WORKING ITS WAY BACK UP: 2023 INFINITI QX60 AUTOGRAPH
It doesn’t seem like it was that long ago when it was a common factor that manufacturers would release a new product every 8 to 10 years. But as technology advanced and consumers started swapping out their rides every 3 to 5 years, the demand for a newer product became more evident. Following this old tradition, it’s hard to believe that it has been 8 years since Infiniti launched their luxury take on the three-row suburban family hauler with the JX35 and later rebadged as the QX60, happily, they are working their way back into the premium segment with a new rival among us.
Completely redesigned for 2022, the QX60 is much more fitting to today’s modern design language. Given a brawnier stance, there is a stately, yet unintrusive element to its stature that elevates its premium esthetics. Despite their best efforts of masculinizing the QX60, I was presented with a “I don’t know anyone that drives a mom SUV” comment after having flashed my lights at a neighbor as a friendly gesture of hello. Sorry Infiniti, I guess it still gives off that mom wagon vibe.
Inside the makeover continues to take on a modern manifestation; outfitted in its most prestigious Autograph trim, Infiniti has certainly improved its premium tactics with a pleasantly styled setting. The dash, seats and door panels are covered with quilted stitched leather and contrasting dark matte wood finishings. Having gone away with physical buttons, the seamless layout of the climate control system requires a more determined push as the buttons are behind the panel – but at least it is still better than the touch sensitive we’ve seen from other brands.
Technology is a boost over its predecessor with a new, semi-customizable digital cluster display and a new 12.3-inch infotainment system that is both touch screen and manageable through the console mounted knob. Oddly the QX60 features wireless Apple CarPlay connectivity but pesky Android users require a cord. Overall, the user interface is straightforward with decent response times and a customizable option for your home screen to access your favorite menus and widgets such as weather or traffic.
As expected, the interior is ultra-soft with comfort as this Autograph version featured front massaging seats to keep you awake during irritating traffic situations or long road trips. The Autograph also featured second row captain’s chairs with a removable center console and as expected the third-row seat is available to those that have really, really short limbs. At least with the third row in place, there is adequate trunk space for a standard grocery run.
With the QX60 going through quite the overall haul to modernize its ways, it is a little disappointing to find that it carries the same 3.5-liter, 295-horsepower naturally aspirated V-6 under the hood. However, with the kept powertrain, Infiniti swapped out the dreary continuously variable single-speed transmission for a more revolutionary 9-speed automatic. Like giving an old heart a new valve transplant, the new transmission does wonders for this carried over engine with smooth gear transitions and improved acceleration.
Despite giving new life to an old engine, the QX60 doesn’t feel as well polished as something like the Genesis GV80. The transmission for instance is slower than most in its gear changes under its Auto drive mode, put its drive mode into Sport on the other hand and the transmission showcases a livelier passion. The QX60 is also available in front-wheel or all-wheel drive; however, given the nature of its 270lb-ft of torque, the all-wheel drive model will be the better option as heavy acceleration can leave you with a red face and all-season tread marks at the intersection. On the road the QX60 opted to not forge the path of luxury comforts when it came to its suspension system. Where most premium branded crossovers use adaptive dampers or an air ride suspension setup to soften the ride and create a more agile machine, the QX60 works with a more traditional setup. This setup paired with its large 20-inch wheels makes for somewhat of a choppier ride over rougher roads.
Off the line, yes, the QX60 is quicker than its previous generation, by nearly a second more to 60-mph now taking 6-seconds rather than previous 7-seconds. Having forgone the modern technology of a turbocharger or mild hybrid system, there is a less refined motivation to its acceleration as peak power doesn’t arrive until much later in the RPM’s, right when the transmission changes gear giving the sensation that there could be more to give out of its gusto engine. This also dramatically affects its fuel consumption as I only managed to see 17.5-mpg’s and requires premium fuel on fill ups – disclaimer however, I did not do my usual highway run and this mpg average stems directly from 200 miles of city driving.
The QX60 makes for a bashful addition to the premium crossover family. As with any new entry into a segment, there is some room for improvement and perhaps a sporty addition similar to the Acura MDX A SPEC or Lexus RX F SPORT would be a nice welcoming. As it stands, the QX60 makes for a nice comeback and starts to work its way back up the premium crossover segment.
Vehicle: 2023 Infiniti QX60 Autograph
Base Price: $49,200
As-Tested Price: $68,185
Engine: 3.5-liter V-6
Horsepower/Torque: 295-Horsepower / 290 lb-ft torque
Transmission: 9-Speed Automatic
Drivetrain: Intelligent All-Wheel Drive
MPG: 20 | 25 | 22 (City | Highway | Combined)
As-Tested MPG: 17.4-MPG Combined
Yay! CVT is gone! Good move on Infinitis part. . .