We could say that Infiniti builds crossover SUVs by the mile and sells them by the yard — there’s a size 50, 60, 70 and 80, each one preceded by the model designation QX. “X” as in x-c, for cross-country, meaning all-wheel drive, or at least the availability thereof; and “Q” because, well, Infiniti just has a thing for the letter Q. (Its very first car, back in 1989, was its Q45 flagship.) The smallest QX, the 50, is a two-row, V-6-powered wagon that starts at about $36,000. At the other end of the scale, the QX80 is a three-row, 400-horsepower V-8 behemoth that starts at $64,000 and tops out around $100,000. The midrange QX60 might be Goldilocks’ SUV: neither too small nor too big, too costly or too cheap — possibly just right. It’s also much the handsomest wagon in the Nissan/Infiniti family. (The gargantuan QX80 looks like a rhinoceros in a tiara to me.)
Of course, “not too costly” is relative. Yes, it’s a lot less expensive than a QX80 Limited, but our sample QX60, with AWD and $11,295 worth of just about every available option, was hardly cheap at $56,090. It might still be a bargain, though, compared to similarly duded-up status wagons from Europe. Settle into this heated-and-ventilated driver’s seat of stitched, creamy leather (adjustable eight ways, with two memory settings), gaze across the high-rent console trimmed in dark wood and satin alloy and studded with high-quality charcoal-hued switchgear and chrome bezels, take in the acreage of sunroof (two of them) and the thick carpeting, and you might think “Hmm, 60, 65 grand?” I did. The QX60’s plebian Nissan Pathfinder bones are well disguised.
Underneath our car’s Deluxe, Premium, Premium Plus and Technology packages is a seven-passenger family vehicle with unusually easy access to the way-back. Each side of the second row of seats — they’re split 60/40 — promptly slides and folds forward at the pull of a lever, leaving a good-size gap to climb/step through. Returning Row #2 to battery then takes a bit of muscle, but it’s not difficult (and the person behind can help). As usual, third-row passengers sit low, with their knees in the air, but it’s not uncomfortable and there’s decent space. There’s also still room for groceries behind the third row, although in our QX60 much of the subfloor storage was taken up by the Bose stereo that comes with the Deluxe Touring Package. Both sets of back seats fold more or less flat (but they don’t disappear into the floor); the third-row seatbacks rise electrically, as does the tailgate.
You’d never know by its faultless behavior, but the transmission is not the eight-speed automatic we’re coming to expect in such a wagon; it’s a continuously variable type, with programmed “gears” for a manual-shift mode. The 265-horsepower V-6 engine drives either the front wheels alone or, in our case, all four wheels. Standard in every QX60 is a knob that lets the driver select Snow, Eco, Normal or Sport modes. These don’t alter the suspension or steering, merely the throttle response and “shift” points. After toggling through the menu to investigate, I clicked back to Normal and stayed there, to enjoy the smooth, torquey drivetrain and the silken ride. The only demerits come from numb steering and a bit of binding at the front wheels in tight, high-angle corners (likely due to the AWD system).
A QX60 that’s been plucked from the top of the options tree lacks the self-steering of some Infiniti sedans, but little if anything else when it comes to convenience, comfort and connectivity. The impressive safety suite includes blind-spot, lane-departure and both forward and rearward collision warnings and intervention, plus Infiniti’s excellent full-speed-range adaptive cruise control. Yes, there are the expected idiosyncrasies of each carmaker’s computerized control systems, but my main beef is the panel of eight switches, low and left of the steering wheel where I can’t make them out. Well, that plus every time I slid into or out of the driver’s seat I banged my right knee on the bulkhead by the door. Oh, and an indicated 17.8 mpg overall doesn’t quite come up to this Q’s projected 19 city/22 combined.

Plus
- Yacht-club cabin, ride and comfort
- Auto up and down at all four windows
- Even rearward auto braking
Minus
- Thirsty
- AWD binds in tight parking-lot turns
- Another inch of knee room at the door, please

Silvio Calabi reviews the latest from Detroit, Munich, Yokohama, Gothenburg, Crewe, Seoul and wherever else interesting cars are born. Silvio is a member of the International Motor Press Association whose automotive reviews date back to the Reagan administration. He is the former publisher of Speedway Illustrated magazine and an author. Contact him at calabi.silvio@gmail.com.