Midsize Luxury SUV Comparison: 2017 Infiniti QX60
Starting Price: $44,095
Above Average: Roomy, rich interior, good value
Below Average: Relative badge allure
Consensus: The pleasant surprise of the test and a smart, solid option
Heaped with praise ranging from “the sleeper superstar” to “the best all-arounder,” the Infiniti QX60 was clearly the biggest surprise in this test. The oldest model in the group debuted for the 2013 model year, but significant upgrades and additions in 2016 and again in 2017 have given the QX60 fresh legs to better compete with its chief rival, the Acura MDX.
It was Kelley Blue Book editor Matt Degen who called the QX60 the best all-arounder, which he followed with, “Yes, it surprised me, too. But it just checks so many boxes for shoppers in this segment. Great power, looks, efficiency, tech and a third row that you can actually access and use."
The 2017 Infiniti QX60 is also a terrific value. Thanks in no small part to attractive incentives including many hard-to-resist lease deals, the 2017 Infiniti QX60 is a first-time 5-Year Cost to Own Award winner in the Midsize Luxury SUV segment this year. On top of that it boasts a 5-Star Overall Safety Rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and its 4-year/60,000-mile warranty is the best in this group by an extra 10,000 miles of coverage.
KBB editor Rich Homan said, “I think the QX60 is a lot better than most, including we, give it credit for."
So in light of the recent enhancements and impressive showing in this comparison test, we're giving credit where credit is due.
2017 Infiniti QX60
Not surprisingly, all the luxury SUVs in our test proved comfortable and quiet throughout our interstate road trip. But the QX60 is sprung a bit more softly than some of the others, giving it an advantage over rougher stretches of asphalt.
Ample merging and passing power is another luxury-car luxury, and this year’s QX60 has 30 more horsepower with which to get the job done. Even in these sizable vehicles, 295 horsepower is more than enough to deliver the addictive feeling of effortless power. Working in conjunction with the segment’s only continuously variable automatic transmission, the QX60’s 3.5-liter V6 delivers seamless acceleration during passing maneuvers without the kick-down of a traditional automatic transmission. The QX60 was also among the most efficient in observed fuel economy, an advantage amplified slightly because it was the only two-wheel-drive entry in the group.
Our test vehicle included the $7,300 Deluxe Technology Package, which includes some of the most advanced driver-assist technologies available today. The Infiniti QX60 can stop, steer and accelerate itself in a variety of situations from the parking lot to the highway to stop-and-go traffic. The results vary from a reduced risk of collisions to less taxing long-haul drives.
While general acceptance of continuously variable transmission (CVT) technology varies among the Kelley Blue Book editors, the Infiniti QX60 was one of the highest-scoring entries in our city driving category, an environment in which CVT weaknesses are typically most exposed. Editor Matt DeLorenzo summed it thusly: “I think the V6 engine with its 295 horsepower is able to overcome the deficiencies of the CVT. I never felt a lack for power and it didn’t have the rubber band responsiveness I’ve come to expect from the technology.” The Infiniti QX60 and Acura MDX were the only naturally aspirated (non-turbo) vehicles in the test, which gives them an advantage in town thanks to more linear and predictable acceleration, especially off the line.
Drivers who can’t resist charging their favorite on-ramp or mountain road even when driving the family hauler would be happier in those moments with any of the other vehicles in our test, but the QX60 wheels around town and through parking lots with ease and confidence. Speaking of parking lots, the QX60 offers one of our favorite features of all time, the Around View Monitor. Using cameras on all four sides of the vehicle, a computer creates a bird’s-eye view of the vehicle and its immediate surroundings, which is ultra-useful in a variety of parking situations. Similar technologies are being made increasingly available on other vehicles, including some in our test, but Infiniti gets credit for introducing the technology. The full suite of driver-assist technologies mentioned in the Highway Driving section above also enhances city and parking-lot driving, as does a respectable turning circle of 38.7 feet.
The QX60’s interior sits at one end of a spectrum that includes the Audi Q7 at the other end. While the Audi represents the epitome of technology and modern design, the Infiniti delivers a softer, simpler kind of luxury that many shoppers find more familiar and inviting. It’s also among the roomiest cabins in the group. Good cupholders and roomy bins up front are matched by sliding rear seats in back, which allow you to optimize the setup for a variety of passenger and cargo combinations.
While the QX60 received its lowest score in the infotainment category, it’s a respectable rating that reflects positive reception from the editors who praised its simplicity and found it easy to understand and operate. The system was significantly upgraded as part of the QX60’s update for 2016. The screen is smaller and less remarkable than those in our Audi and Volvo competitors, and it’s lighter in features -- no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, for instance -- but it otherwise proved refreshingly easy to use. Buyers for whom ease and simplicity outweigh bells and whistles will find the QX60’s setup appealing.
Rear Seat Room
On one hand, the third row in the Infiniti was more accommodating of our testers than were those in the Acura and Audi. On the other hand, all of the third rows in our test offer enough room for the small to mid-size humans more likely to occupy these confines. One of the QX60's coolest third-row features is actually in the second row. Even with two car seats installed in the middle row, those seats tilt and slide in a manner that still allows easy access to the way back. In most competitors, to maintain easy third-row access with two car seats you'd have to opt for a captain's chair setup, which requires giving up a seating position. So if you plan to have two car seats installed in the second row and also want to maintain full 7-passenger capacity, or if you plan on squeezing adults into the way back on a regular basis, the Infiniti deserves your serious attention.
None of the three-row vehicles in this test offers a lot of cargo area behind the third row -- enough for several bags of groceries, at least -- but they all offer plenty of room behind the second-row seats with the third-row seats folded flat into the floor. And they’re all positively cavernous with both rear rows collapsed. That’s the nature of the category. With that said, the Infiniti is indeed among the roomiest vehicles in this group by all passenger and cargo volume measurements. While there will be few real-world cargo challenges a QX60 could handle that the slightly smaller Acura MDX couldn’t, if you regularly explore the limits of your vehicle’s passenger and cargo capacities, you can count the QX60’s volume advantage as a point in its favor.
The Infiniti QX60 didn't only get more powerful for 2017, it even got a tad more efficient. While the QX60 delivered the second-best fuel economy in the group, the cost difference between the most and least efficient entries in the test would work out to only about $16 per month using our observed fuel economy figures.
While the Infiniti QX60's historical and predicted resale values aren't particularly strong, they're balanced by a recent track record of actual selling prices many, many thousands of dollars below sticker price, as well as some very attractive lease terms.