Don't Overpay for Your 2015 Infiniti QX60!
By Kristin Varela
March 30, 2015
The 2015 Infiniti QX60 is arguably the most flexible option among a select group of seven-seat haulers that aren't a massive SUV or a minivan.
While you can definitely pack the crew in when needed (I fit three teen girls and two gangly teen boys inside to shuttle to a high school dance, with room left over), the QX60 doesn't feel too large inside or out to head out to dinner with just my husband, or even while running errands on my own when the kids are in school.
The 2015 QX60, which was launched for 2013 under the Infiniti JX35 name, comes with either front- or all-wheel drive. I drove an all-wheel-drive QX60 that came loaded with an optional Technology Package, Deluxe Touring Package, Premium Package and Premium Plus Package. You can also opt into a hybrid version for a 24 percent improvement in fuel economy. Compare all the QX60 versions here.
For 2015, the QX60 remains relatively unchanged save a few modifications to interior and exterior color options and available tire packages. Compare this year's model with the 2014 model here.
If the Infiniti QX60 isn't a perfect fit for you and your family, you may also want to consider a Buick Enclave or Acura MDX. Compare them all side by side here.
Exterior & Styling
The QX60 is one of those rare crossovers that manages to walk the tightrope between form and function quite well. A sleek, stylized, modern look disguises what really is a highly usable interior; it's a welcome relief for those who still can't embrace the somewhat antiquated minivan stigma. Despite a functional space inside, the QX60 looks leaner than other three-row crossovers.
Families with very small children who insist on independence might feel somewhat put out by the QX60's relatively high 18.4-inch step-in height. My girls (ages 10, 12 and 14) commented a couple of times about the second row seeming higher to step into than they'd expect it to.
How It Drives
The all-wheel-drive QX60's 265-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 engine gets an EPA-estimated 19/26/22 mpg city/highway/combined. This bumps up slightly in the front-wheel-drive version to a combined 23 mpg and even higher to a combined 26 mpg in both the front- and all-wheel-drive versions of the QX60 hybrid.
While the QX60 was quite pleasant to drive, with light, nimble steering, I was expecting a smidge more of a carlike ride. While it doesn't tip in corners like a large SUV would, I could definitely feel the vehicle's height in its suspension. This is a picky observation, though, and one that might not be noticeable to the average buyer.
The Drive Select system in the QX60 allows you to choose between Snow, Eco, regular or Sport modes. Each does essentially what you'd think, but Eco was exceptionally sluggish; I opted for regular. Sport is noticeably sportier, naturally, but doesn't help if you're pinching fuel pennies (not that this particular type of vehicle is an ideal choice if that's your top priority).
My family definitely got a bit spoiled after a week in the QX60. When you first set foot inside this car, you'll start to feel pampered by its swanky fit and finish. See — you can have nice things even after you have kids. (P.S., It might be time to remove the protective plastic covers off your sofa.)
Upscale amenities abounded in my test vehicle, like heated and cooled front seats, heated second-row seats (my kids now claim they couldn't possibly live without these in test cars from here on out) and that blissful winter must-have: a heated steering wheel. Just the heated front seats come standard.
The second row is split 60/40 and slides back and forth, creating more legroom wherever you need it. The QX squeezes in an impressive 41.7 inches of maximum legroom in the second row, which is more than the Acura MDX's 36.6 and the Buick Enclave's 36.8 inches.
Second-row passengers have a fold-down armrest in the center seat with two cupholders and a small open storage bin. Double bottleholders in each rear door up the storage ante, as do the innovative double-layer pockets on each of the front seatbacks.
My favorite feature in the QX60 is the access to the third row. Both sides of the 60/40-split second-row seats fold and slide forward, creating an impressive amount of space to slip into the third row. When shuttling my 14-year-old daughter and her friends to their Sadie Hawkins dance, I made the two boys sit in the wayback so the girls wouldn't have to climb back there in their dresses. As it turns out, there wasn't much extra "climbing" required to get back there. The boys said they had plenty of legroom. By the numbers, the QX60 has 30.8 inches of third-room legroom, the Acura MDX has 28.1 and the Buick Enclave tops them all with 33.2 inches.
When it was time to get everyone out of the car, the boys were able to easily access the side lever to fold and slide the second-row seats again. They stepped out without any embarrassing trips or flubs in front of their peers and dates. Phew!
Infiniti says easy access to the third row remains even if you have a child-safety seat installed in the second row. In this case, the second-row seat will still tip and slide forward to allow access to the third row. This claim should come with an asterisk, however. This feature is found only on the passenger side (the 40 percent piece of the split seat), and upon testing it a couple of years ago with myriad car seats, I found that it really works only with a forward-facing, five-point-harness car seat, or the rare low-back booster that's installed using the Latch system (like the Clek Olli). Rear-facing car seats jam the seat, and unrestrained booster seats essentially get ejected.
Third-row passengers have access to air vents as well as two cupholders on either side, and the optional panoramic moonroof that extends above both the second and third rows keeps the interior from feeling cavelike, though I felt a little slighted by the dinky one above the front row.
Ergonomics & Electronics
The 2015 Infiniti QX60 has a 7-inch display that can be operated via touch and/or a combination of physical buttons and a rotary knob below the screen. This type of operating system might be appreciated by those who prefer the tactile feedback of a button, but those of us comfortable with touch-screens might find the redundancy unnecessary.
The relatively large display is particularly helpful when referencing the backup camera (more on that in the Safety section below). At night, however, the large screen continues to glow even after turning the screen off and dialing down the brightness level as much as possible.
And speaking of turning the screen off, that's one hard button I do appreciate and used often in the QX60. Other systems might require you to stare at the screen and toggle through multiple menus to find the screen-off control, subsequently ruining your night vision exactly when you're attempting to preserve it.
Cargo & Storage
The Holy Grail in three-row crossovers is having enough space to fit people and stuff while maintaining a carlike ride. The QX60 surprised me with more room behind the third row than I was expecting. It has 15.8 cubic feet of cargo space, which is slightly more than the MDX's 14.8 cubic feet. While you can find crossovers with more cargo space (the Enclave has 23.3 cubic feet behind the third row), my family and I found this to be more than sufficient for a weekly grocery run plus the kids' dance bags.
When extra storage space is needed, the third row folds flat by manually lifting the release levers on the seats themselves. Thankfully, my test car was equipped with a $3,450 Deluxe Touring Package, which offers a powered seatback-return feature for the third row. This makes the third row motor back up just by pressing a power button in the cargo area, eliminating the need to climb into the cargo space, grab a tether and try to heft the seat up while cursing your decision to wear a skirt that day. Thank you for that one, Infiniti!
The 2015 Infiniti QX60 was named a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. In the institute's tests, the Infiniti received the highest rating of good (on a scale of poor, marginal, acceptable and good) on the frontal small- and moderate-overlap and side-impact crash tests, as well as on roof-strength and head restraint and seats tests.
A backup camera is standard in the QX60, and my test car also came equipped with a $3,000 Premium Plus Package that included, among other things, Infiniti's multicamera Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection and front and rear sonar. Although the picture displayed from the backup camera is slightly grainy, the fish-eye lens on the 7-inch screen gave me a wide view behind and out to the sides of the car. Quickly pressing the "change view" button on the touch-screen allowed me to split the view to show the backup camera on the left half and either the 360-degree bird's-eye view or a curbside view with onscreen parking guides on the right, which is helpful for parallel parking.
Around View Monitor is enhanced by Moving Object Detection: To quote my previous JX35 review, if someone or something is moving around the car — say, a child or the neighbor's cat that uses your garden as a litter box — visual and audible warnings will let you know where the moving object is so you can wait for it to clear before you move. This sounds like a great feature; I thankfully had no opportunity to use it, as there weren't any children behind my test car during my week of driving, and apparently my neighbor's cat has either died or found a new litter box.
The $2,800 Technology Package on my test car also offered backup collision intervention (again, a feature I happily didn't test), a system that can automatically apply the brakes while you're reversing to help avoid a collision with Speedy McSpeedy trying to squeeze past you in the bookstore parking lot.
An emergency communication system (Infiniti Connection) is included free for the first year and includes roadside assistance, automatic crash notification, an emergency call button, stolen vehicle reporting, alarm notification, and remote door lock and unlock, among other things. This system also allows you to set geofences, curfew limits for driving time and speed limit alerts to help parents keep tabs on new teen drivers.
Blind spot monitors that illuminate and alert you with a tone if you're about to change lanes into another car are part of the Technology Package, but if you want the car to intervene for you and also help steer you away from merging into another car, you'll have to activate this specific feature each and every time you drive. Other extra features you have to opt into with each drive are distance control assist and lane departure intervention.
Families installing child-safety seats will find two sets of Latch anchors in the second row's outboard seats, along with three tether anchors. The third row also has tether anchors, allowing you to install forward-facing child-safety seats in a pinch back there if needed using the seat belts. However, there are no Latch anchors in the third row.
See all the QX60's standard safety features here.
Value in Its Class
My first few days in the QX60, I have to admit to experiencing a bit of sticker shock. My test car came heavily loaded, with a heavily loaded price tag of more than $56,000 to match. However, when you start looking at specific features included in the packages that bumped the sticker up substantially from the $44,795 base price, they're worth paying for (except for the "opt in" ones mentioned above, because I don't think anyone will remember to do so each time they drive). In a perfect world, all safety features would be included standard in all cars, but that's not the world we live in.
Would I be willing to pay more for features that could help prevent a collision when driving with my kids in the car? It's hard to argue against it. Would I be willing to pay more for upscale fit and finish blended almost seamlessly with familial function? I think I would.
*MSRP and Invoice prices displayed do not include applicable gas taxes or destination charges.