-zone automatic climate control, keyless ignition, a power tilt/telescoping steering column, and rearview camera. Also standard are an auto-dimming mirror, HID headlights, LED foglamps, a power liftgate, moonroof, and 18-inch alloy wheels.

QX60 Hybrid ($53,045), QX60 Hybrid AWD ($54,445) contain the hybrid powertrain with a supercharged four-cylinder engine and electric motor. (Prices are MSRP and do not include destination charge.)

Six airbags are standard, including side-curtain bags in all three rows. An Around View Monitor is optional. Premium, Premium Plus, Driver Assistance, Deluxe Technology, and Theater packages are available.

Walkaround

A new front bumper and large chrome grille for 2016 give the QX60 a slightly more assertive look, but its identity as a spacious luxury crossover SUV remains evident. Headlights have been revised slightly, accompanied by LED foglamps. Modifications at the rear include the liftgate, bumper, and taillights. New 18- and 20-inch wheels are available, too.

Designers have adeptly integrated sedan-like styling touches into this large crossover vehicle, preventing it from looking like a tall, squared-off box. Straddling a long hood, the fenders ease gently into the bodysides. Rear pillars display Infiniti’s familiar crescent shape, below a smoothly sloped roofline.

Interior

Attractive and spacious, the QX60’s light, open-feeling interior is the foremost difference between the Infiniti model and the related Nissan Pathfinder. Each QX60 manages to convey quite a luxurious air. Door panels, seats, and the soft-touch dashboard exude a rich, if restrained, flavor, trimmed with wood. Two-tone interior treatments are especially appealing.

Overall, though, the cabin appears ready to fulfill family needs with an indisputably upscale flavor, as opposed to flaunting opulence.

Front and second-row seats are comfortable for adults, though the front pair could benefit from a tad more support. Second-row seats can tilt, fold, and collapse. Even if a child safety seat is mounted, access to the third row is unimpaired, as the second-row seat folds neatly forward.

Getting in and out of the front rows is easy, too. The second-row bench can travel 5.5 inches fore/aft, making it possible to maximize leg space for passengers. Like most third-row seats, the QX60’s are best for young, agile folks who can cope with low cushions.

With both rows folded down, cargo space totals a spacious 76.5 cubic feet. Behind the third row, volume is 15.8 cubic feet.

Driving Impressions

Retuning of the QX60’s suspension for the 2016 model year added firmness to the ride, without improving agility. Body lean can occur during turns. Electric power steering is short on road feel, but that’s a common complaint these days.

Performance of the gas-engine QX60 qualifies as adequate, if less than enthusiastic. Four drive modes are selectable: Eco, Standard, Sport, and Snow. Except on long, flat stretches of pavement, Eco mode can be annoying because the gas pedal pushes back against your foot. Sport mode causes the CVT to imitate gears in a conventional, 6-speed automatic transmission. This provides a more linear matchup between road speed and the engine’s speed.

Because the CVT generally keeps engine speed low, in the interest of fuel-efficiency, the QX60 is mostly quiet-running. Still, the V6 does get louder when full power is requested.

For such a large vehicle, visibility to the rear quarters is reasonably good, provided the third row is not in use. Headrests can be folded down.

Fuel economy is about on par. With front-wheel drive and the gasoline V6, the QX60 is EPA-rated at 21/27 mpg City/Highway, or 23 mpg Combined. All-wheel drive drops the estimate to 19/26 mpg City/Highway, or 22 mpg Combined.

The QX60 Hybrid uses a mild system. Therefore, it cannot pull away from a stop using electric power alone. With front-drive, the Hybrid is EPA-rated at 26/28 mpg City/Highway, or 26 mpg Combined; with all-wheel drive, 25/28 mpg City/Highway. Achieving these figures in real-world driving might not be so easy.

Summary

Both the Infiniti QX60 gas-engine and Hybrid models are well-equipped, but quite a few luxury features can be added as options, either individually or in packages. Most active-safety features are optional, too. So, it’s easy to escalate the total price considerably. Whether to pick a QX60 over the related Nissan Pathfinder is a matter of preference for luxurious interior fittings. We’re not too impressed by the Hybrid’s fuel economy.

Driving impressions by Kirk Bell, The Car Connection. James M. Flammang contributed to this report.

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