Review: The smoother, sleeker 2016 Infiniti QX60 luxury crossover
The 2016 QX60 lived in our driveway for a week and proved itself to be a solid set of wheels, but there are some drawbacks as well. Here's a look at the good and the bad of this long-lived luxury crossover.
Updates for the 2016 model year to the QX60 include new headlights and taillamps for a more contemporary look and added sound insulation for better noise control at speed. Steering and suspension were also revised this year. These improvements are noticeable in the new Infiniti QX60, but some may not have gone far enough.
On the plus side, the QX60 is one of the best three-row crossovers we can name in terms of passenger comfort and interior design. This is augmented by the updated insulation in the 2016 model year, which improves highway noise levels noticeably. On the down side, the QX60 feels underperforming and doesn't deliver the fuel economy that might be expected. The chassis and steering updates do little to make up for the sluggish feel of this Infiniti's drivetrain.
A first glance at a 2016 QX60 versus last year's model shows a lot of updates to the exterior, especially at the front. The grille has been expanded and is more in line with Infiniti's new look. LED lighting is now standard on the QX60, which does a lot to give the appearance a more modern and contemporary appeal.
Under the hood, the 2016 Infiniti QX60 still employs the 3.5-liter V6 that's been there since the crossover's introduction in 2012. That engine outputs 265 horsepower (198 kW) and 248 pound-feet (336 Nm) of torque. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) runs to the front wheels as standard and to all four with the all-wheel drive option. Fuel economy estimates are 23 mpg combined (10.2 l/100 km) in FWD and 22 mpg combined (10.7 l/100 km) in AWD. Our real-world driving during a week with the AWD model saw just under 19 mpg (12.4 l/100km) as our average.
On the road, the 2016 QX60 has a slow feel about it that's largely due to the engine being slightly underpowered for the vehicle's size. Luxury crossovers are heavy by nature and the QX60 is no exception, so despite the far better steering and handling characteristics of this model year, the sluggish engine and smooth but not particularly sporty CVT still hold it back. Still, we do like the new feel of this Infiniti, which has far less body roll in the corners thanks to new shocks and a much quieter presence on the highway thanks to acoustic glass and new engine dampers. Compared to last year's model, the 2016 is much more comfortable to drive.
That comfort is also partially attributable to the beautiful interior of the QX60. Wood, leather, and metal all adorn the interior in a graceful layout. The dashboard is lifted and modern, though some aspects such as the small (7-inch) infotainment screen are a bit dated. Although the QX60's infotainment lacks some basic functions like Bluetooth music streaming and smartphone integration – now considered the norm for this segment – it is easier to use than many rival systems.
This classy luxury interior is also very versatile, offering a lot of seating and cargo options. We especially like the sliding third row, which moves forward and back up to 5.5 inches and folds forward for third-row access even when a child safety seat is installed. All seats, even the third row, can recline as well, which is another unusual feature that aids comfort immensely. Cargo space maxes out at 76.5 cubic feet (2,166 liters), which is about average for the segment.
The 2016 QX60 is a big vehicle and there's no getting around that. This could make it difficult to maneuver and park, but Infiniti's 360-degree top-down camera system (optional) does a lot to make up for that. With that upgrade, the QX60 becomes one of the easiest vehicles to park in this segment. It's also easy to get in and out of spaces, even in busy parking lots, thanks to that camera view and the options it gives for a wider cross-traffic view when backing out.
Speaking of safety, there are a lot of options for this Infiniti. We found the optional frontal and rear (back-up) collision mitigation system with emergency braking to be a useful touch for those maneuvering in busy places. This year, Infiniti has also added some telematics services to the QX60 with the introduction of its branded concierge service –Connection. We do note, however, that the relatively low price of the base model 2016 Infiniti QX60 (US$42,600) comes in no small part because most of the safety and convenience equipment available is not fitted.
As a daily-use family vehicle, we found the 2016 Inifniti QX60 to be a smart and very ergonomic luxury crossover. With seating for up to seven and cargo space to match most needs, it's a solid performer. We were underwhelmed by its performance, though, and disappointed with fuel economy returns. If comfort and usefulness are your primary goals, however, the QX60 definitely fits the bill. We would recommend cross-shopping the Acura MDX and Volvo XC90, however, which are top choices in this segment. Against them, the 2016 QX60 definitely has its downsides, but it's a contender worth noting for its value and comfort.
Product Page: Infiniti QX60