Words: Calvin Chan
Photography: Calvin Chan
Published: March 17, 2022
The Infiniti QX60 has always been a popular choice for those seeking seven-seater capability with a splash of luxury. Other automakers enjoyed similar success with the same formula - Acura MDX, Volvo XC90, Lexus RX, and Lincoln Aviator. To keep up with the trend, Infiniti has given their mid-size SUV a major overhaul for 2022 with new styling, a modernized interior, and a revised powertrain.
The 3.5-litre naturally aspirated V6 is carried over and continues to deliver 295 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque, but the big news here is the adoption of a more conventional 9-speed torque converter automatic transmission, which replaces the outgoing, coarse, and bland CVT. It was one of the weakest links of the previous-gen QX60.
The 9-speed transforms the QX60 into a proper luxury offering. It’s smooth, refined, and really makes most of the V6’s powerband. It’s not the strongest unit on the block, but the torque is evenly spread out to feel strong no matter the speed or gear you are in. Albeit, the MDX’s V6 feels livelier and more engaging but the QX60’s is quieter and more relaxed than the XC90’s dual-charged inline-four. It’s quite fuel efficient too. Highway-only driving with gentle cruising yielded us an impressive 9.7 L/100km, while an equal mix of city added in raised it up to a still respectable 13.2 L/100km. Infiniti recommends premium fuel for optimal performance but it should run just fine on regular 87-octane too.
Though it’s all-wheel drive, the QX60 rides on a front-wheel drive platform, so it doesn’t corner with the same agility and cohesion as a Ford Explorer ST or Acura MDX. It’s not as ungainly and cumbersome as before, but the lax steering and lethargic front end do little to promote any driving confidence. Still, it rides well on its 20-inch wheels, and delivers a convincingly premium ride free from excessive vertical motions and undulations. It’s definitely more grounded and stable at high speeds than before. We’ve always enjoyed referring to the QX60 as a Japanese Buick Enclave. Comfort takes priority. Compared to the familial Nissan Pathfinder, the QX60 is a tad smoother on throttle application and braking, but where it stands out is with its superior noise insulation at low and medium speeds.
The QX60 adopts new exterior styling but it’s a clean and cut piece of evolution. It takes the same general shape as the outgoing model but rather than looking like a bloated whale wearing a suit two sizes too large, Infiniti has trimmed down the excess fat and it now appears much bolder, sleeker, and slim fit. Narrow headlights and an imposing front grill add to its road presence, as do the large INFINITI letters displayed on the trunklid. Though, the fake lower bumper cutouts aren’t fooling anyone.
The spec you see in our photographs is what Infiniti calls 2-Tone Bordeaux Red with Obsidian Black. While calling it a two-tone paint is a bit of a stretch as the second tone is only available in black and is only painted above the shoulder line, it does effectively shrink down the QX60’s overall silhouette.
Calling the Infiniti QX60 just a re-hashed, garnished up Nissan Pathfinder wouldn’t be entirely untrue, because that’s what it really is. It could also be because the Pathfinder has made such big leaps in refinement and interior quality, especially in the Nissan’s top Platinum trim. Be that as it may, the QX60 offers convincing semi-aniline leather patterns, solid craftsmanship, and an upscale feel to some of its unshared switchgear and touchpoints. The quilting of the dashboard leather is eye-opening at this price point, though the stitching isn’t quite up to par with Mercedes or BMW standards. Much of the mid-grade switchgear is still carried over from the Pathfinder like the steering wheel and drive selector buttons. Unfortunately, even the infotainment and gauge graphics are exactly the same. The key fob is a similar, cheap, plastic design too, all of which mildly chip away at the QX60’s premium appeal.
What is different is the haptic touch panel that houses the HVAC controls, as well as volume and audio tuning. Despite our initial reservations, it works better than expected with little interactive ambiguity and strong positive feedback when an input is registered. The 12.3-inch center touchscreen is large, positioned at a convenient distance from the driver, and is a huge improvement over the bland and button-intensive unit from before. Its arrangement and interface is not as initially dazzling as a Lincoln Aviator or as ergonomic as a BMW X5, but it’s cleaner and more user friendly than the Acura MDX and Lexus RX 350.
But what always gave the QX60 its inherent value when compared to its rivals is rear seat accommodations. The Infiniti has a more spacious second and third row than the RX 350 L, XC90, and Aviator, and those seeking a minivan-alternative with some luxury garnish would be hard pressed to find this kind of space and value elsewhere. Seven-passenger seating is standard though our Autograph model swapped the second row bench to two captain’s chairs with armrests and a passthrough center area. The front seats also come with a massage feature on the Autograph but they were disappointing. Infiniti basically programmed the lumbar support to inflate and deflate at a rapid rate, but rather than kneading your back therapeutically, it felt more like someone was just vengefully kicking the back of your seat. We tried it once and never turned it on again.
The Infiniti QX60 has always been an appealing luxury seven-seater and the 2022 changes have upscaled it even more with a polished gearbox and a premium ride quality. It’s backed up by a handsome exterior design and an aesthetically pleasing interior that doesn’t quite set the bar, but it’s still an inviting space. The QX60 isn’t overwhelmingly unique or remarkable when compared to the equally impressive Nissan Pathfinder that costs $25,000 less and offers nearly 80% of the experience, but the Infiniti’s superior ride quality, cabin insulation, and creature comforts should be enough justification for most to fork over the premium.
Model: 2022 Infiniti QX60 Autograph AWD
Paint Type: 2-Tone Deep Bordeaux / Black Obsidian
Base Price: $67,995
Price as Tested: $68,995
Length/Width/Height (mm): 5,033 / 1,981 / 1,770
Engine: 3.5-litre V6
Horsepower: 295 hp @ 6,400 rpm
Torque: 270 lb-ft @ 4,800 rpm
Transmission: 9-speed automatic
Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, AWD
Fuel Consumption ( City / Highway / Combined ) L/100km: 11.9 / 9.5 / 10.8
Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 13.2