The sport utility vehicle segment, small crossovers to three-row, boat-sized gas guzzlers, continues to appeal to the public in record numbers. Several manufacturers’ offerings have seemingly meshed into one universal vehicle. So how does a buyer make a choice?
If luxury, versatility and a quiet ride are key buying attributes, consider the 2018 Infiniti QX60. It stands out among the horde of SUVs barreling down the freeway and lined up row after row in shopping malls and grocery store parking lots.
Introduced as a concept at the 2011 Concours d’Elegance in Pebble Beach, the QX60 debuted as a seven-passenger, mid-size luxury crossover in early 2012 as a 2013 model. It was the first three-row SUV offered by Infiniti, the upscale vehicle lineup from Nissan.
After extensive updates last year, the 2018 QX60 has only one major upgrade, Rear Door Alert. It detects if a rear door is open before driving. It also alerts the driver if an object, person or animal is behind the vehicle after the engine is turned off.
With the hybrid trim discontinued, the 2018 Infiniti QX60 is available only one trim, with or without all-wheel drive. Several packages are available, all with long lists of equipment, all worthy and all expense. The top-line QX60 has about $14,000 of options. With the destination charge, the price is slightly more than $60,000.
Unless you’re driving a Bentley or Porsche SUV, the segment’s offerings aren’t particularly quick. But the QX60 advances better than many competitors. The 295-horsepower V6 has a seven-speed automatic transmission, and it achieves the 0-60 miles-per-hour standard in 7.7 seconds.
Gas mileage averages are mediocre: 19 miles per gallon in city driving and 26 miles per gallon during freeway treks. The combined average in mixed driving is 22 miles per gallon, which means economy is not part of the equation.
The QX60 has several strengths, most notably a comfortable and quiet ride. Seats are firm, with the best ride in the front row. The second and third rows aren’t as roomy or comfortable, but they’re satisfactory. With multiple seat adjustment options, the QX60 adapts quickly to any body. It’s an alternative to a favorite family room chair but with four wheels.
A superior suspension defuses bumps in the road, further adding to the SUV’s overall appeal. It’s a luxury family vehicle with easy access to back rows and with the comfort of an Infiniti sedan.
The XQ60, also like Infiniti sedans, has an overall attractiveness, inside and outside. The interior leather is high quality with plenty of double stitching, handsome, dark-toned wood and impressive craftsmanship throughout the cabin.
The dashboard has large and easy-to-read numbers. The two main dials are slightly raised, providing a magnified appearance. The infotainment center is intuitive with an easy-to-read navigation screen.
Like Lexus and Mercedes-Benz, the Infiniti SUV lineup looks handsome on the road. The contour of the headlights and taillights ideally fit into the body style, also further adding the vehicle’s many assets.
There are two exceptions: The Infiniti has its share of small storage areas, including a two-level console compartment and adequate side compartments. But the overall cargo area isn’t as large as many competitors.
Infiniti is also a not-too-distant relative of Lexus in one respect. The front grille is wider at the bottom than the top, giving the appearance of being upside down or resembling a pouting fish.
But overall, if appearance and impressive workmanship are important factors while utilitarian attributes aren’t imperative, the 2018 Infiniti QX60 is an excellent choice.