PICTON, Ont. – During the product presentation at the recent first drive event for the 2022 Infiniti QX60, a bullet point on a slide read: “most important launch ever for Infiniti globally”.
Because this thing sells. Since its introduction in 2012, the mid-size QX60 SUV has accounted for roughly 35 percent of Infiniti sales in Canada and is one of the brand’s bestsellers worldwide.
So, yeah, the QX60 is kind of a big deal, and figures to be a cornerstone of the brand for some time to come, even as Infiniti becomes more focused on electrification. The company recently announced that “most” Infiniti models will be electrified by 2030, yet the QX60 remains gas-only for the time being at least.
Which brings me to the 2022 model, and the start of the second generation QX60, and my recent trek to Picton, Ontario, in the heart of idyllic Prince Edward County for a bit of seat time in the new car.
The 2022 QX60 marks the second generation for Infiniti’s mid-size SUV, with all-new styling, more room and more tech. 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 front, the 3.5-litre V6 carries over with horsepower and torque ratings (295 hp / 270 lb-ft.) that are unchanged from the previous generation. What has changed, however, is the transmission. Like the Pathfinder, the CVT in the outgoing model has been replaced with a nine-speed automatic. All-wheel drive is standard across the range.
Apart from the new nine-speed, which was selected for improved torque delivery and response and better fuel efficiency, Infiniti engineers zeroed in on the all-wheel drive system. The big change here is a new direct coupling for a faster response when wheelspin is detected. The coupling engages almost instantly for better traction on ice and snow-covered surfaces, including inclines and standing starts.
The steering system has also been reworked, and now features a rack mount electric unit, which produces a lighter feel at low speeds and a weightier 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 percent up front and 14 percent in the rear for a flatter ride and less body roll in cornering. Damping is also variable now thanks to frequency-sensitive damper tech that delivers greater force on undulating roads and less on rough or uneven roads.
On the inside, the new QX60 is quieter than its predecessor thanks to 20 percent thicker second-row glass, expanded door and floor isolation materials, acoustic laminated front glass and 60 percent more sound absorption materials in the hood, dashboard and engine undercover.
The cabin itself is spacious, as it was previously, but is now a bit roomier. Total passenger room has been increased, particularly for rear seat occupants who now have 38 mm of extra hip-to-heel space, while those in the third row get an extra 10 mm. Infiniti designers have also outfitted the cabin with plenty of storage bins and cubbies, including under the console, along with 14 cup holders.
Getting in and out of the third-row seats has been improved thanks to a one-touch second row tilt and slide mechanism. Cargo space is rated at a generous 2,135 litres with the second and third rows folded flat, and there’s an extra 31 litres when the third row is folded (1,178 litres). Storage behind the third row is rated at 411 litres, plus an extra 54 litres of underfloor space.
As for content, the QX60 is well kitted out even in base trim. Among its many standard features are leather seating (first and second row), heated front seats, heated steering wheel, 18-inch alloy wheels, panoramic glass roof, 12.3-inch multimedia touchscreen, wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and a lot more.
Four QX60 trims are available for Canada: Pure, Luxe, Sensory and Autograph (see pricing chart below). For the first drive event, Infiniti Canada brought a selection of Sensory models to Picton for our media group to sample.
Key features for the Sensory trim include Bose Performance 17-speaker sound system, wireless charging, climate-controlled massage front seats, heated second row seats, 10.8-inch head-up display, smart rear-view mirror, hitch member and receiver, transmission oil cooler, tow pre-wiring, tow ECU, and a 6,000-pound (2,722 kg.) towing capacity.
My tester, finished in Grand Blue with a Graphite Leather / Black Open Pore Ash Wood trimmed interior, is handsome, inside and out. Infiniti designers were aiming for a “powerful and harmonious” design for the QX60, and I think they’ve nailed it. The exterior has a serene and sophisticated look to it, that forsakes an excessive number of wild creases and strakes in favour of flowing lines that all fuse together nicely.
As for the cabin, I’ll cut to the chase. It’s excellent. From the massive digital screens to the fine quality of the touch point materials, and supportive seats, it’s the best Infiniti interior yet, and one of the best in class. But it’s not just the screens – the Pathfinder’s instrument cluster is almost identical – but the way they fit into a dash layout that is filled with interesting shapes, textures, and materials.
My tester’s black interior washes out some of the detail and the overall impact of the design is a bit muted, but there’s a lot going on here. It’s a visual feast, yet also highly functional, with good visibility, a comfortable driving position and acres of room for occupants.
Fine, but how does it drive?
Quite impressively, I’d say. The drive route wound through Picton and surrounding Prince Edward Country in two main sections that lasted the better part of a day. I put roughly 230 kilometres on my tester’s odometer and averaged about 9.7 litres / 100 km in mixed driving. There was a lot of cruising at speeds of 80 km/h and up, so that may explain why I bested the posted combined (10.8) rating.
At any rate, the QX60 darted along quite nicely on all road surfaces, many of which were quite hilly, and rain soaked. The 3.5-litre V6 isn’t a neck-snapper, even in sport mode, but its torquey enough to propel the QX60 forward with a reasonable amount of haste. It seems to work best when one rolls in and out of the throttle. Stabs at the throttle don’t seem to have much impact unless pressure is sustained.
The switch to the nine-speed automatic, much like I said when it was installed in the new Pathfinder, has made the QX60 much more pleasing to drive. The gearing is more responsive, it’s easier for the driver to modulate and annoying CVT rubber-banding is gone. Hallelujah.
As for the ride, the sound-deadening, suspension stiffening and steering improvements have combined to make the QX60 a quiet, yet responsive and tight-handling SUV. Not much sound gets through, but the vehicle’s sharper reflexes, especially at speed, keep the driver engaged.
During the product presentation, Infiniti reps said the goal for the 2022 QX60 was to create, “a luxury SUV that helps you conquer life in style”.
Based on what I’ve experienced, I have to say mission accomplished.
2022 Infiniti QX60 Pricing
Pure – $54,995
Luxe – $59,495
Sensory – $64,995
Autograph – $67,995
The 2022 QX60 is on sale now.
The vehicle was provided to the writer by the automaker. Content and vehicle evaluations were not subject to approval.