PICTON, Ont. — During the product showcase at the recent 2022 Infiniti QX60’s recent first driving event, a chip on a slide read, “The most significant launch ever for Infiniti to the world.”
Because this thing is selling. Since its launch in 2012, the QX60 midsize SUV has accounted for approximately 35% of Infiniti’s sales in Canada and is one of the brand’s bestsellers around the world.
So, yes, the QX60 is a big deal and should be the cornerstone of the brand for a while, even as Infiniti focuses more on electrification. The company recently announced that “most” Infiniti models will be electrified by 2030, but the QX60 remains at least gasoline for now.
Which brings me to the 2022 model and early second-gen QX60s, and my recent trip to Picton, Ontario, the heart of idyllic Prince Edward County for a little while sitting in the new car.
The 2022 QX60 marks the second generation of Infiniti’s midsize SUV, with all-new styling, more space and more technology. Like the Nissan Pathfinder, the QX60 is based on the Alliance D platform and is built alongside its corporate cousin at Nissan’s sprawling plant in Smyrna, Tennessee.
On the powertrain side, the 3.5-liter V6 retains horsepower and torque (295 hp / 270 lb-ft) unchanged from the previous generation. What has changed, however, is the transmission. Like the Pathfinder, the outgoing model’s CVT was replaced with a nine-speed automatic. All-wheel drive is standard across the range.
Along with the new nine-speed transmission, which was selected for improved torque and response and improved fuel efficiency, Infiniti engineers focused on the all-wheel drive system. The big change here is a new direct coupling for faster response when wheel slip is detected. The hitch engages almost instantly for better traction on icy and snowy surfaces, including inclines and standing starts.
The steering system has also been reworked and now includes an electric rack-and-pinion unit, which produces a lighter feel at low speeds and a heavier feel at high speeds. Steering wheel vibration damping has also been improved.
On the ride and handling side, roll stiffness has been increased by 28% at the front and 14% at the rear for a flatter ride and less body roll in the corners. Damping is also variable now thanks to frequency sensitive damping technology which provides more force on hilly roads and less on rough or uneven roads.
Inside, the new QX60 is quieter than its predecessor thanks to 20% thicker glass in the second row, expanded door and floor insulation materials, acoustic laminated front glass and 60% more materials. sound absorption in the hood, dashboard and engine undercover.
The cabin itself is spacious, as before, but is now a bit more spacious. Overall passenger space has been increased, especially for rear seat occupants who now have 38mm of extra space between the hips and heels, while those in the third row get an extra 10mm. Infiniti designers also outfitted the cabin with plenty of storage bins and lockers, including under the console, as well as 14 cup holders.
Access and egress of the third row seats has been improved with a one-touch second row tilt-and-slide mechanism. Cargo space is rated at a generous 2,135 liters with the second and third rows folded flat, and there are an additional 31 liters when the third row is folded down (1,178 liters). Storage behind the third row is rated at 411 liters, plus an additional 54 liters of space under the floor.
Content side, the QX60 is well equipped even in basic finish. Among its many standard features are leather seats (first and second row), heated front seats, heated steering wheel, 18-inch alloy wheels, panoramic glass roof, 12.3-inch multimedia touchscreen , Apple Wireless CarPlay, Android Auto, and more.
Four QX60 versions are available for Canada: Pure, Luxe, Sensory and Autograph (see pricing table below). For the first driving event, Infiniti Canada brought a selection of sensory models to Picton for our media group to sample.
Key features of the Sensory trim include the 17-speaker Bose Performance audio system, wireless charging, air-conditioned massage front seats, heated second row seats, 10.8-inch head-up display, the smart rearview mirror, hitch and receiver, transmission oil cooler, tow pre-wiring, tow ECU and 6,000 pound (2,722 kg) towing capacity.
My test model, finished in Grand Blue with an interior trimmed in black graphite leather / open pore ash wood, looks good inside and out. The designers at Infiniti were aiming for a “powerful and harmonious” design for the QX60, and I think they succeeded. The exterior has a serene and sophisticated look, which abandons an excessive number of wild folds and strakes in favor of flowing lines that blend well together.
As for the cabin, I’ll get right to the point. It’s excellent. From massive digital screens to the exquisite quality of touchpoint materials and supportive seating, this is the best Infiniti interior to date and one of the best in its class. But it’s not just the displays – the Pathfinder’s instrument cluster is nearly identical – but the way they fit into a dashboard filled with interesting shapes, textures, and materials.
The black interior of my tester erases some detail and the overall design impact is toned down a bit, but there’s a lot going on here. It’s a visual treat, but also very functional, with good visibility, a comfortable driving position and acres of space for the occupants.
Alright, but how does it ride?
Quite impressive, I would say. The car ride traversed Picton and surrounding Prince Edward Country in two main sections that lasted most of a day. I put about 230 kilometers on my tester and an average of about 9.7 liters / 100 km in mixed driving. There was a lot of cruising speed at speeds of 80 km / h and above which may explain why I beat the displayed combined rating (10.8).
Either way, the QX60 took off pretty well on all road surfaces, many of which were quite hilly and wet with rain. The 3.5-liter V6 isn’t a daredevil, even in sport mode, but it’s torquey enough to propel the QX60 forward with reasonable haste. It seems that it works best when rolling in and out of the accelerator. Throttle hits don’t seem to have much of an impact unless the pressure is maintained.
Switching to the nine-speed automatic, much like I said when fitting it into the new Pathfinder, made the QX60 a lot more fun to drive. The gearing is more responsive, it’s easier for the driver to modulate, and the annoying CVT rubber bands are gone. Alleluia.
When it comes to handling, the soundproofing, stiffer suspension, and steering improvements all combined to make the QX60 a quiet, yet responsive and manoeuvrable SUV. Little goes on, but the vehicle’s sharper reflexes, especially at high speed, keep the driver engaged.
During the product presentation, representatives of Infiniti said that the goal of the 2022 QX60 is to create “a luxury SUV that helps you conquer life in style.”
From what I have experienced, I must say that mission accomplished.
Infiniti QX60 2022 pricing
Pure – $ 54,995
Luxury – $ 59,495
Sensory – $ 64,995
Autograph – $ 67,995
The 2022 QX60 is on sale now.
2022 Infiniti QX60 specifications
Body Style: Mid-size premium SUV
Training method: Front engine, all-wheel drive, nine-speed automatic transmission
Motor: 3.5-liter V6 (295 hp / 270 lb-ft)
Fuel economy: (Premium 91+) 11.9 / 9.5 / 10.8 L / 100 km city / highway / combined
Loading volume: 2,135 / 1,178 / 411 liters (75.4 / 41.6 / 14.5 cu ft) (behind first / second / third row)
Towing: 6000 lbs (2722 kg) max. / 3,500 lbs. (1,588 kg.) Standard
Price: $ 64,995 (sensory) base / as tested, excl. taxes