- What’s Good: Adds a touch of elegance to family hauling without breaking the bank.
- What’s Bad: Centre stack and infotainment design feel as old as they are.
While everyone else on the planet seems to be doing it all for the ‘Gram and attempting to YouTube and TikTok to stardom, there’s something to be said for the unfussy.
It’s a complicated life, whether we like it that way or not, and it can be a pleasant change of scenery to find things that function simply and stylishly without being overly flashy or breaking the bank.
To my mind, that’s an apt way to describe the 2019 Infiniti QX60. Yes, this three-row SUV has been around for a long time, relatively unchanged. In some ways that shows, and it’s certainly far from perfect. But its design has withstood the tests of time remarkably well, and with a base price below $50,000 and a top-out price of just over $65,000, it remains an elegant solution for people who need space and seating capacity but have just a little bit of extra budget to splurge on something a cut above the ordinary.
The exterior of today’s QX60 looks a great deal like that of the JX35, which is the original moniker this vehicle was given when it first launched way back in 2012 for the 2013 model year. A lack of evolution over such a long period can sometimes be an Achilles’ heel in a family vehicle, but in this case it’s not at all a bad thing. The gently curved grille and sweeping line of the rear window against the C-pillar as it works in concert with the spoiler and hatch delivers a style that has endured. It looked just as good on subdivision driveways seven years ago as it does today.
Its interior styling, in some respects, is a somewhat different story. The seat designs are comfortable and classic enough to escape notice, and while the platform doesn’t support a more modern panoramic sunroof design, the optional split moonroof layout used in this equipped-to-the-nines test unit is a fair compromise that still floods the rear of the cabin with natural light. The gauge cluster, while being a far cry from the fully digital layouts offered by some competitors, gets a touch of modernity through the use of purple backlighting.
That centre stack and infotainment screen layout, though, is a holdover that needs to go. The QX60 is due for a complete overhaul any time now, and this is the place where we should expect to see the most updates. Between the mess of buttons and dials, the low-resolution 8-inch touchscreen with tiny text and no smartphone app connectivity, and the glossy varnish so thick that it actually serves to obscure the wood inlays rather than highlighting them. This part of the interior is clearly designed for the way people used cars early in this decade. That said, Infiniti knows this and is offering some decent incentives on QX60s lately, so if you’re not too fussed with what the inside of your car looks like or how the buttons work, you could score a deal on a stylish seven-seater.
Steady and Frugal
The QX60 comes with a single powertrain option that covers the necessities. A naturally aspirated 3.5-litre V6 produces 295 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque that becomes fully available at 4,800 rpm. It’s paired with a continuously variable transmission and standard all-wheel drive.
There’s little sense in beating around the bush here: driving excitement, this is not. However, if you’re more of an A-to-B person, there’s plenty to enjoy here. The power output is good enough to feel capable at key moments like merging onto a highway. Steering and handling come across as relaxed and stable. And that CVT – which does have that stereotypical CVT feel but isn’t as buzzy and annoying as some of them – goes a long way in helping to keep the whole package competitive in terms of fuel economy. The Natural Resources Canada ratings of 12.5 L/100 km in city driving, 9.0 on the highway, and 10.9 combined are on par with much of its segment. After a pair of long highway runs to Windsor and back, along with some city driving in between, a week with the QX60 netted a very reasonable usage of 10.2 L/100 km. (As gas prices go up, it’s worth noting that this car requests premium fuel – but so do most vehicles with which it competes.)
Consider Your Third-Row Usage
One of the more appealing things about the QX60 is that despite being classed as a luxury vehicle, its entry-level price is similar to that of the top trims of mainstream three-row SUVs like the Honda Pilot or Subaru Ascent. It makes for a logical next step for drivers with families who have the means to opt for something similar in size and capability but with a touch more of a premium feel.
For those following this line of thinking, your major consideration should be how and when you might want to use the third row. The top trims of many mainstream three-row SUVs have second-row captain’s chairs as an option, which not only improves comfort for those passengers but also makes the third row much easier to access. The QX60 can only come with a 60-40 split second-row bench seat, and while the outboard positions are comfortable and can be made more so with the available rear-facing entertainment system and heated surfaces, they’re not especially easy to slide out of the way for third-row access – to a point that frequent users will quickly find tiresome.
Decent Features and Easy Customization
There are a few highly desirable features missing here, most notably Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. But the list of base equipment is fairly stout for the price with features like 18-inch alloy wheels, heated front seats and steering wheel, heated and power-folding exterior mirrors, three USB charging ports, power liftgate, blind spot warning, and forward collision warning and emergency braking with pedestrian detection. There are plenty of more expensive products in this segment that make you pay even more for these extras.
On top of that, the QX60s packaging is very easy to navigate. There are only three to choose from, and while each of them adds between $4,200 and $5,000 to the invoice, they collect features together in a way that’s smart and easy to follow. Many buyers will want to spring for the Sensory Package, which for $4,200 adds on a Bose® 15-speaker sound system, 20-inch alloy wheels, the split moonroof setup, ventilated front seats, heated outboard second-row seats, power third-row seatbacks, maple wood inlays, and a motion-activated liftgate.
Today’s Infiniti QX60 is a solid gateway car for family-oriented drivers who are newly exploring the luxury space. It may be lagging on the latest interior design and technology features – and the upcoming redesign will likely take care of this for those who would rather wait – but buyers who are shopping now and aren’t the sort to need the newest and flashiest toys will find it to be a stylish, capable, and relatively frugal runabout that delivers some premium flair at a reasonable price.