The segment for three-row luxury midsize crossovers is a brutally competitive field, littered with the bodies of machines that failed to capture the hearts and wallets of consumers either because they were too old, outdated, or simply the wrong size.
For the 2022 model year, Infiniti has completely reimagined its player in this hotly contested market. The slightly bulbous but unmemorable styling has been ditched in favour of a sharper look, its unremarkable continuously variable transmission gets tossed for a modern nine-speed, and out-of-date infotainment has been swapped for a jumbo touchscreen.
Key areas, all – especially when one considers the effect QX60 has on Infiniti’s bottom line. Though the first quarter of this year, the model has accounted for nearly 30 per cent of the brand’s total sales. This is an important car for Infiniti; messing it up would be disastrous. Fortunately, from what we saw during the new model’s virtual reveal, they’re right on the money.
“The QX60 SUV has a commanding presence that demands attention wherever it goes,” said head of Infiniti Design Taisuke Nakamura, explaining they’ve struck a balance with, “exquisite details that owners will appreciate.” Unlike the rather lumpen old model, the new QX60 has a far more commanding road presence, with furrowed-brow headlights and a grille the size and brightness of Nathan Phillips Square after dark.
The brand is all-in on using the I N F I N I T I chrome-letter billboard styling cue, appending it to both the front and rear of this SUV. In fact, when asked about this detail during a one-on-one conversation with journalists, Infiniti designers said they specifically took advantage of the number of times the letter ‘I’ appears in the brand name. Around back, chrome garnishes that kinda-sorta look like quad exhaust outlets give the QX60 extra visual height, and a full slate of towing gear is shown on this debut trim. The latter is welcome since this thing can tow 6,000 lbs.
Under the hood, one won’t find any turbocharged four-bangers or hybrid technology. On tap is a V6 engine with a familiar 3.5-litre of displacement, making 295 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque. However, that mill is now mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission instead of a CVT, a decision sure to delight drivers who pay even the slightest bit of attention to how their SUV sounds under acceleration. All-wheel drive is standard across the board, a direct coupling system that’s been fettled to engage proactively in slick conditions. Up to 50% of available power can be shuffled rearward.
Drivers will appreciate the new QX60’s enhanced ProPILOT assist system, which works with data from the satnav to help slow the car for upcoming bends or highway ramps. The tech can support single-lane highway travel with steering and braking assists. Additionally, a full-colour heads-up display will measure an impressive 10.8 inches the promises crisp graphics to feed plenty of information to the driver.
But technology and gadgets – along with styling – are generally what moves the metal in this segment of vehicle. Inside, the new technologies begin with a new 12.3-inch infotainment display with touchscreen controls that is standard on all trims. Wireless charging is available, as is Apple CarPlay, though Android users will have to tether their device for now. An onboard wi-fi hotspot can connect up to seven devices for on-the-go entertainment. After all, Snapchat waits for no one, right? A 17-speaker Bose audio system is available on certain trims.
Other parts of the company have always made noise about the effectiveness of their Zero Gravity seats, and these front-row thrones make an appearance on the new QX60. There’s plush seating for up to seven people, with a choice of captain’s chairs in the second row and increased interior dimensions in key areas so all hands are more comfy than they were in the old car. One-touch access to the third-row mean Ungrateful Children can scamper back there with ease, and the model retains its innovative ability to slide forward for rear access without having to remove an already-installed child seat.
Speaking of space, the 2022 QX60 has 41.6 cu-ft of it with the third row folded, and 75.4 cubes when both rows behind the driver are folded flat. These numbers are comparable to most of its competition, if somewhere in the middle instead of excelling in any particular dimension.
The 2022 Infiniti QX60 is scheduled to arrive in North America later this year.