The QX60 was Infiniti’s best-selling nameplate in the U.S. in January, though it’s not the most up-to-date. Despite a refresh for the 2016 model year, the interior design remains very similar to the original model that made its debut in 2013 when the SUV was still called the JX35. The infotainment system, CD player, and layout of the dash and center console betray its modern aspirations, making it feel dated compared with many rivals. But can the aging QX60 keep up with newer competitors such as the Volvo XC90, Buick Enclave, Acura MDX, and Lexus RX 350L on the road?
The interior might be old, but the QX60 has a new engine. For 2017, Infiniti dropped in a more powerful 3.5-liter V-6 with 295 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque. That engine is paired to a CVT, and on our tester, all-wheel drive. We clocked the QX60 hitting 60 mph from a standstill in 7.7 seconds.
Turns out the QX60 is slower than rivals. The quickest relevant competitor we’ve tested is the Acura MDX SH-AWD (6.2 seconds), followed by the Volvo XC90 T6 AWD Inscription (6.7 seconds). A little farther behind, the Buick Enclave Avenir AWD hit the mark in 7.0 seconds, and the new Lexus RX 350L managed a time of 7.5 seconds.
In the quarter mile, the QX60 recorded a time of 15.9 seconds at 90.3 mph. Once again, that’s behind the MDX at 14.7 seconds at 94.6 mph and the XC90 at 15.1 seconds at 90.4 mph. The Enclave ran the course in 15.4 seconds at 84.5 mph, and the RX 350L sealed the deal in 15.7 seconds at 91.1 mph.
Despite the results of our evaluations, the QX60 doesn’t feel underpowered. Drivers have plenty of juice to work with when getting up to speed on the highway, and the strong throttle tip-in only helps its case. Not to be mistaken for a gentle giant, the QX60 emits a rather aggressive, gritty engine noise that’s far from the sultry rumble of a sports car. Although not unusual for a three-row SUV, it requires a little more turning of the steering wheel to round a corner, and tight three-point turns are an exercise in fortitude. Generally, the QX60 drives quietly and handles reasonably on city and highway streets. Road imperfections cause some noticeable body roll, and you might feel some disturbance in the front end.
The brakes bite sharply, although as our test team noted, you’ll encounter a good amount of forward pitch. In our braking evaluation, the QX60 took 122 feet to stop from 60 mph, about on par with the MDX (121 feet) and better than the RX 350L (128). The XC90 took just 113 feet to come to a stop, however.
The EPA rates the QX60 at 19/26/22 mpg city/highway/combined. But our Real MPG tests showed the SUV underperforms this estimate. We achieved just 17.8/24.9/20.4 mpg. Although we haven’t Real MPG-tested the Volvo or Buick, the Infiniti came in below the Acura MDX and Lexus RX 350L, which earned 23.8 and 21.1 mpg in combined city and highway driving, respectively.
Of course, most buyers in this category will be willing to sacrifice fuel economy for interior space, which the Infiniti offers in spades, particularly in the second row. And it’s easy to get in the third row. The second-row seats move easily fore and aft by sliding the lever on the side of the seat. If there’s a child seat in the passenger side of the second row, you don’t have to remove it before climbing into the very back. This seat tilts, and the track is released so the seat can be neatly pushed forward all the way. But you have to make sure to lock all seats into position after moving them so they don’t slide around during the drive.
Speaking of safety, the 2018 Infiniti QX60 earned a five-star overall rating in government crash tests. This score broke down to a four-star rating in the frontal crash category, a five-star rating in the side crash category, and a four-star rollover rating. It also earned “Good” scores in every crash category tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, though it failed to earn a Top Safety Pick award because of its “Poor” HID headlights. It also hasn’t been rated in the new passenger-side small overlap front test, which measures what happens when the front right corner of the vehicle hits a tree or pole at 40 mph.
In the future, Infiniti will reposition itself as an electrified brand. But for now, SUVs are probably the strongest part of the brand’s identity. QX60 sales were up 38.4 percent last month, when sales of every other Infiniti vehicle, besides the QX80, dropped. Age might be working against it, but to a large degree, the QX60 is obviously satisfying customers’ insatiable appetite for SUVs.
|2018 Infiniti QX60 3.5 (AWD)|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$60,670|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, AWD, 7-pass, 4-door SUV|
|ENGINE||3.5L/295-hp/270-lb-ft DOHC 24-valve V-6|
|TRANSMISSION||Cont variable auto|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||4,621 lb (56/44%)|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||200.1 x 77.2 x 68.6 in|
|0-60 MPH||7.7 sec|
|QUARTER MILE||15.9 sec @ 90.3 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||122 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.78 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||28.3 sec @ 0.60 g (avg)|
|REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/COMB||17.8/24.9/20.4 mpg|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||19/26/22 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY||177/130 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||0.90 lb/mile|