The verdict: The new QX60 is a better-looking, more luxurious and smoother-operating luxury SUV than its predecessor.
Versus the competition: With the 2022 QX60, Infiniti moves this SUV into much more competitive territory versus other near-luxury brands like Lincoln, Acura, Buick and Audi, but it falls a bit short of top-tier offerings from Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Land Rover.
You have to give Infiniti credit. Despite being in the market for nearly 30 years and still struggling to overcome the “near-luxury” label that relegates it to second-tier status among luxury brands, it keeps trying. The label is partly thanks to the fact that Infiniti shares parts and products with its parent brand, Nissan. All brands that share parts with more mass-market parent companies tend to struggle with image — witness Lincoln, Acura, Cadillac and even Lexus. The connection between the lux brand and the mass brand is more obvious at times, like when powertrains and interior switches are shared between brands without any upgrades, and sometimes it’s less obvious: Lincoln, for example, has dramatically moved its offerings away from its shared Ford underpinnings.
Infiniti has historically gone through such swings, but it’s heading more toward differentiation with the 2022 QX60 three-row mid-size SUV. It’s a significant update over the outgoing model, with far more expressive styling, an all-new interior, a new transmission and a healthier dose of luxury trimmings. It looks significantly different from the Nissan Pathfinder upon which it’s based, but is it different enough to justify its loftier price?
Related: Redesigned 2022 Infiniti QX60 Priced From $47,875
The first thing you’ll notice about the new QX60 is that it doesn’t look much like the old one, despite its chassis and greasy bits not changing much from the last model. The sheet metal is all new and much more distinctive, and the proportions are different; it looks more like a rear-wheel-drive SUV than a front-wheel-drive one, thanks to its long hood and the position of its wheels. It’s the look that’s made the Lincoln Aviator such a style winner, and it works well here, too.
There are some unusual elements, including some odd faux chrome exhaust tips on the rear bumper that aren’t exhausts at all. Despite that, though, the strong fender lines, a huge and bold (but not overwhelming) grille, and slim cat-eye LED headlights and taillights add up to a much more attractive, distinctive look. It’s fitting for the vehicle said to be the new style-setter for the rest of Infiniti’s lineup as various models come up for renewal.
Squint hard enough at the new QX60 and you’ll see a lot of Lincoln in the design, from the sweeping roofline to the slim taillights. That’s not a bad thing; it differentiates the QX from the Nissan Pathfinder — even parked next to each other it’s not immediately obvious they share a lot of their guts and structure. But it also creates a look that’s very different from the Acura MDX, Audi Q7 and even the latest Buick Enclave. It takes a lot of influences from a number of different sources, but Infiniti’s new look is successful; it certainly turns heads as it goes by.
Dramatic Dynamic Improvements
If you think the new QX60’s styling improvements are successful, you’ll be pleased with its dynamic changes, as well. The engine hasn’t changed from the last model, which is a bit of a disappointment: It’s a 3.5-liter V-6 making 295 horsepower and 270 pounds-feet of torque. The big difference now is that it’s mated to a new nine-speed automatic transmission, not the awkward continuously variable automatic that came before. As such, it feels far more “normal” and pleasant to drive; there’s no droning, no fake shift patterns, no strange behavior. The combination creates a big SUV with acceptable — if not neck-snapping — acceleration.
The QX60 has a bit less hp than some of its rivals, including the Lincoln Aviator and its optional 400-hp, twin-turbo V-6 and the Audi Q7 with its optional 335-hp V-6. The QX60’s base curb weight, however, is roughly 1,000 pounds less than the truck-based Aviator’s, and it’s hundreds of pounds lighter than the Audi. It bests the Acura MDX’s 290-hp V-6, but that model weighs about 100 pounds less than the Infiniti. The QX60’s powertrain combination is adequate for its purpose — motivating this SUV around town and on the highway with minimal drama — but it doesn’t add much to the experience. It’s quiet, smooth and doesn’t interfere with the Zen experience of calm, luxury motoring that the QX60 creates. It’ll do.
Ride quality, however, is interesting. It exhibits some harshness over more extreme road imperfections but swims along smoothly on long highway jaunts. I put nearly 1,000 miles on the QX60 on a voyage from Michigan to Wisconsin and back. Infiniti’s ProPilot Assist semi-autonomous driving features and an utter lack of wind noise combined to make it a truly pleasant driving companion, eating up long miles with calm, easygoing charm. Only the Aviator can match that kind of wafting philosophy; the German competitors tend to be stiffer and sportier, while other Japanese competitors seem to favor minivan-style numbness when it comes to ride and handling.
Fuel economy is just average for the class — which is to say, not what anyone would call good in general. The QX60 is EPA-rated 21/26/23 mpg city/highway/combined (20/25/22 with AWD), giving it a slight advantage over the competitors mentioned above. My 1,000-mile jaunt saw it average about 21 mpg overall. There are no good options when it comes to fuel economy in this segment; even plug-in hybrid Grand Touring versions of the Lincoln Aviator are rated just 23 mpg combined after its battery runs dry.
Much Upgraded Interior
The QX60’s new cabin appointments only add to the luxurious experience. I drove an Autograph trim level (much like Land Rover, Infiniti’s unusual names for its trim levels don’t really indicate what they are), which took quilted leather to a new level, slathering it on the seats, doors and even the dash top. I’m not sure how well it will hold up long-term, or how readily it will trap dust and dirt, but it looked simply smashing in my brand-new example. The whole interior is massively upgraded over what came before, immediately catapulting the QX60 to the top of the list of near-luxury brands. Infiniti’s Zero Gravity (still a silly name) seats are comfortable over long trips, and there’s plenty of legroom in the first two rows of seats for full-size adults. Outward visibility is also quite good, with a low dash that doesn’t impede your forward view.
The controls and displays are also thoroughly modernized, with varying degrees of success. The digital gauge cluster can be reconfigured into a couple of different views, but oddly there are fewer options than you get in a Nissan Pathfinder, which has a similar display. There are new touch-sensitive or “capacitive” buttons for the climate-control system, which isn’t our favorite way to control anything. They work well enough, if not quite perfectly — just like all capacitive-touch controls.
Of note is the QX60’s big, clear touchscreen, which is mounted high in the dash for easy viewing and can be controlled either by fingertip or by a secondary knob low on the center console between the front seats. I generally prefer a direct touchscreen to a remote controller, but it’s nice that Infiniti gives you the option to use either one.
The whole interior is a vast improvement over the old one in terms of quality, luxury and design, but it’s still not perfect. There’s an inordinate amount of shiny trim inside that can easily reflect sunlight into your eyes, and while the head-up display can show you a lot of information, for some reason the speedometer is offset from the centerline of the steering wheel, which is unusual. All in all, however, the new interior represents a significant boost in Infiniti luxury appointments, making it a better match for the prices the company charges. It feels worth its cost.
Priced to Compete
The new QX60 might finally be competitive against its contemporaries in terms of luxury and performance, and its price also reflects its status. Trim levels start with the base Pure FWD model for $47,875 (including destination fee), moves up to Luxe and Sensory, then tops out at the Autograph trim level. A fully loaded Autograph AWD like the one I tested will cost around $67,000, which is in line with models from Audi, Acura and Lexus and considerably less than the costliest Lincoln Aviator, which can easily top $80,000 (or more if you opt for a Grand Touring PHEV version).
With its combination of newfound style, a luxurious and well-appointed cabin, and quiet and comfortable cruising behavior, the redesigned 2022 Infiniti QX60 earns its place on the three-row luxury SUV consideration list. Let’s hope Infiniti’s next models can keep up the brand’s ascent back up the luxury ladder.
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