The QX60, previously known as the JX, shares many of its underpinnings with Nissan's Pathfinder, yet this sport/utility vehicle has a driving personality and attitude all its own. Most of the styling adheres to the goal of achieving excellent aerodynamics -- which helps with fuel economy -- yet the rear side windows and D-pillar have a distinctive kink that makes the QX60 stand out in the luxury SUV segment.

This QX has excellent acceleration off the line. Its 3.5-liter engine is solid, but doesn't make it feel like you're piloting a race car. However, the continuously variable transmission (CVT) that backs it is very smooth, perhaps the best on the market, and does a great job of managing the engine's power. It makes terrific use of the V6's 265 horsepower, while contributing to this 3-row SUV's 19 mpg city and 25 mpg highway EPA fuel economy. In corners, steering is responsive; that, plus the quick response of the transmission and the sporty handling, make the QX feel nimble, despite its size and weight. There is more road feel here than in other SUVs, and those who want a cushy ride may want to look elsewhere.

Department of the Interior

This SUV drives smaller than it actually is, and the packaging inside is a pleasant surprise. All three rows are easy to get into and out of, and lux touches like having seat coolers, seat heaters in the second row, 3-zone climate control, multiple moonroofs and the always excellent Around View Monitor when parking make it very easy to live with a vehicle this size. The cocoa brown and black interior was also quite attractive. A couple of minor complaints about the cabin: it might be nice to have rocker switches to operate the seat heaters and coolers up front, instead of tall, narrow knobs. And when the third-row seats are up, the rear visibility is greatly reduced. But that is an issue that is by no means exclusive to this SUV.

Overall, the QX60 provides a lot to buyers: a luxurious, high-content cabin, an entertaining drive and unique looks. Its as-tested price is over $57,000, which was a bit of a shock initially, but is on par with competitors like the Audi Q7 and Acura MDX.

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