Soft and cushy ride quality
- Better CVT than most
- Comfortable and quiet cabin
CVT still feels too artificial
- Styling could be better
Infiniti is to Nissan like Lexus is to Toyota. Infiniti is the luxury brand of Nissan, but they go about their business a little different from Lexus. Lexus seems to be going the way of developing a new image for their brand that includes much more performance and flash. Infiniti’s business model is about building sensible family vehicles that are more than just flash, and they serve their customers well in their daily lives. This week, we’ll take a look at the 2015 Infiniti QX60 V6 AWD ($43,800).
The 2015 Infiniti QX60 remains relatively unchanged but gets new Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) automatic programming designed to simulate the shifting of a conventional automatic transmission. We’ll check out the new gearbox and see if it performs as advertised.
2015 Infiniti QX60 V6 AWD options and features
The QX60 V6 AWD comes with loaded with standard features like leather upholstery, heated power front seats, six-speaker AM/FM audio with CD, speed-sensitive volume and Radio Data System (RDS), pushbutton start, leather-wrapped power tilt/telescopic steering wheel, interior ambient lighting, power moonroof, power rear liftgate and rear view camera.
This The QX60 V6 AWD tester came with four optional packages. The Technology package ($2,800) includes a lane departure warning and prevention system and blind spot intervention. The Deluxe Touring package ($3,450) adds 20-inch wheels, maple interior accents, ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, a powered third-row seat, upgraded climate control with air filtration and a 15-speaker Bose surround-sound audio system.
The Premium package ($1,550) includes remote ignition, driver memory settings, driver seat power lumbar, a heated steering wheel and an enhanced keyless entry/ignition system that can remember the last driver’s audio, climate and navigation settings. The Premium Plus package ($3,000) includes front and rear parking sensors, a 360-degree parking camera system, automatic wipers, a larger 8-inch touchscreen display, a navigation system, voice controls, Bluetooth audio connectivity and the Infiniti InTouch electronics interface with the brand’s Connection telematics service. Total MSRP including destination $56,090.
The inside of the QX60 isn’t all flash but is characterized by high-quality materials, and plenty of soft-touch surfaces. The leather seats are extra comfortable and all drivers in the family can easily find the ideal driving position. The cabin is spacious and family friendly with second- and third-row seating accessibility being the strong suits. Families will appreciate the middle bench seat that adjusts fore and aft as much as 5.5 inches, and its seatbacks easily fold forward for access to the third row.
Active families with kids need cargo room and the QX60 has plenty of it. The SUV comes with almost 16 cubic feet behind the third row, 47 cubic feet with the third row folded flat and the second row adjusted all the way forward, and just over 76 cubic feet total. While other automakers are leaning toward raked rear styling for the flashy appeal, what the QX60 lacks in flashy exterior styling is made up for in a roomy more functional interior space.
Engine and fuel mileage specs
The Infiniti QX60 is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 265 hp and 248 lb ft of torque. The V6 is coupled to a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) automatic with Drive Mode Select. The SUV achieves an EPA-estimated 19/26 mpg city/highway 22 mpg combined with all-wheel drive.
Buyers looking for a smooth comfortable ride on the highway will like the 2015 Infiniti QX60. Those looking for a performance SUV with engaging driving dynamics will want to look elsewhere. Out on the road, the Infiniti QX60 is quiet and floats down the road giving its occupants all the comfort of sitting on the living room sofa. The 265 hp 3.5-liter V6 provides enough power for the average driver to be satisfied with its performance. The QX60 is a fairly big vehicle and it doesn’t move out with lively acceleration like the smaller Nissan Murano, but the fuel mileage ratings are good for a family-hauling two-ton SUV.
For those driving on the flat and not doing fast maneuvers through the mountain curves like we did this week, the QX60 will satisfy most luxury SUV consumers. We like what Infiniti has done to the continuously variable transmission. Infiniti has programmed in some artificial shift points, to simulate a 6-speed automatic for drivers who usually prefer the feeling of a conventional self-shifter. This is done with the Drive Mode Selector with Sport, Snow or Eco modes on the shift lever.
We shifted into Sport Mode and while the shift points were a little soft, they are tangible enough to satisfy traditionalists. Left in standard drive mode, the CVT automatic keeps up with the engine in unhurried situations, but when we pressed hard on the gas heading up I-70 into the mountains, the CVT still produces the slipping-clutch sensation that’s been a drawback for this type of transmission since its invention. That said, Nissan has done a better job with CVTs than other carmakers, and the fuel economy advantages are a favorable feature.
For families looking for more substance than flash, the 2015 Infiniti QX60 V6 AWD is an attractive offering. The ride quality is soft and cushy and the CVT automatic with Sport Mode is an advantage over standard CVTs. QX60 comes handsomely appointed, and the cabin is quiet, roomy and families will appreciate the versatile interior. QX60 can be ordered with the optional safety features like the backup intervention system that could be a real lifesaver. Luckily this week we didn’t get to experience how the safety system works.