I’ve had the chance to drive a number of different Infiniti cars and SUVs in the last few months, which has been great. The company consistently gets so many aspects of modern car design right, from an excellent fit and finish to lots of smart and luxurious touches to the drive and passenger experience that creates happy customers. The brand is a testament to the value of spinning off new brands rather than trying to deliver a vehicle lineup that attempts to satisfy every possible buyer. Toyota explored this too, successfully with its Lexus line and not so successfully with the now defunct Scion. Infiniti, of course, is the upscale spin-off from Nissan, a company that also has a great vehicle lineup, but few pretensions of being a luxury brand.
Infiniti offered me the chance to drive a new 2023 Infiniti QX60 Luxe AWD SUV and I was very happy to accept; I’ve never had other than a great experience driving an Infiniti. The lineup is a bit confusing, though, with the QX50 the entry level SUV from Infiniti, then the QX55 a sort of cross-over between a sedan and compact SUV, the QX60 as the luxury three-row SUV and the premium-priced QX80 (out the door yours will cost over $80K) the uber-premium three-row SUV from the company.
The weather was pretty mediocre for the week I drove the QX60, so it’s a bit hard to tell the exterior color, but it’s Graphite Shadow, with a Sandstone interior, built in Smyrna, Tennessee:
Grey SUVs are popular, my younger daughter owns one herself (though hers is an Audi, not an Infiniti), and this QX60 has a lot of curb appeal with its sleek lines along the wide windows and a rather rugged front grill design with the air scoops on the sides. The lighting design is definitely an aggressive slash that looks like your car is kind of angry when it’s dark. I suspect owners like that! It is interesting to note where they tucked the side blinkers (the orange lights just ahead and above the front wheels) too.
Moving into the vehicle, there’s a lot to like about the basic design and layout, including that swanky 12.3-inch infotainment display:
The overall feeling is luxurious because so much of the dashboard is the accent color (Sandstone), with functional areas for different tasks and purposes adding up to the full driver experience. There is something rather amusing you can see in the above picture that I’ll show a bit larger so you can figure out what’s actually wrong with the image:
Shouldn’t that middle seat seatbelt indicator be in the back seat where there’s actually the possibility of three sitting together? Since the front row seats are separated by the center console, there’ll never be a middle passenger, nor is there a seatbelt. Also, what about the passengers in the (fold up) third row? All in all, an odd hiccup from the Infiniti design team that has probably been there for years…
To more serious topics, the overall climate controls are well designed and, unlike the recent Toyota vehicles I’ve been reviewing (like the RAV4 PHEV) the steering wheel heater control and the seat heating controls are in the same overall cluster as the climate management features:
The very top seems a bit of a catchall with some music controls, hazard lights, and an indicator about whether passenger airbag is enabled or disabled, but otherwise, a smart cluster and I really like the individual target temperature being shown on the knob that controls it too.
The star of the dashboard is that big infotainment screen, though. It can operate as two separate regions, the left for Apple CarPlay or Android Auto and the right for Infiniti info display (as shown in the earlier picture, where it’s redundantly showing the audio source), or you can expand the Infinit map across the entire display, offering up a beautiful view:
It’s hard to remember those data impoverished years when our car took us places, but had no idea where we were or where we were trying to head; navigational systems, whether phone-based or vehicle-based, are a wonderful improvement over those dark years.
The one quirk that I noticed with the Infiniti system was that it displayed bad weather warnings that were often quite a distance away, particularly since I was just popping out to the market:
From a user interface perspective, I also got a chuckle from the vague “about” followed by a very precise distance “47.8 mi”. This would be better without the “in about” words in the notification. And yes, you can disable this if you’d rather not know about the weather within about an hour’s drive of your location.
The center consol and gear shift was very easy to use and offered lots of useful features:
The central knob that controls navigation on the infotainment system has become pervasive across car manufacturers, and I’m very glad of it. These make interacting with the tech far superior, though Mazda still one-ups the Infiniti implementation by adding a small volume knob too, meaning you can change audio sources and crank up your tunes without every having to touch the controls on the front portion of the dash. Instead, the Infiniti offers volume up and down as part of the steering wheel crossbar control cluster.
Notice the D-MODE control on the center console too; you can switch between Sport, Normal, and ECO, and since I’m endlessly trying to eke out the best fuel efficiency (well, except when I’m pushing the vehicle in sport mode to see how it performs), I found myself constantly fiddling with this particular control. Fuel efficiency wise, I averaged an acceptable 25.1mpg, though the vehicle has EPA estimated numbers of 20/25. I guess I was in ECO a lot more than Sport after all.
Looking up, if you can crane your neck at the right angle, you’d see the following additional controls for the sunroof, etc:
I suspect I am like most drivers in that I tend to just push buttons on the ceiling console to see what they do, but these are pretty explanatory, between the spotlights, the dome light control, the control to have lights on or off when the doors open, and the shade / glass of the sunroof sliding forward or backward. SOS? That ties in to some sort of emergency system, but it wasn’t clear to me whether that was a default feature in Infiniti vehicles or an additional required subscription. Since I never needed it, I didn’t push that particular button.
Also worthy of note was the upgraded Performance Audio Package, powered by long-time vehicle audio experts Bose:
The upgraded audio features 17 speakers (!!) and had a lovely sound, whether I was jammin’ on some classic rock or listening to an audiobook. I always pay for upgraded audio when I purchase vehicles, and appreciate when it’s included in these demo cars too.
Now that I’ve opened the door, let’s step out and check out the rear legroom:
The white dots are snow, if you’re curious! You can see with the driver’s seat pushed all the way back, there’s not a huge amount of legroom for the backseat passengers. For adults you’d probably compromise with the driver and front passenger seats not being all the way back, but this is sufficient for younger passengers, no worries. Of course, the QX80 offers more legroom because it’s that big bump in size from the (mostly) compact SUV to a full-size SUV, but with a commensurate bump in price too.
And, finally, cargo space:
There’s a lot of space with the third row seats folded down, and if you fold down the second row, you’ve got enough space for skiis, a bike or two, or lumber for your next home improvement project.
The overall experience of driving the 2023 Infiniti QX60 Luxe AWD was really delightful, I have to admit. It’s powerful enough (for an SUV) that I felt I could keep up with traffic and merge without concern, while still offering the smooth, quiet ride expected from a luxury vehicle. No surprise, the vehicle’s powered by a 295 horsepower 3.5L V6 with 9-speed automatic and Infiniti’s Intelligent AWD system. Fuel efficiency could have been better, considering I was at the very top end of its EPA ratings, but that’s just something to factor in when making a purchase decision, not a show-stopper. This one’s definitely worth adding to the shortlist of your next SUV if you seek the intersection of luxury, comfort, and performance at a reasonable price.
2023 INFINITI QX60 Luxe AWD in Graphite Shadow, powered by a 3.5L V6 engine with 9-speed automatic. BASE PRICE: $57,250.00. Options included: Performance Audio Package, Vision Package. AS DRIVEN: $60,845.00.
Disclosure: Infiniti loaned me the QX60 for a week in return for this candid writeup. Thanks, Infiniti!