2016 INFINITI QX60 3.5 AWD Deluxe Technology Road Test Review
December 30 2015, Trevor Hofmann - Canadian Auto Press
Lots of Small Changes Result in Big Improvements All Round
For 2016, INFINITI has given the QX60 a number of small mid-cycle adjustments resulting in significant changes to styling, interior refinement and driving dynamics, all of which should make this already competitive seven-passenger luxury utility more popular than ever.
The brand's new trademark grille is most noticeable, its rounded lower section and sportier mesh insert more appealing, but possibly even more significant is how the carryover hood's beautifully sculpted ridges now visually unite with the reworked lower fascia's centre vent. The look is more cohesive and a lot more assertive, improved upon further by nicely detailed satin silver corner intake enclosures surrounding integrated LED fogs. Bookending the grille is a sophisticated set of longer, more angled LED-enhanced HID headlamps, these bending rearward in similar fashion to last year's model, yet while following the same muscular front fenders they meet up with new side mirrors featuring integrated turn signals.
Changes in back are less obvious but nevertheless effective, including new taillights, also longer, sharper and getting their fill of LEDs, albeit only tied together with one longer chromed applique instead of two. This, along with a reshaped liftgate, makes the SUV's backside appear more horizontal and therefore wider and more planted, a refreshed bumper cap completing the toned, athletic stance. A rich coat of optional dark Hermosa Blue paint and gorgeous 20-inch multi-spoke machine-finished alloys with grey-painted pockets completed my tester, these wheels a clear indicator that the Deluxe Touring package was included.
Another sign of this upgrade is beautiful maple accent trim inside, which replaced new standard Graphite Weave trim, the dark, opulent glossed hardwood adding classic elegance to the instrument panel, console and doors, although my test model's light cream/beige Wheat coloured dash, console, door and perforated leather upholstery only requires an update to Premium trim. It brightens up the look for a more inviting feel, made even airier thanks to a large panoramic sunroof over the rear quarters, also a Deluxe Touring addition.
Even base QX60s get a new dash top trimmed in French-stitched leatherette that improves its look, feel and sound absorption, while plenty of high-quality soft synthetic surfaces come standard, including the glove box lid, plus all roof pillars are suitably wrapped in padded fabric and the QX60's switchgear remains excellent. Truly, if you don't feel like you're living the highlife in this SUV you're beyond spoiled.
It's spacious too, with all seven seats capable of accommodating average sized adults. No one should complain about the first two rows as they're as roomy as anything in the class, while access to the third row is granted via two of the most innovative second-row buckets in the industry, each popping the lower cushion upward as the entire seat slides forward, the design even capable of doing so when a front-facing child seat is strapped in place, child removed of course. To maximize third-row legroom it's best to slide the second-row seats forward slightly, which I did so my medium-build five-foot-eight body felt comfortable in each row. Of note, that panoramic sunroof mentioned earlier helps to make the rearmost quarters feel more open, while side visibility is good and the overall experience improved further with cupholders integrated into each side armrest and even separate USB charging ports.
My tester included a rear-entertainment system incorporating seat headrest-mounted seven-inch monitors, with controls on the backside of the front console, along with RCA plugs for gamers, a three-prong 120-volt household-style outlet and another USB port, plus toggles for two-way second-row outboard seat heaters, a set of air vents and a separate panel for adjusting the tri-zone auto HVAC system.
That climate control system is standard, but the entertainment system is part of a $5,000 Technology package that also adds active trace control to improve handling, adaptive cruise control with full-speed range, loads of active safety kit like blind spot monitoring with intervention, backup collision intervention, lane departure warning with automated lane change prevention, predictive forward collision warning and pedestrian detection with autonomous forward emergency braking (new this year), and front pre-crash seatbelts, all helping the QX60 earn IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus status (the base SUV achieves an NHTSA five-star rating).
The heatable rear seats noted a moment ago are part of the $4,500 Deluxe Touring package I mentioned earlier too, which also includes beautiful quilted leather on the first two rows, cooled front seats, a superb 15-speaker Bose surround sound system, and 50/50-split power folding third-row seats that incidentally expand the QX60's already accommodating 447-litre (15.8 cubic-foot) cargo compartment to 1,155 litres (40.8 cubic feet), whereas lowering the 60/40-split second row results in 2,166 litres (76.5 cubic feet) of load hauling capacity. The cargo area is nicely finished too, with high-quality carpeting, chrome tie-down hooks, and brushed aluminum protector plates, plus there's a deep storage area hidden below the cargo floor, mine partially filled with a Bose Acoustic Wave subwoofer.
Along with all of the above my tester included the $4,500 Premium package that features enhanced Intelligent Key, remote start, entry/exit assist for the driver's seat and steering wheel, two-way driver's side memory, reverse tilt-down side mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, a one-inch larger eight-inch colour infotainment system with navigation, NavTraffic with real-time traffic information, INFINITI Connection telematics with a one-year subscription, voice recognition, a 360-degree Around View parking monitor with moving object detection, Bluetooth streaming media, and more.
Without running down all of the QX60's standard and available features, some base items not yet mentioned include new 18-inch alloys, roof rails, power-folding heatable side mirrors, proximity access, pushbutton ignition, aluminum doorsill plates, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a universal garage door opener, a powered tilt and telescopic steering column, a beautiful new leather-wrapped, metal and glossy logo-adorned shift lever shared with the new 2017 Q60 sports coupe, a heatable leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel, three-way heatable front seats, leather upholstery, powered front seats, a full-colour multi-information display, a rearview camera, satellite radio, Bluetooth, a powered front sunroof, a powered liftgate, all the usual active and passive safety features, and much more for a very competitive $47,400 plus freight and dealer fees, while all-wheel drive is now standard for 2016 as well.
Along with all the improvements the QX60 also drives better. The standard 24-valve, DOHC 3.5-litre V6 still produces an identical 265 horsepower and 248 lb-ft of torque while remaining wonderfully refined due in part to continuously variable valve timing and microfinished camshafts, and the continuously variable transmission it connects to is just as smooth and effortless as last year's iteration, but seems to provide performance that's even closer to the feel of a regular automatic. It comes complete with manual mode and driver selectable settings that I almost always dialed to Sport, being that it enhanced performance without upsetting its silky character.
The CVT aids fuel economy too, the QX60 claimed to achieve a shockingly good 12.2 L/100km city and 8.9 highway rating. If you want better INFINITI offers a hybrid version that reportedly achieves 8.9 L/100km city and 8.4 highway.
An even bigger change can be felt in the QX60's suspension setup, now better sorted for a sportier feel without marring its ride quality one iota. This means it takes to corners with a lot more surety, maintaining its lane when pushed hard and generally feeling more in tune with the rest of INFINITI's performance-oriented yet still luxuriantly comfortable lineup. The big INFINITI has always been an ideal choice for a road trip, its highway stability excellent and noise levels low, while its max tow weight continues to be bullish at 2,268 kilos (5,000 lbs), the new one is just more fun during those rare occasions that a winding roadway isn't blocked by a big rig or slow moving RV.
If your needs require a large luxury crossover SUV and you want something stylish, wonderfully refined, and sporty when called upon, the updated 2016 QX60 is now even more difficult to beat. That it remains such a great value makes it truly hard to pass up.
Story credits: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press
Photo credits: Trevor Hofmann and Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
Copyright: Canadian Auto Press Inc.