2016 Infiniti QX60: The Pathfinder’s Luxury Sibling

Strong points
  • Spacious cabin With versatile seating
  • Reasonably priced
  • Quiet, smooth ride
Weak points
  • Outdated interior
  • Sluggish performance
  • Confusing radio buttons
Full report

The Infiniti QX60 (née JX35) is the brand’s top-selling vehicle in Canada and has just undergone a mid-cycle refresh to keep things interesting. If you’re wondering why they’re refreshing it after rebranding it for the 2014 model year, it’s because the vehicle didn’t benefit from any changes other than its name. That year, all Infiniti models were rebranded to better align themselves with the competition; all SUVs and crossovers started bearing the letters QX and all cars, the letter Q. The numbers no longer signify engine displacement, but rather the vehicle’s place in the model hierarchy.

So what is the QX60 anyways? Slotting into the lineup above the compact QX50 (formerly EX37), but before the sporty and sleek QX70 (formerly FX37/FX50), this is the luxury equivalent to the Nissan Pathfinder. As you are probably well aware, Infiniti is Nissan’s luxury brand much the same as Acura is to Honda and Lexus is to Toyota. Higher-end vehicles tend to sell better in North America under this branding scheme and this is why so many of the carmakers do it.

Sales of the QX60 were up 9% in 2015 compared to 2014 so Infiniti took it easy on the changes, gradually bringing the look more in line with the new design language. The redesigned double-arch grille is flanked by new bi-xenon headlights and new LED daytime running lights. LED technology is also used for the fog lights and turn signals incorporated into the outside mirrors, but the main turn signals still don’t use LEDs. The taillights are also new along with a chrome accent bar on the hatch and shark-fin antenna on the roof.

Photo: Danny Geraghty

Even though this technically is a “midsize” SUV, it’s a big, bloated truck that will push the limits of supermarket parking spaces in suburban North America. At 196.4 inches, it’s longer than the Acura MDX by three inches and the Lexus RX by four inches, although surprisingly, it’s smaller than the Pathfinder by about an inch. For comparison, a full-size SUV like the QX80 is about ten inches longer.

Inside, we find three rows of seating for up to seven adults. What Infiniti has done that is impressive is make it so adults can access and use the third row with ease, because the middle row seats can slide front to back as well as tilt. Infiniti was among the first to have that tilt feature and it’s important, because it gives the ability to access the third-row bench even while a baby seat is installed in the second row. Headroom in the third row is good and my 5’9” figure was able to sit in it and not be uncomfortable.

The overall design of the cabin is somewhat dated. It’s very similar to the centre console I had in my 2009 FX35 and while I was familiar with everything, the dated aspect bothered me a little. The quality, fit and finish are all very high.

Photo: Danny Geraghty

The standard engine is a 3.5-litre DOHC V6 rated at 265 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque. It is also offered with a hybrid drivetrain featuring a supercharged, 2.5-litre inline four cylinder and an electric motor powered by a compact lithium-ion battery pack—with 250 net system horsepower and 8.9/8.4 L/100km city/highway fuel economy ratings. My tester had the standard V6 and I’m sorry to report that it felt rather underwhelming to drive. It’s fine to shuttle around town, but the few times I needed a punch to pass a vehicle I found the power or throttle response not up to the task. The ride quality and noise level are excellent and the QX60 can haul your crew in comfort like a luxury crossover should. Note that the 2017 model gets direct injection and 30 more horsepower, for a total of 295.

The base QX60 retails for just $47,400, but quickly climbs one you start adding options packages. The test model came equipped with the Premium, Driver Assistance, Deluxe Touring & Technology packages for a price of $61,400 before transport and delivery charges.

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