Expert Reviews

Test Drive: 2017 Infiniti QX60 AWD

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Just last year, Infiniti’s ritzy take on the Nissan Pathfinder received a number of upgrades, including a suspension retuned with a bit more starch along with some interior and exterior cosmetic upgrades. The 2017 Infiniti QX60 gets more – a new direct-injection V6 engine. It’s still a naturally aspirated 3.5L, but this fresh unit shares less than half of its mechanical bits with the outgoing engine, and horsepower jumps by 30 to 295 hp. Torque sees a commensurate leap of 20 lb-ft to 270 lb-ft at 4,800 rpm. Power still goes to all four wheels via a continuously variable transmission.

There’s no question this three-row crossover is tuned for maximum passenger comfort.

Base price for the 2017 Infiniti QX60 AWD is $47,890, and for that we see a decent amount of kit: roof rails, power rear liftgate, 18-inch alloys, leather, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, moonroof, tri-zone climate control, dual 8-inch colour monitors, push-button start, cruise and SiruisXM. However, this tester laid on the luxury and tech with $16,000 in upgrades.

The $5,000 Premium Package adds navigation, a 13-speaker Bose system, dual memory for driver’s seat and steering wheel, around-view monitor, Infiniti InTouch (more on that later), front and rear sonar, remote engine start and rain-sensing wipers.

Propping up the tech is the $4,800 Technology Package with navigation, blind-spot warning and intervention, adaptive cruise control, forward and back-up collision intervention, lane-departure warning and prevention, high-beam assist and auto-dimming exterior mirrors. The progeny will enjoy the two rear screen and wireless headphones.

Finally, the $4,700 Deluxe Touring Package bestows 20-inch wheels, panoramic sunroof, heated second-row seats, excellent 15-speaker Bose surround (replacing the 13-speakers), climate-controlled front seats, hands-free liftgate and advanced climate control functions.

So, with all these goodies our “Majestic White” 2017 QX60 hits the road with a sticker of $63,890 before freight and taxes.

There’s no question this three-row crossover is tuned for maximum passenger comfort. The cabin is commendably hushed and the suspension soaks up most road irregularities with nary a fuss. As such, the QX60’s handling is a tad woolly and cornering is not exactly crisp. Additionally the fingertip-light steering makes parking a breeze but compromises sharpness on the road. But in this class of vehicle, everyday comfort trumps athleticism in the real world (just ask my wife), and Infiniti has its priorities straight here.

The engine and continuously variable transmission mostly fall into the “unobtrusive” category as well. This is a well-behaved CVT that keeps engine drone to a minimum and mimics real gear step changes when pressing on. A rotary dial on the console will select Sport mode, wherein the CVT simulates the gearing of a traditional auto tranny with a presumable slight loss in fuel efficiency. Snow mode tailors the AWD and stability/traction control for slippery conditions and Eco creates resistance in the gas pedal, making it harder to peel away from the school yard after your brood has jumped ship.

Drivers are presented with a clearly lit gauge cluster and a handsome centre stack, dominated by a large touchscreen. Below is an array of well-marked buttons and rotary knobs for controlling audio and climate. This interface layout has been around for a while in the Infiniti stable, yet it remains handsome and eminently intuitive. I give top marks for the 15-speaker Bose surround audio too.

Kudos for the “analogue” seat climate control dials on the console – spin to the right for heat and left for cool. Well-judged heat levels too, as the low setting doesn’t sear the Levis. You’d be surprised by the number of vehicles that don’t get that right.

The 60/40 split second row will accommodate three and features 14 cm of travel. The seats accordion forward allowing easy access to the two third-row chairs that are fine for medium to small kids and serviceable for adults. Additionally, the second row is designed to fold forward even with a baby seat installed. Clever.

Included in the Premium Package is Infiniti InTouch with a one year subscription. Similar to GM’s OnStar, it connects to a call centre for emergency calls, remote lock/unlock, auto collision notification, destination assistance and the like. Of special interest to parents will be the drive zone/speed alert feature which enables them, on the sly, to monitor preset geographical boundaries and speed limits for recalcitrant offspring.

So if young Meghan is flying across town to hook up with that nose-ringed ne’erdowell of a bass player, Infiniti InTouch will send text, email, or even voicemail alerts when she crosses over to the wrong side of the tracks and/or exceeds your preferred velocity. Big Mother is watching.

My only real gripe with the QX60 is the infuriating lock strategy that plagues most Nissan products – doors don’t unlock until the vehicle is shut off. Therefore, when in Park with the engine running, no amount of yanking on the interior door handle will open it. Gotta locate the global unlock button. I’m sure someone at Nissan could explain the logic in this to me, but I sure can’t see it.

I took the QX60 on a four-hour track to the Detroit auto show. It kept me warm, comfy, and secure while the Bose surround kicked out the jams. Being early January, I ran into a stretch of miserable weather (whiteout, then freezing rain) that immediately neutered all sensors. When things cleared and the sun came out, the adaptive cruise control was inoperable. And of course, with snow on the road, forget about lane departure warning and assist.

Ironic then, that nearly every manufacturer at the Detroit show blathered on about a utopian automotive future wherein we will be able to play Candy Crush and surf porn on the way to work, because God knows, we could all use more time staring into screens. This whole thing is eerily reminiscent of the ’50s – atomic-powered flying cars with bubble tops were just around the bend back then. Popular Mechanics said so. The difference is, at that time the populous looked at this future with excitement and optimism, even though it was pure fantasy. Now, autonomous cars are imminent (barring snow, freezing rain, low flying geese), but as far as I can tell, no one other than the automakers give a crap.

Ahem… got off track there. The 2017 Infiniti QX60’s closest competitor would be the 2017 Acura MDX, itself refreshed for 2017 with a new snout. A similarly equipped MDX will come in at a few thousand more than the QX60, and while the Acura has sharper steering and better dynamics, the Infiniti’s plusher interior, smoother ride and more user friendly ergonomics make it a fine choice those who want plenty of “luxury” in their three-row luxury crossover without jumping up to the more premium offerings like the Audi Q7 and Volvo XC90.

Engine Displacement 3.5L
Engine Cylinders V6
Peak Horsepower 295 hp
Peak Torque 270 lb-ft
Fuel Economy 12.5/9.1/10.9 L/100 km cty/hwy/cmb
Cargo Space 447 L
Model Tested 2017 Infiniti QX60 AWD
Base Price $47,890
A/C Tax $100
Destination Fee $1,995
Price as Tested $65,985
Optional Equipment
$16,000 – Premium Package $5,000; Technology Package $4,800; Deluxe Touring Package $4,700; Majestic White paint $750; accessories (stainless steel bumper protector, splash guards, interior accent lighting) $750