2017 Infiniti QX60 AWD
Infiniti treats its best seller to a few nips and tucks plus more power
Words By: Adam Allen
They could have left well enough alone, but “that’s not the Infiniti way.”
Those are their words, not ours, but there’s some truth behind the marketing bumf. The QX60 is the most sought after Infiniti model in the Canadian marketplace and enjoys healthy increases in sales from year to year. They could have left it untouched for 2017 based solely on the fact that buyers seem to be pretty happy with the overall package, not to mention that it was massaged just last year- new headlights and taillights, various cosmetic tweaks to the front and rear facias and a new grille with an upsized Infiniti logo round out the most obvious changes. For 2017, Infiniti has pumped up engine output (our kind of update) by 30 horsepower and 22 foot pounds of torque which brings the output of the 3.5 litre V6 to 295 and 270, respectively.
How does it fare at the drag strip?
While the extra oomph is certainly noticeable, don’t be fooled into thinking the QX60 storms the 0-100km/h sprint with the same gusto as its similarly powered Nissan 370 cousin. The good news here, aside from the added urge is that Infiniti’s quoted fuel mileage projections haven’t changed from the previously less powerful 3.5 V6 (we achieved a so-so 14L/100km.) It’ll run on a diet of regular gasoline, although to extract all of that newfound power you will need to feed it premium. The engine’s power delivery characteristics can be tailored to your mood with three settings- Eco, Standard and Sport. We tried using Eco but ultimately didn’t go for the resistance the gas pedal suddenly gets when you call for power, and Standard still felt a bit lazy. We left it in Sport mode most of the time because it felt the most normal of the three settings.
The engine’s power is sent through a CVT transmission. How’d you like it?
We have made no secret over the years about our general distaste for these types of transmissions. Seriously, have you ever heard of someone raving about their CVT? Luckily, the CVT in the QX60 is one of the better interpretations of the technology we have encountered. It still slurs from one ratio to the next in normal driving, but open the taps a bit wider and it will mimic a conventional stepped automatic gearbox by “shifting” gears. Infiniti touts the CVT’s ability to deliver “exceptionally smooth driving” and for the most part they have succeeded. Besides, we suspect the typical QX60 buyer would prioritize the silkiness afforded by the CVT over snappy gearchanges anyhow.
Would you say the QX60 offers a relaxed motoring experience?
The QX60 is aimed squarely at families with young kids, and Moms and Dads will no doubt appreciate the soothing nature it’s designed to impart. It was clearly designed to feel relaxed, no doubt helped by soft and comfortable seats (except maybe where the third row is concerned) and noise levels that are appreciably hushed. Our tester had every single comfort, convenience and drivers aid feature you could ever want thanks to the Premium Package ($5,000) and the Technology Package ($4,800.) The feature kids loved most were the screens mounted in the driver and passenger’s headrests with wireless headphones and were promptly awarded top marks. Aside from some questionable materials that seemed a bit out of place in an otherwise nicely trimmed interior, the QX60 serves up an environment that is nicely finished and comfortable. Our favourite bit of kit wasn’t the new easy-to-use InTouch infotainment system or the Remote Services real-time tracking abilities (speed and location, among others) afforded by a downloadable smartphone app. We were quite taken by the high-quality wood inlays scattered throughout. Infiniti calls this careful application of multiple coats of lacquers Fuki-Urushi and it gives the wood a rich gloss without making it look overwrought. So many manufacturers aren’t able to pull this off but the QX60 does so impeccably.
What might go wrong?
The new engine delivers the goods in the power department, but rev it beyond 3,000 rpm and an unbecoming coarseness permeates the cabin and intensifies as you approach redline. The steering is seriously overboosted and offers zero road feel- it requires a disconcerting amount of corrections while on the highway. Perhaps the greatest criticism we can volley towards the QX60 is the fact that it doesn’t seem to able to raise its driver’s pulse in excitement whatsoever. Perhaps that is by design, but we like any vehicle we drive to be able to have a little fun now and then. The QX60 is like that guy at a rock concert that sits stoically throughout the show, earplugs firmly installed.
Should I buy a QX60?
d Dads who flatly refuse to drive a minivan will have this car on their radar. And why not? Aside from sacrificing some interior space for its SUV styling, shoppers will no doubt be drawn to the QX60’s mix of comfort, generous levels of equipment with the ability to transport their brood and accoutrements from here to there in luxury. As the “Infiniti way” apparently includes futzing with their products every few years, we look forward to seeing how the QX60 will continue to evolve; it’s a few missteps short of being amongst the segment’s best.
2017 Infiniti QX60 AWD- Specifications
- Price as tested: $65,135
- Body Type: 4-door, 7 passenger SUV
- Powertrain Layout: Front engine/all-wheel drive
- Transmission: Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)
- Engine: 3.5 litre V6, 24 valves, DOHC
- Horsepower: 295 @ 6,400 rpm
- Torque (lbs-ft.): 270 @ 4,800 rpm
- Curb weight: 2,048 kg (4,415 lbs)
- Observed Fuel Consumption: 14L/100km (17 mpg)