This Luxury SUV Deserves a New Engine

infiniti qx60 Full Overview From the digital gauge display, beyond the contrast-stitched dash, and over the creased, sculpted hood, the view from the 2022 Infiniti QX60’s driver’s seat gives a convincingly luxurious impression. Yet under that hood is the same engine as before. While other luxury three-row SUVs adopt turbocharged […]

infiniti qx60 Full Overview

From the digital gauge display, beyond the contrast-stitched dash, and over the creased, sculpted hood, the view from the 2022 Infiniti QX60’s driver’s seat gives a convincingly luxurious impression. Yet under that hood is the same engine as before. While other luxury three-row SUVs adopt turbocharged or electrically assisted powerplants, the redesigned QX60 sticks with the V-6 it’s had since 2017. Given the carryover hardware, it’s no surprise the 2022 Infiniti QX60 performs much like its predecessor. It brings enough newness to seem like an improvement—just not in ways that our MotorTrend test results indicate.

Same Engine, Similar Outcome

About that engine: It’s a 3.5-liter naturally aspirated V-6 making 295 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque. Behind it is a new nine-speed automatic transmission, an ostensible upgrade over the prior, unloved CVT. Regardless of trim, every QX60 is FWD as standard; the example we evaluated was equipped with optional AWD, which is a new system said to engage more readily and better balance torque between the front and rear axles.

Even with real gears to work with and that improved AWD, the new QX60 is barely quicker than the last-gen model we most recently tested. Acceleration from 0 to 60 mph took 7.3 seconds, a few blinks ahead of the 2018 model’s 7.7-second result. Conversely, the new version posted a lower quarter-mile trap speed, completing the run in 15.7 seconds at 87.9 mph as opposed to 15.9 seconds at 90.3 mph.

Although those numbers are reasonable for the segment, in real-world driving the powertrain doesn’t provide effortless acceleration befitting a luxury SUV. The new QX60’s peak horsepower and torque arrive high in the rev range, at 6,400 and 4,800 rpm, respectively. The lack of low-end twist makes the QX60 feel strained whether it’s cruising around town or getting up to freeway speeds. Several of our evaluation drivers noted a rough first-to-second upshift.

The 2022 Infiniti QX60 needed 128 feet to stop from 60 mph, slightly longer than the 122-foot result the 2018 model recorded. That’s a bit hard to explain, as the newer version’s brake rotors are larger in diameter, curb weight only went up by about 30 pounds, and its tire footprint is slightly broader (255/50 versus 235/55, both on 20-inch rims). Perhaps it has something to do with the switch from Bridgestone to Hankook.

Ditto Dynamics

Underneath its handsome, modern sheetmetal, the 2022 Infiniti QX60 rides on the same platform as it did previously. No surprise, its handling performance is like the outgoing model’s. Around the skidpad, the 2022 QX60 achieved 0.80 g (average), slightly better than the 2018’s 0.78 g. It’s a similar story on the figure eight, which the new QX60 completed in 28.0 seconds, pretty close to the 28.3-second time posted by the older version. Both averaged 0.60 g in the test.

Numbers aside, the QX60’s ride and handling support its upscale aim. Turn-in is crisp and accurate, and despite noticeable body roll, the vehicle remains balanced and planted through corners. Although rough surfaces can elicit slight buzzes from interior trim pieces, the absorbent suspension soaks up impacts without feeling floaty. From inside, the experience is one of smooth quietude.

It’s What’s Inside That Counts

Luxury three-row SUV intenders should focus more on the 2022 Infiniti QX60’s interior than its test results—that’s where it impressed us most. Materials are quite nice, especially in the front row where nearly every surface is covered with soft-touch finishing, matte open-pore wood, and metallic details. Dual 12.3-inch displays for the infotainment and gauge cluster lend a high-tech ambiance, though we’d prefer it if more HVAC controls were hard buttons rather than haptic sensors. The drive-selector knob slides with pleasant tactility and is part of a center console that contains several useful storage spaces.

The rear seats feature some premium treatments, too; our Sensory trim test unit was equipped with second-row sunshades and heated seats. Third-row passengers get air vents and USB ports. Even though legroom in those rearmost seats is snug, hiproom is much improved. Regardless, accessing the seats is terrifically simple thanks to how the second row tilts and slides forward with a single touch of a button. There’s one such button on the seat base for passengers climbing in and another on the seat back so they can let themselves out. The second-row seats can still tilt forward even if a child seat is mounted.

Keen readers will notice commonalities between the QX60 and Nissan Pathfinder, also redesigned for 2022. Indeed, examining the Infiniti’s cabin reveals items nearly identical to its counterpart. See the steering wheel, seats, various switches, and center console—not to mention, the 3.5-liter V-6 and nine-speed automatic. The QX60 isn’t the only luxury SUV that shares core components with a workaday equivalent, but it’s less successful in hiding those cost-saving details. That might be acceptable at its roughly $48,000 starting price, but for more than $61,000 as tested here? More differentiation is warranted.

Much Improved, and Still Space for More

After the outgoing QX60’s marathon production run, Infiniti didn’t need to do much to make the 2022 model seem like a step up. Yet the brand worked to make its popular crossover legitimately appealing. The new QX60’s stylish, distinctive exterior encloses a cabin offering plenty of comfort and practicality.

Still, our test numbers implicate the vestiges of its predecessor. We hope for the addition of a modern engine at some point, whether it’s a new V-6, a hybridized setup, or perhaps something with turbocharged punch. Even if the view out over that shapely hood remains the same, an engine beneath it that gives swifter, livelier performance would bring the 2022 Infiniti QX60 closer to the level of its leading three-row competitors.

Looks good! More details?

2022 Infiniti QX60 AWD Specifications
BASE PRICE $50,570
VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, AWD, 7-pass, 4-door SUV
ENGINE 3.5L direct-injected DOHC 24-valve 60-degree V-6
POWER (SAE NET) 295 hp @ 6,400 rpm
TORQUE (SAE NET) 270 lb-ft @ 4,800 rpm
TRANSMISSION 9-speed automatic
CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 4,652 lb (56/44{92b8314a80b58944ba0df9bff999fd6692ae6ba618bc5950ca8fb5ab90484bed})
WHEELBASE 114.2 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 198.2 x 78.0 x 69.7 in
0-60 MPH 7.3 sec
QUARTER MILE 15.7 sec @ 87.9 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 128 ft
MT FIGURE EIGHT 28.0 sec @ 0.60 g (avg)

Shaqil Heaton

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