By Shari Prymak
2016 Infiniti QX60 - Let's be honest. Few, if any, of us actually want to drive a minivan. We do it because it's often a necessity of family life. There are those of us, however, who simply refuse to be seem driving what is effectively a miniature school bus, and that is what the full-sized, 7-passenger SUV is for. Although 7-passenger SUV's do serve as a comparably stylish alternative to the minivan, there is no doubt that they are quite pricey. The Honda Pilot, for example, starts at $35,590, and can climb as high as $50,790 with options. With pricing like that, why not consider something more in the luxury realm like the Infiniti QX60?
The QX60 is a 7-passenger crossover SUV in the mold of the Pilot, CX-9, Highlander, and its platform brother, the Nissan Pathfinder. Only being an Infiniti product, it offers up an extra dose of style and luxury which pushes it in the realm of the BMW X5, Audi Q7, and its most direct competitors, the Buick Enclave and Acura MDX.
Like the MDX, the QX60 falls closer to the practical side of the spectrum rather than the full-on luxury side. Its interior finishes are all quite nice – there is comfortable leather seating and plenty of fine wood and soft-touch surfaces – but it's not quite done to the same level as the BMW and Audi. Instead, what the QX60 does best is offer the most family-friendly experience. The controls are all very intuitive and user-friendly. The entry/exit to the third row seats is as easy as they come. And, although rear seat thigh support could use improvement, spaciousness for all 7 passengers is likely best-in-class.
The QX60 also mimics MDX in its pricing. Prices start at $47,400, and a well optioned model complete with navigation, 15 speaker Bose audio, backup camera with sensors, heated and cooled seats, rear-seat entertainment system, and driver assistance gadgets will still keep you below 60 grand. That's right in line with the MDX and as much as 15 grand less than its German rivals.
The QX60 proved to be a very pleasant on-road companion. Outward visibility is quite good all around. Ride comfort and sound isolation from the outside is appropriately luxury-like. And the power from the standard 3.5L V6 engine is perfectly adequate for most driving scenarios. My favorite features proved to be the wonderfully effective multi-view backup camera, and the incredible sounding Bose audio system which is sure to please most audiophiles. The only real letdown was, not surprisingly, the fuel economy, which averaged 15.0L/100km on premium fuel.
The QX60 certainly makes a strong case for going luxury when going down the full-sized crossover SUV route. It offers all the practicality, safety, and sensibility of its contemporary rivals, while mixing in a healthy dose of style and luxury. Yet its pricing still manages to be, dare I say, comparable to that of the optioned-up contemporaries, while avoiding the stratospheric pricing of some of its luxury competitors. Combine all that with predictably strong reliability and great resale value, and you've got yourself one convincing family hauler. Take that minivan.