Infiniti's name game brings us QX60
The Infiniti QX60 is a seven-passenger luxury crossover, originally known as the JX35, now updated for 2014 with a new name and a new available hybrid powertrain. Infiniti's whole lineup now comes with new alpha-numeric designations – SUVs are "QX" and sedans, coupes and convertibles are "Q."
A single trim level is offered, in either front- or all-wheel drive, and with either gasoline-only or gasoline-electric hybrid drive.
Prices begin at $42,000 for the 3.5-liter gasoline front-drive model, and $43,400 for all-wheel drive. Hybrids are $45,000 with front drive, and $46,400 with all-wheel drive.
Other changes for 2014 include a power folding third-row seat in the Deluxe Touring Package; auto-dimming rearview mirror with universal gate/garage door opener standard on all models; and two Premium Packages – Premium and Premium Plus.
My tester was the 3.5-liter AWD model with java leather interior with maple wood accents on the door panels, dash and center console (part of the Deluxe Touring Package). Even the gasoline-only models have decent fuel-economy ratings for a large crossover – 20/26 for the front-drive model and 19/25 for the AWD model. During my test, which included a long Christmas trip, I averaged 22.1 mpg with lots of highway driving. That was aided by use of the intelligent cruise control with distance control (part of the Technology Package).
The 3.5 liter V-6 is rated at 265 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque. It's connected to a sport-tuned continuously variable automatic transmission with manual mode for maximum responsiveness and smooth, efficient shifting through a wide gear ratio.
With the drive selector set on sport mode, the fuel-efficient CVT feels more like a standard step transmission. I prefer the eco mode – I don't need the visceral feel of shifting. Drive Mode also offers a snow setting, which I thankfully didn't need.
The QX60 has lots of room for all seven passengers, with an easily accessible real third row. The multi-mode second row with 5.5 inches of fore and aft movement allows access to the third row without having to remove an installed child seat. The third row has 30.8 inches of leg room and 36.5 inches of head room; air vents located under the second row seats and on the side panels; double cup holders on the side armrests; three-point seatbelts; and large windows.
My QX60 also had the panoramic moon roof with a power sunshade (also part of the Deluxe Touring Package), which opened up the visibility for the second and third rows.
The tri-zone climate control includes vents under the first and second row seats, and rear console vents in addition to the third-row side vents.
The interior is flexible as well, with a 60/40 split folding/reclining/sliding second-row seat and a 50/50 folding/reclining third row. That Deluxe Touring Package brought a power up-folding feature.
Cargo space behind the third row is a generous 15.6 cubic feet. With both rows folded flat, I was able to load two mountain bikes, a large box of presents, luggage for a week, and plenty of on-the-road snacks.
The standard power liftgate opened high and wide, making loading easier. The QX60 has eight cup holders and six bottle holders – more than enough for me and my three passengers.
My grandkids enjoyed the Theater Package, an option that included 7-inch monitors on the backs of the front headrests; two wireless headphones with remote, auxiliary input jacks; and a 120-volt outlet, headphone jacks and volume control.
The interior was luxurious and beautiful, with quilted leather seating, satin-finish trim and thin chrome accents. The front seats were heated and cooled and the outboard second-row seats and the steering wheel were heated, all part of the Deluxe Touring Package. The package also added 20-inch split five-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels with all-season tires, and a Bose Cabin Surround sound system.
The Premium Package included the Bose 13-speaker Premium Sound System and added a heated steering wheel, driver's lumbar support, remote engine start, memory system for two drivers, and an enhanced intelligent key, which stores memory for seat position, audio, climate and navigation settings.
Standard technology includes a rearview monitor, seven-inch color information display, Bluetooth hands-free phone system, USB for iPod and other devices, satellite radio, and auxiliary input jacks in the front center console. Sequential welcome lighting and lighted driver's door handle are pleasant and special. My QX60 also had an illuminated kickplate package.
The QX60 includes Infiniti-developed world firsts such as backup collision intervention, part of the Technology Package. With the transmission in reverse, the system will detect large objects or vehicles behind the vehicle, and can automatically engage the brakes to help avoid a collision.
This package also comes with intelligent brake assist with forward collision warning, blind-spot warning and intervention, lane-departure warning and prevention, intelligent cruise control and distance control assist.
With all these preventive technologies, the QX60 almost drives itself. The intelligent cruise control and distance control were especially helpful on the long drive to visit grandkids, helping to maintain an efficient speed and a safe distance between vehicles without much thought on my part.
Standard safety features include lots of air bags – driver and front passenger, side-impact and curtain bags with rollover sensors; adjustable front seat belts; the child-seat LATCH system on the second-row outboard seats and a seat-top tether on the second-row middle seat and third row passenger's side seat; antilock braking with brake assist and electronic brake-force distribution; vehicle dynamic control with traction control; tire-pressure monitoring; and a security system with vehicle immobilizer.
My tester also came with the Premium Plus Package, which included Infiniti Connection, hard-drive navigation, an 8-inch color touch-screen display, voice recognition, NavTraffic/NavWeather, Zagat Survey restaurant guide, Around View monitor with moving-object detection and front and rear sonar, streaming audio via Bluetooth, a reverse tilt-down feature for outside mirrors, and rain-sensing windshield wipers.
Infiniti Connection is an exclusive telematics system similar to GM's OnStar, with automatic crash notification, emergency call, enhanced roadside assistance, Google Calendar, remote door lock/unlock, destination assistance, drive zone/speed alert, and Infiniti personal assistant. Infiniti navigation has multiple pages and folders, but is relatively easy to program, and the directions are precise and easy to follow.
The Around View system and front and rear sonar came in handy in crowded parking lots with preoccupied people walking and driving with their thoughts elsewhere. It helped me avoid pedestrians and moving vehicles more than once.
2014 INFINITI QX60:
–Base price: $42,000
–Price as tested: $55,295
Prices exclude destination charges.
ABOUT THE WRITER:
Emma Jayne Williams' auto reviews appear in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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