Saturday Road Test – Infiniti QX60

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Infiniti QX60 3.5 AWD

No James Bond with This Q but Everything Else

By Ron Amadon

DAMASCUS, MD. – This weekend’s ride fits smack dab in the middle of Infiniti’s lineup of crossovers and SUV’s with a staggering list of available options that would allow owners to custom order their new set of wheels.

Just to be contrary, let’s start where there are not many options – under the hood. There is only one power plant offered outside the Hybrid model, a 3.5-liter 6 with 265 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm and 248 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm. Front drive and all-wheel drive can be specified.

Operators can also select four driving modes, Standard, Sport, Eco and Snow. It varies throttle response and shift schedules, Infiniti said, and in Sport mode there is a good simulation of gear changes. But the test vehicle came up a bit short on acceleration thanks to the CVT transmission that, like most of them, produces lots of RPM but was a bit lagging in forward progress.

In tune with the experience of several owners, the X60 fell short of the EPA gas mileage estimate of 26 mpg highway, and 19 city for a combined 22 in the AWD model. I came away with 17 around suburbia and 19 and change on the highway. Premium petrol is preferred. The MPG is not much better with the higher priced hybrid, owners say.

Where the Q ship sparkles is inside. It was first class all the way with leather clad heated and cooled front seats that were eight way adjustable with lumbar on the driver’s side and 6-way power adjustable for those riding on the right.  The “Maple Interior Accents” were a nice touch but if that doesn’t appeal something called “Kasane Washi” trim is available.

Commendable were the white on black instruments facing the driver, to be precise, electroluminescent gauges and a standard 7-inch color vehicle information display controlled by buttons on the steering wheel. An available “Deluxe Touring Package” includes an air purifier and “Grape Polyphenol filter and auto recirculation.”

The second row seats slide 5.5 inches back and forth and the seatbacks recline leaving enough room for even a Final Four star. On the test vehicle, the outboard seats were heated in row two.

Thanks to multiple folding operations, the third row was extremely accessible, but space wise is better left to children.

Fold down the second and third row seats, and you create 76.5 cubic feet of storage space but that is less than the rival Acura MDX. Storage was a bit sparse with the third row raised.

The Q was a quiet and comfortable long range trip machine with easy to configure audio and navi controls.

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Visibility to the rear was poor due to the head rests in the rear seats and would virtually disappear if the third row head rests were not folded. Thankfully there was a backup camera and a 360 degree camera for parking maneuvers.

The Optional Bose “Cabin Surround” audio system with 15 speakers will knock your socks off with high class audio reproduction. Turn it off, and you notice a very quiet interior with wind and road noise nicely hushed.

Push the six into the upper end of the rev range, and it will intrude and then settle down on the ole interstate.

Handling was not its forte, with little steering feedback, and a suspension on the soft side. The upside to that was the Q’s ability to handle Maryland’s very pocked-marked roads as we head into spring.

All of the expected safe features were present, many of them included in a $2,800 “Technology Package.” That brings you Intelligent Brake Assist with Forward Collision Warning, Blind Spot Warning, a too sensitive Lane Departure Warning, Intelligent Cruise Control, and Backup Collision Intervention. It will alert the driver about crossing vehicles and stationary objects when they are backing out of a parking space. It can automatically engage the brakes to avoid a collision. A neat touch!

All this was part of three very large and expensive option packages on the test vehicle that totaled $11,295 plus an additional $995 for delivery, all of which brought the MSRP up to $56,090 from a base price of $43,800.

A likeable crossover with luxury touches, room for six, or a weekend splurge to mega-hardware, plus the ability to customize it to your liking is what you end up with. Go easy on options, and the price could be right.

And, as you can see in the photo album, you would drive home with one very stylish vehicle.

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