First Drive: 2022 Infiniti QX60 is a Transformed Luxury Hauler

A long-needed redesign improves the powertrain and brings new interior tech

By Mike Monticello

The 2022 redesign of the Infiniti QX60 has turned this midsized three-row SUV into a more engaging vehicle. Buyers are sure to appreciate the QX60’s refined and punchy powertrain, its modern infotainment system, and the cabin’s high-quality look and feel. After spending time with an Infiniti QX60 Luxe AWD that we purchased for our test fleet, as well as a QX60 Autograph AWD that we rented from the automaker, we think this family hauler is better equipped to compete with the likes of the Acura MDX, Cadillac XT6, Lexus RX L, and Volvo XC90.

As with the outgoing model, the QX60 shares its basic platform with the Nissan Pathfinder, which was also redesigned for 2022. Both models were getting long in the tooth, but they’re back with all-new styling and updated interior tech, and have switched from a continuously variable transmission (CVT) to a more conventional nine-speed automatic transmission. The QX60 is available with front- or all-wheel drive, and the sole engine is a 295-hp 3.5-liter V6.

Pricing begins at $46,850 for the QX60 Pure front-wheel-drive model and caps off at $63,250 for the QX60 Autograph AWD, not including the $1,025 destination charge Infiniti tacks onto all QX60s.

If you’re a Consumer Reports member, our initial expert assessment of the 2022 Infiniti QX60 is available to you below. After we put about 2,000 break-in miles on our purchased QX60, it will enter our formal testing program at the CR Auto Test Center. That’s when it will be put through more than 50 tests, including those that evaluate acceleration, braking, fuel economy, handling, car-seat fit, and controls. CR members will get access to the full road-test results as soon as they’re available.

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What we purchased: 2022 Infiniti QX60 Luxe AWD
Powertrain: 295-hp, 3.5-liter V6 engine; nine-speed automatic transmission; all-wheel drive
MSRP: $54,900
Options: Vision package (adaptive front lighting system, 10.8-inch head-up display, smart rearview mirror), $1,500; Performance Audio package (Bose Performance 17-speaker audio system), $900; premium paint, $695; Cargo package (console net, trash bin, storage divider, reversible cargo mat, cargo net, cargo blocks, rear bumper protector, first aid kit), $585; splash guards, $230.
Total options: $3,910
Destination fee: $1,025
Total cost: $59,835

What we rented: 2022 Infiniti QX60 Autograph AWD
Powertrain: 295-hp, 3.5-liter V6 engine; nine-speed automatic transmission; all-wheel drive
MSRP: $63,250
Options: Premium paint, $695
Total options: $695
Destination fee: $1,025
Total cost: $64,970

CR's Take

The switch from a CVT to a more conventional nine-speed automatic has improved the QX60’s drivability. Gone is the rubber-banding sensation of the old CVT, which caused the engine to rev discordantly high at times vs. the QX60’s actual acceleration. The new model also has a slightly sharper handling feel, which together with the improved powertrain makes it more engaging to drive.

The cabin has a luxurious look and feel that gives it an upscale air compared with the similar Pathfinder. But some elements of the interior redesign have made the controls less user-friendly than before, particularly those related to the climate system.

Photo: John Powers/Consumer Reports

What We Like So Far

Smooth and punchy powertrain: The QX60’s 295-hp, 3.5-liter V6 delivers plentiful power. There’s actually almost too much of it on tap when you first press on the gas pedal, as it abruptly jumps off the line, to the point that it can spin the front tires slightly (just like with the Pathfinder), especially if you’re accelerating while turning from a stop. Once underway, there’s always plenty of grunt in reserve, whether it’s merging onto a highway, climbing a steep hill, or passing a slower car on a two-lane road. The new nine-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly and stays mostly in tune with the terrain, with appropriately-timed downshifts.

Nicely finished cabin: The QX60’s cabin has quite a nice presentation, with lots of soft-touch surfaces, including the outer part of the glove-box door, which isn’t a given in this price range. The cloth-lined windshield pillars, felt-lined glove box and center console bin, and the fine stitching throughout impart an upscale feel and further differentiate the QX60 from the less opulent Pathfinder. The top-trim Autograph model we rented ups the ante even more, with fancy-looking quilted leather on the seats and dashboard, along with elegant wood trim.

Comfortable front seats: So far most of our drivers have had good things to say about the QX60’s front seat. It’s comfortable, with just enough side bolstering to hold you in place through corners, and the leading edge of the bottom cushion can be tilted up and down to adjust leg support. We also appreciate the four-way lumbar adjustment, though some drivers said that even with that, lower-back support starts to wane on longer drives. The Autograph version we rented is equipped with not only heated and ventilated front seats but also a massage function.

Photo: Infiniti

What We Don’t Like

Climate controls: The QX60’s new climate-control panel has proved to be a sore spot with our drivers. Like other touch-capacitive systems, it can be hard to target the item you want—such as the seat heaters or fan-speed “buttons”—which makes it almost impossible to accomplish tasks without taking your eyes off the road to look at the screen. Plus, the haptic feedback when you touch an icon is oddly intense—each press comes with a “clunk” that you not only feel but also hear. We’re happy to see that the system uses physical knobs to adjust the temperature, but they require extra effort to turn than in most vehicles.

Stop/start system’s wicked delay: The QX60’s engine stop/start system—which is intended to save fuel by shutting off the engine at stoplights—is slow to restart the engine after you press on the gas pedal to get going, and it restarts with a noticeable shudder. Plus, the system takes away the power steering when it shuts off the engine, which feels odd. At least the button to turn the stop/start system off is handily placed on the left side of the center console.

Tight third-row seat: As with many of the QX60’s midsized SUV competitors, the tight third-row seat isn’t quite large enough for adults and is best suited for kids. The seat’s low-to-the-floor position puts your knees high in the air, which results in zero leg support, and there’s hardly any knee room. Headroom is tight to the point that even average-sized adults will find their noggin up to the roof, and comfort isn’t helped by the plastic outer armrests. At least the seatback can recline some, though the adjustment lever is placed in a difficult-to-reach spot on top of the seatback.

Photo: John Powers/Consumer Reports

What We’ll Keep Our Eyes On

Ride comfort: The ride is softer and more compliant overall than the overly firm Pathfinder’s. It feels steady and absorbent on highways and secondary roads, where the suspension is capable of soaking up ordinary bumps and cracks in the roads well. But the QX60 suffers from some of the brittleness that plagues the Pathfinder when the going gets rough—it just takes bigger road imperfections to get to that point in the QX60. The result is that some deeper or sharper-edged bumps can jolt the cabin more than you’d expect for a luxury SUV.

Mundane handling: The QX60 feels like a softened-up Pathfinder through corners. It feels sharper than the slightly sloppy outgoing model, but body roll still creeps in noticeably if you pick up the pace on a curvy road. We found that although the QX60’s steering is initially responsive as you turn into a corner, it starts to feel mundane—with hardly any feedback to the driver about road texture or tire grip—further into the turn.

Infotainment system: The touch-screen infotainment system and the instrument cluster are shared with the Pathfinder, which for the most part is a good thing in terms of ease of use. The main difference is that the QX60 has the addition of a controller knob on the center console as an alternate way to use the infotainment system. But in the process of adding the controller, Infiniti removed the shortcut keys that are below the screen in the Pathfinder and placed them around the controller instead. The system works better with those shortcuts near the screen, and for someone who prefers to not use the knob, this results in lots of jumping back and forth between the touch screen and the home, audio, and other buttons on the console.

Second-row seat comfort: The second-row seat is perched rather high, giving it a stadium-like feel. It’s pretty roomy, with lots of knee space and room enough for three adults to sit across the bench seat on our purchased test vehicle. Although the bottom cushion is a little short, its height makes for good thigh support. The ability to slide the bench fore and aft and recline the seatback (the latter with a handy lever on the side of the seat) is great. But foot space is tight under the front seats and the seat has a flat shape with almost no contouring, so they don’t hold occupants in place well. The captain’s chairs in the version we borrowed have the benefit of adjustable inner armrests, but the seats still have the same flat shape.

Fuel economy: We managed 19 mpg overall with the outgoing QX60 AWD, which utilized a CVT. Because CVTs are known for their fuel efficiency and the engine itself carries over, it’s quite possible that, even with nine forward speeds, the new QX60 won’t move the needle forward much (or at all) in terms of fuel efficiency. That jibes with the Environmental Protection Agency’s ratings: Both the 2020 QX60 AWD with the CVT and the 2022 AWD with the nine-speed auto are rated at 22 mpg combined. As with all vehicles we purchase and send through CR’s program, we’ll conduct our own fuel-economy testing.

Photo: Infiniti

Active Safety and Driver Assistance Systems

Every QX60 comes standard with forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic warning, rear automatic braking, and lane departure warning. Lane keeping assistance comes on all but the lowest trim, the QX60 Pure.

Photo: John Powers/Consumer Reports