Infiniti wasn’t the fastest growing luxury brand last year, but then again it gained market share while plenty of others lost ground. What’s more, its best-selling QX60 mid-size crossover SUV increased…
Infiniti wasn’t the fastest growing luxury brand last year, but then again it gained market share while plenty of others lost ground. What’s more, its best-selling QX60 mid-size crossover SUV increased sales by more than 17 percent for the strongest result in its mid-size class, when the Acura MDX, Audi Q7, BMW X5, Mercedes GLE and GLS, plus most others saw their numbers go down.
That’s an impressive result for an SUV that’s merely a more luxurious Nissan Pathfinder. Ouch, I know, that might sound harsh to some, but really it’s no bad thing. Look around and you’ll see plenty of premium brands that rely on their mainstream volume counterparts for rolling stock and more, and to be fair Infiniti has done a good job visually separating the two when it comes to exterior styling.
Inside, however, it’s easy to see where the QX60 pulls more than just inspiration. The gauge cluster layout is near identical, as is the rest of the instrument panel and entire centre stack, not to mention the door panels and the three rows of seats front to back. Still, where the Pathfinder feels a bit less refined than its closest rivals, with way too much hard plastic, you’ll be hard pressed to find anything discomforting in the QX60.
Our tester is outfitted in the new $4,200 Sensory package, which ups the luxury quotient further by adding maple hardwood inlays to the dash, console and doors, plus special hourglass quilting to the leather upholstery, while the already heated front seats are now ventilated and the second-row outboard positions heated. Additionally, the third row gets a powered return to make loading cargo easier, while accessing the rear luggage area is more convenient thanks to a motion activated liftgate. Back inside, all occupants will enjoy a 15-speaker surround-sound Bose audio upgrade featuring digital 5.1-channel decoding, while appreciate the Advanced Climate Control System (ACCS) featuring auto-recirculation, a plasmacluster air purifier and grape polyphenol filter, while second- and third-row passengers benefit from the open airiness of a powered panoramic moonroof overhead, complete with powered sunshades. Lastly, 15-spoke 20-inch alloys on 235/55 all-seasons improve the QX60’s look and driving characteristics.
But wait, there’s more. In order to get the Sensory package you first need to upgrade to the new $5,000 Essential and $4,800 ProActive packages, the first including remote engine start, entry/exit assist for driver’s seat and steering wheel, rain-sensing wipers, reverse tilt-down side mirrors, two-way power lumbar support for the driver’s seat, two-way driver’s memory with an Enhanced Intelligent Key, a 13-speaker Bose audio system, leather upholstery, Infiniti InTouch infotainment with navigation, lane guidance, and 3D building graphics, voice recognition, an Around View parking monitor with Moving Object Detection, front and rear parking sensors, SiriusXM Traffic, and more.
The ProActive package adds auto-dimming side mirrors, high beam assist, full-speed range adaptive cruise control, distance control assist, active trace control, Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Lane Departure Prevention (LDP), Blind Spot Intervention, backup collision intervention, front pre-crash seatbelts, and Infiniti’s exclusive Eco Pedal.
All of this kit gets added to a QX60 that’s already well equipped in renamed base Pure form with features like auto on/off LED headlights, LED daytime running lights, LED fog lights, LED taillights, roof rails, power-folding side mirrors with integrated turn signals, proximity-sensing keyless access, pushbutton ignition, a heatable leather-wrapped steering wheel, a powered tilt and telescopic steering column, electroluminescent gauges, an eight-way power driver’s seat, a six-way power front passenger’s seat, a auto-dimming mirror, a HomeLink universal garage door opener, a powered moonroof, micro-filtered tri-zone automatic climate control, an 8.0-inch centre touchscreen with a backup camera, SMS/email display, satellite radio, three USB charging ports, a powered rear liftgate, Predictive Forward Collision Warning (PFCW), Forward Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection (PFEB), Blind Spot Warning (BSW), and more.
The QX60 also comes standard with all-wheel drive fed by a highly efficient continuously variable transmission with default, Sport, Eco and Snow driving modes, the second mode mentioned making the most of the standard direct-injection infused 3.5-litre V6 that makes a strong 295 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque while still claiming a very reasonable 12.5 L/100km in the city, 9.0 on the highway and 10.9 combined.
2019 QX60 pricing starts at just $48,695, and take note all pricing for the QX60 and its competitors can be found at CarCostCanada, where you’ll also benefit from rebate information and dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands.
We’ll have more on how the QX60 drives in our upcoming road test review, along with how the front strut and rear multi-link suspension behaves through town, down smooth freeways, around fast-paced corners, and over bumpy terrain, so make sure to return soon to get our full critique…
Considering how important the compact luxury SUV segment is within the entire auto sector, what took you so long Infiniti? Of course, unlike Cadillac that’s just starting to offer its XT4 compact…
Considering how important the compact luxury SUV segment is within the entire auto sector, what took you so long Infiniti?
Of course, unlike Cadillac that’s just starting to offer its XT4 compact SUV now (Alfa Romeo even beat them to the mark with their Stelvio), the QX50 has long been part of Infiniti’s lineup, its previous EX35 nameplate reaching all the way back to 2007 when it arrived as a 2008 model. It was rebadged QX50 in 2013 as part of Infiniti’s Q (car) and QX (SUV) renaming scheme, and received an updated grille and lower fascia for 2015, but this means the FM platform-based crossover soldiered on mostly unchanged for 11 years before the new second-generation 2019 QX50 started rolling out of its Aguascalientes, Mexico production plant a little more than a year ago.
The new QX50 couldn’t be any more different than the outgoing model, from the previous SUV’s rear-wheel drive biased architecture to a totally new front-wheel drive based layout, although take note that all-wheel drive is standard here in Canada. Manufacturers have been moving away from rear-drive platforms due to interior packaging restrictions, something Audi and Acura have known for more than a decade and likely one reason why their compact SUVs continually outsell all opposition.
No doubt Infiniti would love to have similar success, but last year the QX50 was just 12th out of 14 compact luxury SUV entrants, and the latter two were totally new models only available for part of the year. So far 2018 is looking up thanks to this redesign, with sales having surpassed all of 2017 after just nine months, while it’s also passed right on by the Lincoln MKC, Jaguar F-Pace and Land Rover Discovery Sport, almost catching up to the Buick Envision as it’s climbed to ninth overall. It’s entirely possible we’ll see the QX50 in eighth place before the year is out, but now that it’s been in our garage for the better part of a week we think it should be finding even more success than that.
First of all the 2019 QX50 is one great looking SUV. Its front end is especially attractive, positioning Infiniti’s always stylish double-arch grille below a long, elegantly sculpted hood, and flanked by a stunning set of LED headlamps over a clean, sporty lower fascia. Organically shaped panels flow rearward down each side, passing by a nicely detailed chrome engine vent garnish on the upper front fenders, a metal brightwork adorned greenhouse finalizing with Infiniti’s trademark kinked rear quarter windows, and around the back where a particularly appealing rear end design features nicely shaped LED taillights, while a variety of 19- to 20-inch alloy wheels round out the design depending on trim.
The QX50 is available in five trims for 2019, including base Luxe that starts at $44,490, Essential for $48,990, ProActive for $52,990, as-tested Sensory for $56,490, and finally top-line Autograph trim for $57,990. For full pricing of 2019 QX50 trims, packages, and standalone options, plus money saving manufacturer rebate info and otherwise hard to get dealer invoice pricing that could help you save even more, make sure to visit CarCostCanada.
Along with AWD, even base Luxe trim comes well equipped with 19-inch alloys on 235/55 all-season run-flat tires, LED high/low beam headlights, LED signature daytime running lights, LED fog lamps, LED integrated turn signals on outside mirror housings, LED taillights, chrome-accented exterior door handles, dual chrome exhaust tips, remote engine start, proximity-sensing keyless access with pushbutton ignition, drive mode selector with standard, eco, sport, and personal settings, Infiniti’s InTouch dual display infotainment system featuring an 8.0-inch monitor on top and a 7.0-inch touchscreen below that, InTouch safety, security and convenience services, dual-zone automatic climate control, a powered panoramic glass sunroof including a powered sunshade, a powered liftgate, predictive forward collision warning, forward emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blindspot warning, and more.
Moving up to Essential trim adds a number of items you might want on your must-have list such as rain-sensing wipers, front and rear parking sensors, reverse tilting side mirrors, Infiniti’s 360-surround Around View parking monitor with moving object detection, navigation with detailed mapping, tri-zone automatic climate control with rear controls, leather upholstery, a powered tilt and telescopic steering column, plus memory for that steering wheel as well as for the front seats and side mirrors.
ProActive trim is for those who consider advanced safety and convenience essential, as it includes automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control with full speed range and hold, distance control assist, lane departure warning and prevention, blindspot intervention, rear cross-traffic alert, backup collision intervention, steering assist, ProPilot Assist semi-autonomous self driving, Infiniti’s exclusive steer-by-wire Direct Adaptive Steering system (a first for an Infiniti SUV), a head-up display, and a 16-speaker Bose Premium Series audio upgrade.
As the name implies Sensory is more about creature comforts, and while including everything already mentioned also adds 20-inch dark tinted alloys on 255/45 all-season run-flat tires, unique cube design LED high/low beam headlamps with adaptive cornering capability, extended interior ambient lighting, advanced climate control, natural open-pore maple wood inlays, ultrasuede A- and B-pillars plus an ultrasuede headliner, beautiful black ultrasuede upper instrument panel trim, door uppers, and centre console lid accents for Graphite black-trimmed interiors, while Wheat beige interiors receive leatherette accents, premium-grade semi-aniline leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, two-way front passenger powered lumbar support, rear side window sunshades, a motion activated liftgate, and metallic cargo area finishers.
Autograph trim moves up the luxury while offering something even more individually bespoke looking, thanks to special blue ultrasuede accents replacing the black found in the Sensory model, plus white used for much of the instrument panel, centre console sides, door inserts and seats, the centre inserts of the latter featuring diamond-quilted semi-aniline leather, plus blue piping between the white leather and blue ultrasuede.
On a more practical note, the new QX50 is quieter than the outgoing model thanks to active engine mounts plus acoustic windshield and side window glass, while it’s also much roomier, especially when for rear passengers that now enjoy considerably more leg and headroom. In fact, Infiniti claims its rear seat space is greater than the best-selling Audi Q5 and BMW’s X3, while those back seats now slide fore and aft for more cargo space or better legroom respectively, the former growing by a substantive 368 litres to 895 behind the 60/40 split-folding rear seats, even when they’re pushed all the way backward, while sliding the rear bench as far forward as possible adds another 153 litres of gear toting capacity for a total volume of 1,048 litres when both rows are occupied. Lay the second-row seatbacks flat and cargo space expands to 1,822 litres.
As for performance, previously noted standard features like the 19- and 20-inch wheels, Intelligent AWD, and the various driving modes, as well as standard vehicle-speed-sensitive power steering or available Direct Adaptive Steering, combine with a fully independent front strut and rear multi-link suspension setup, standard Active Trace Control that autonomously adds brake pressure mid-corner to help maintain a chosen lane, plus one of the more advanced four-cylinder engine designs available today.
In fact, WardsAuto just added the QX50’s new VC-Turbo to its 2019 model year 10 Best Engines list, which is nothing new for Infiniti that’s long had one of its V6 mills honoured likewise, the latest being the Q50/Q60’s 3.0-litre twin-turbo VR V6, with previous generation 3.7- and 3.5-litre engines awarded as well. The 2.0-litre four-cylinder VC-Turbo is the world’s first production variable compression ratio engine, a technology that took Infiniti’s engineering team four years to develop. It features special connecting rods between its pistons and crankshaft that vary the compression of the fuel and air mixture, less for increasing power output when needed and more during lower loads like cruising and coasting for improving fuel efficiency.
The result equals 268 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque while fuel economy is closer to a 2.0-litre diesel four than anything gasoline-powered with similar performance. Combined with a new shift-by-wire continuously variable transmission (CVT) featuring manual shift mode, steering wheel paddles, Downshift Rev Matching, and dual transmission fluid coolers, Infiniti claims the new QX50 is 30-percent more efficient than the outgoing model, which was five-cycle rated at 13.7 L/100km city, 9.8 highway and 11.9 combined compared to 10.0 city, 7.8 highway and 9.0 combined for the new powertrain. Even with today’s fuel prices dropping along with the price of oil, every little bit counts when also factoring in our fragile economy that’s following that downward trajectory plus our currency’s never-ending devaluation through central bank managed inflation and other budget-busting price hikes.
How does it all work in the real world? I’ll tell all in my upcoming road test review, plus offer my driving dynamics critique, comment on interior quality, fit, finish and features, etcetera. Make sure to come back for the full review soon, and while you’re waiting take the opportunity to enjoy all the photos in the comprehensive gallery above…
Twilight was causing headlamps and taillights to illuminate as I was driving home the other day, which is often a dazzling spectacle of white and red LEDs in my neighbourhood of premium and exotic machinery.…
Twilight was causing headlamps and taillights to illuminate as I was driving home the other day, which is often a dazzling spectacle of white and red LEDs in my neighbourhood of premium and exotic machinery. Driving up to a stoplight and one set of particularly elegant rear lamps caught my attention, followed by a captivating silhouette. My eyes immediately locked in, because I wasn’t sure what I was looking at. All I knew was that it was gorgeous. Then I laughed when I realized I was looking at the current generation Infiniti Q60, a car that I’ve spent weeks with at a time on many occasion.
To be completely honest, I’m more than a bit jaded when it comes to cars. This job allows me to park some pretty impressive hardware in my driveway, and like I said a moment ago, every manner of BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus and the list goes on crowd the highways and byways of my well-to-do city, not to mention more Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Maseratis and McLarens, plus Bentleys and Rollers than those living anywhere outside of Beverly Hills or Dubai will ever get the chance to see. So factor that in when considering an Infiniti pulled my eyeballs. This is one stunning looking car, no matter the angle.
Another reason it caused me to look is rarity. The Q60 does pretty well compared to a Lexus RC, which it more than doubled in sales last year, but it’s not as strong a seller as say an Audi A5, a BMW 4 Series, or a Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe. Both the 4 and A5 more than tripled the Q60’s deliveries last year, and as Q3 2018 closed BMW had sold more than four times as many 4s and Audi had moved more than five times as many A5s, the new segment leader (although we can’t say for sure how many C-Class Coupes get sold each month as Mercedes lumps their sales numbers together with C-Class Sedans). And just in case you’re feeling sorry for Infiniti, consider BMW sold more than 12 times as many 4s and Audi more than 15 times as many A5s, while Infiniti found three times as many Q60 buyers. Ouch!
While slower sales might be a negative to a company’s balance sheet, it’s not necessarily a bad thing for premium buyers who want exclusivity. Let’s face it. In Canada’s better neighbourhoods the luxury wares from the big German brands are ubiquitous, causing their owners to spend umpteen thousands more for bespoke paint, fancy wraps, carbon fibre add-ons and expensive wheels, so therefore the opportunity to get into a car as stunningly beautiful as the 2018 Infiniti Q60 for just $46,295, or this 3.0T Luxe AWD that starts at $53,295, is rare indeed (see all of the 2018 Q60’s trims and pricing at CarCostCanada, plus save on your purchase by researching possible rebates and receiving dealer invoice pricing).
The base model just mentioned is the 2.0T Pure, a trim line and engine that will disappear on the Canadian market for 2019. If you can still find one and don’t care as much about forward thrust as beauty (because the car still looks as nice) its 208 horsepower Mercedes-sourced 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine is plenty fuel-efficient, but most Q60 buyers opt for Infiniti’s own 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 that makes a much more formidable 300 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, which I have to say is more than adequate, as long as you don’t try the Q60 Red Sport 400 with its same number of horses and 350 lb-ft of ready and willing torque.
That’s a car I’ve previously covered and hope to again soon, but its $61,295 price point might be a bit dear for some, hence the $55,295 Q60 3.0T Sport just below and the Q60 3.0T Luxe I spent a week with. Before I delve into Infiniti’s value proposition, which is always a key reason to consider the Japanese luxury brand, let’s talk driving dynamics.
First off, it’s an easy car to drive around town and on the open highway, as one might expect by looking at its classy chrome detailed exterior and luxuriously appointed leather, hardwood and bright metal lined interior. The ride is firm yet comfortable, its standard 19-inch machine-finished alloys on 255/40 all-season run-flats not helping the former, but its double-wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension making sure of the latter. Infiniti has tuned the spring rates, dampers and stabilizer bars for a competent mix of compliant performance, and while not quite as capable as the Dynamic Digital Suspension included with the Q60’s two top-tier Sport trims, its agility around corners shouldn’t leave anyone wishing for too much more.
Speaking of more, Infiniti offers the Q60 with the complexity of four different steering systems depending on engine, trim and your willingness to pay. The base model I mentioned earlier comes with a vehicle-speed-sensitive hydraulic electronic power steering setup, while the car I tested features standard electronic power steering, yet is offered with Infiniti’s exclusive Direct Adaptive Steering, which replaces mechanical linkages with electronic switches and servo motors to save weight and further enhance the driving experience. Lastly, those two just noted Sport trims can be had with the optional direct steering system or come standard with a more performance-oriented fast ratio electronic power steering setup.
As with the suspension, I never felt any lack of response when pushing the Q60 hard through corners, something I did as often as opportunity allowed. Instead, all that was needed was a little tap on the sizeable 12.6-inch front and 12.1-inch rear discs to load up the front tires and the wonderfully tuned chassis took care of the rest. Infiniti includes standard Active Trace Control that actually enhances cornering feel by modulates braking and engine torque, and I’ve long been a fan of the brand’s rear-biased Intelligent all-wheel drive that sends all available twist to the wheels in back until tire slippage transfers up to 50 percent of torque forward to the front wheels.
Rear tire slippage can happen when getting hard on the go pedal, although you won’t notice any such torque transferring going on behind the scenes. All you’ll feel is immediate response from throttle input, its torque strongest between 1,600 and 5,200 rpm, which considering its aforementioned 295 lb-ft of twist is a nice broad spectrum that allows what seems like relentlessly quick acceleration.
It feels especially potent when Infiniti’s Drive Mode selector is switched to Sport mode. It was quick enough in the default Standard setting, while Snow, Eco and Personal modes are also included, but Sport is best for lickety quick shifts from the wonderfully engaging seven-speed automatic that snaps to attention at takeoff or alternatively quickly drops down through the gears to find the ideal cog for passing manoeuvres. Shift intervals are nice and crisp, but to be fair this isn’t the sportiest transmission in this class, yet it’s certainly one of the best for simultaneously providing quick responses and ultra-smooth operation.
Truly, Infiniti has really done a wonderful job with this gearbox, while along with its quick reacting performance comes Downshift Rev Matching (DRM) that makes you look and sound like a pro as the engine automatically blips to ideally match a chosen gear; a driver-adaptive learning algorithm that senses your driving style and then adjusts its shifting accordingly; Adaptive Shift Control (ASC) that gets upgraded with navigation system synchronization in Luxe trim and above, which adds GPS mapping data to the usual sensor-based system in order to automatically select shift points when the transmission is left to its own devices in Drive, selecting the best possible gear depending on uphill, downhill or curving road conditions; plus dual automatic transmission fluid coolers to keep it running smoothly and reliably.
I only wish steering wheel-mounted paddles were included with V6-powered cars, and not only with the aforementioned Sport trims. This more pampering Luxe trimmed example is certainly sporty enough to warrant paddle shifters, and I for one would feel a bit put off if I paid $50k-plus for a performance coupe and wasn’t able to enjoy the hands-on control that paddles provide.
That Eco mode mentioned earlier is a pet peeve of mine, and not because it strangely still doesn’t include an auto start/stop function. While it seems to work pretty well for saving fuel, it incorporates one of my most disliked features of any car made anywhere. The Active Eco Pedal pushes back on your right foot when attempting to apply more throttle than it feels is necessary to maximize fuel economy, and I loathe this so much that I purposely won’t use Eco mode. Of note, I often use Eco mode with Infiniti’s competitors, as I like saving fuel when driving in the city, but I find the Active Eco Pedal so disturbingly intrusive that I’d rather pay more for less driving interference. Go ahead and search for it online and you’ll quickly see my distaste for this device isn’t unique, and I’m willing to be the sooner Infiniti gets rid of it the faster people will want to purchase its cars. On the positive, this version doesn’t push back as aggressively as early versions, but it still feels as if you’re pushing down on a block of wood instead of a nicely progressive gas pedal.
Speaking of economy, the new 3.0-litre V6 is much more fuel-efficient than the previous 3.7-litre version, with my weeklong non-Active Eco Pedal usage measuring a combined 11.7 L/100km from mostly city and some highway driving, which comes fairly close to matching the claimed Transport Canada rating of 12.3 city, 8.6 highway and 10.7 combined. The soon-to-be-discontinued four-cylinder gets a thriftier 11.2 city, 8.5 highway and 10.0 combined rating, by the way, which really isn’t all that much better than the V6, while the brilliantly quick 400 horsepower Red Sport version is good for an estimated 12.5 city, 9.2 highway and 11.0 combined, which once again isn’t much of a penalty for its superb performance capability.
I’ll refrain from deep diving into every last feature and option available to Q60 buyers this time around, mostly because this review is coming out towards the end of the 2018 model’s availability and the 2019 will see plenty of changes to trims and feature sets as noted earlier, but suffice to say this current model year and the next one offer premium buyers loads of value. For example, a shortlist of standard features found on the base Pure model include such niceties as full LED headlamps, proximity keyless access, pushbutton ignition, signed aluminum treadplates, genuine aluminum interior inlays, dual-zone auto HVAC, Infiniti InTouch dual display infotainment with an 8.0-inch top monitor and 7.0-inch lower touchscreen, a reverse camera, voice recognition, text message capability, satellite radio, a powered moonroof, eight-way powered front seats with power lumbar support, rear parking sensors, Scratch Shield self-healing paint, plus all the usual active and passive safety features.
Along with the more powerful engine, my 3.0T Luxe tester added remote start, auto-dimming side mirrors, a heatable power tilt and telescopic steering wheel, heatable front seats, memory for the steering wheel, seats, and side mirrors, soft perforated semi-aniline premium leather upholstery, accurate navigation with lane guidance and 3D building graphics, the navigation-synchronized adaptive shift control I mentioned earlier, real-time traffic info via SiriusXM Traffic, superb sounding 13-speaker Bose Centerpoint surround audio, a garage door opener, powered front seat torso bolsters, and more.
Infiniti added $750 worth of Majestic White Pearl paint, plus the $5,200 ProAssist-ProActive package that includes rain-sensing wipers, auto-leveling front headlamps with adaptive cornering, front parking sensors, an Around View Monitor (AVM) with Moving Object Detection (MOD), Predictive Forward Collision Warning (PFCW), Forward Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection (PFEB), Blind-Spot Warning (BSW), and Back Collision Intervention (BCI) with Rear Cross Traffic Alert (CTA), which proved to be a useful collection of advanced driver assistance features that worked well without being overly sensitive.
All of this advanced equipment comes in an interior that’s beautifully finished with high-quality materials. Its dash-top is all soft touch synthetic, and stitched together with contrasting thread. Infiniti provides the same impressive treatment across the entire instrument panel, all the way down to the lower console where it turns into an even softer padded leather wrap. This even includes the glove box lid. Likewise, the door panels are finished in this comfortable leather-like material from top to just under the armrests, with contrast stitching throughout—only the lower door panels are finished in a harder plastic, which unfortunately is all too common in this class.
Infiniti enhanced the leather with a rich looking, substantive feeling dark grey hardwood, plus lots of attractive satin-finish aluminum. It’s all tastefully put together for a classy result, while some of its switchgear is edged in knurled metal for extra grip and a ritzier look. Even nicer, the previously noted Bose stereo includes gorgeous drilled aluminum speaker grates on the front doors. Yes, it’s easy to fall in love with the Q60 interior.
I’d like to see more graphical information within the gauge cluster’s multi-information display, or better yet a fully configurable TFT gauge package, but nothing like this is on offer yet. Instead, you get a simpler colour display between two analogue dials ahead of the driver, plus the aforementioned dual display infotainment system that provides more digital acreage than the majority of competitors. The top display is controlled by a rotating knob on the lower console, and the bottom display is a regular touchscreen, and while it all looks impressive initially, the latter lacks the ability to use tap, swipe and pinch gesture controls for the map, forcing you to execute such functions on the rotating dial. The latter function works reasonable well, it’s certainly not as intuitive as a regular touchscreen, which most of us are used to due to our smartphones and tablets.
The perforated leather driver’s seat was wonderfully comfortable, and offered good lateral support made better via powered torso bolsters. This said I’d rather they included four-way powered lumbar support instead, but at least the fore and aft design came very close to pushing in at the ideal spot on the small of my back. Also on the positive, Q60 ergonomics fits my body like a glove. Its powered steering column has plenty of reach, while the seat is as adjustable as I could ever need, thus optimizing my driving position for total control and comfort. As I said over and over again in my reviews, this isn’t always the case due to my unique long-legged, short torso body type.
Rear seating space is tight of course, which is par for the course in the personal coupe category, especially amongst compact D-segment models. This said I had about four inches in front of my knees when the driver’s seat was set for my five-foot-eight medium-build frame, plus ample room for my feet and about an inch above my head to the window glass. I had reasonable side-to-side room as well, measuring about three inches from my outside shoulder and four inches from the hips, while Infiniti does not provide a centre armrest in back, but a centre console includes a shallow tray and equally shallow cupholders. The seatbacks are fairly comfortable, but I wouldn’t want to sit in the back over a long haul.
Now that I’m kind of complaining, I’m still not a fan of foot-operated parking brakes, mostly because they get in the way. Then again with the Q60 it’s not as much of a problem because no manual gearbox is offered.
It would be silly to complain about the Q60’s small 246-litre (8.7 cubic-foot) trunk, because most personal coupes don’t offer a lot when it comes to cargo carrying capacity. Fortunately it’s nicely finished with carpeting all the way around, plus Infiniti filled the empty spare tire hole with a handy tool kit holder. The rear seat folds forward, but take note there’s no split at all, which limits cargo/passenger flexibility.
Perfect it’s not, but factor in all you get with the 2018 Q60, from its potent and efficient powertrains to its gorgeous styling and ultra-rich cabin, not to mention its impressive load of standard features and optional kit, and it’s a lot of personal luxury coupe for a very reasonable price range. On looks alone I could recommend it, but it’s so much more than just a pretty face. If you want a truly special sports coupe that you won’t see coming around every other corner, I recommend you pay special attention to the Infiniti Q60.
Infiniti had more reasons to celebrate than just Canada Day on July 1, 2018, because extremely strong June sales resulted in the best month it has ever recorded. The Japanese luxury brand increased…
Infiniti had more reasons to celebrate than just Canada Day on July 1, 2018, because extremely strong June sales resulted in the best month it has ever recorded.
The Japanese luxury brand increased nationwide deliveries to 1,398 units last month, which represents a 16.3-percent year-over-year increase as well as an all-time monthly sales record.
As you might expect, sport utility vehicles were key to its success, with the brand’s largest QX80 growing its sales by 13.7 percent in June.
Additionally, Infiniti’s most popular QX60 mid-size luxury crossover achieved 567 sales, this resulting in a new monthly record as well as 14.5 percent growth when compared to June 2017.
June was also a big month for the QX50 compact luxury crossover, which arrived as a completely redesigned 2019 model halfway through the month and therefore benefited from 335 Canadian deliveries for its best June ever, not to mention 119 percent year-over-year growth.
Even the discontinued QX70 crossover found traction in June, its sales rising by 19.1 percent, while the ever-popular Q50 sport-luxury sedan also received a bump in popularity, finding 2.3 percent more buyers than it did a year ago.
The Q50 helped keep Infiniti’s car sales from sliding farther backward than the -2.5 percent slip they experienced in June, whereas SUV sales grew by a substantive 23.3 percent.
That said Infiniti cars are the big winners so far this year, with 2018 year-to-date deliveries at the close of Q2 resulting in +9.2 percent compared to -8.5 for SUVs.
I’ve got a challenge for you. Take a 2018 Infiniti QX80 for a drive and then tell me why it’s not worth $20k more than the $77,350 they’re asking. My guess? You’ll soon be comparing it to full-size…
I’ve got a challenge for you. Take a 2018 Infiniti QX80 for a drive and then tell me why it’s not worth $20k more than the $77,350 they’re asking. My guess? You’ll soon be comparing it to full-size SUV rivals from Land Rover, Lexus, and even Mercedes-Benz.
To put its price into perspective, I went onto CarCostCanada.com to size up competitive MSRPs and found out you can get into a well-equipped, impressively finished base model of the handsomely refreshed 2018 Infiniti QX80 for $32,250 less than the 2018 Lexus LX 570, $35,650 less than the Land Rover Range Rover, and $51,550 less than the base Mercedes-Benz G 550. What’s more, the QX80 is $9,190 more affordable than the 2018 Cadillac Escalade and costs $10,300 less than the new 2018 Lincoln Navigator, which should have all of us questioning whether Infiniti priced its full-size SUV too low.
To the ridiculously wealthy such pricing discrepancies won’t make one bit of difference, but value matters to smart luxury SUV shoppers trying to maximize the most from their hard-earned income. To that end the QX80 won’t disappoint, starting with a thorough mid-cycle update for 2018 that includes a redesigned grille, front fascia, hood, fenders, fender vents, and rear bumper, while its LED headlamps, LED taillights, LED fog lamps, and side indicators have been dramatically revised as well. Lastly, Infiniti rounded out the updated exterior design with new 20- and 22-inch alloy wheels, while new exterior colours include Moonstone White, Mineral Black and my tester’s Champagne Quartz, which works really well with all the new details.
Climbing inside reveals some updates to the cabin as well, including a standard contrast-stitched wrapped upper instrument panel and a new shift knob, plus a new stitched and leather-wrapped steering wheel hub/horn pad and diamond-patterned quilting for the upgraded semi-aniline leather door trim and seat inserts when opting for the Technology Package. My test model also had some beautiful high-gloss Espresso Burl hardwood trim around the steering wheel, across the dash and door panels, and down the centre stack and lower console, plus equally tasteful metal accents in key areas. The result is a cabin that looks and feels really rich, matched by high-quality materials like premium soft-touch synthetics on key surfaces including the entire door panels from top to bottom (not so with some competitors), good attention to detail, tight fitment of panels and switchgear, some of the latter finished in beautiful knurled metal, and an overall sense of solidity.
Infiniti also adds some new tech, with that just noted $8,150 Technology Package also including an Infiniti-first Smart Rear View Mirror that doubles as a wide-angle rearview camera, plus an Advanced Climate Control System (ACCS) with auto recirculation, a Plasmacluster air purifier and a Grape Polyphenol Filter, and front seat pre-crash seatbelts on the inside, while the exterior gets an Adaptive Front lighting System (AFS) with auto-leveling headlights, chrome mirror caps, the larger 22-inch wheels mentioned earlier, which are gorgeous 18-spoke forged aluminum alloys shod with 275/50R22 H-rated all-season performance tires, Hydraulic Body Motion Control to further enhance handling, Active Trace Control brake vectoring to improve at-the-limit stability, safety and performance, Infiniti’s Eco Pedal that presses back on the driver’s right foot to promote less aggressive driving (which fortunately can be turned off), and more.
The Technology Package also adds a host of advanced driving assistance systems such as Intelligent Cruise Control with Full-Speed Range, Predictive Forward Collision Warning (PFCW), Forward Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Distance Control Assist, Blind Spot Warning (BSW), Blind Spot Intervention (BSI), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Lane Departure Prevention (LDP), and Backup Collision Intervention (BCI).
Even when factoring in the extra money spent on the Technology Package, the 2018 Infiniti QX80’s increased $85,500 list price rings in lower than all of the aforementioned competitors’ base prices, while a new no-cost optional interior colour treatment includes Saddle Brown with Charcoal Burl Trim, plus the QX80’s Wheat motif has been updated from low contrast to high contrast. Likewise, the Graphite grey interior gets updates too.
Surprisingly the rear entertainment system, with its dual 8.0-inch displays, two pairs of wireless headphones, remote control, aux inputs and more comes standard, as does the superb sounding Bose Cabin Surround audio system with digital 5.1 decoding, Bose Centerpoint 2 signal processing, 15 speakers and more, whereas the list of standard in-car electronics not already mentioned includes satellite radio, streaming Bluetooth audio, multiple USB charging ports, an 8.0-inch InTouch Single Display infotainment touchscreen, an Around View Monitor (AVM) with Moving Object Detection (MOD), Infiniti InTouch Navigation, Infiniti InTouch Services, Infiniti Connection telematics, voice recognition, NavTraffic with real-time traffic info, and more.
Additional standard features include underbody skid plates to protect vulnerable components while off-roading, body-colour running boards, roof rails, remote engine start, proximity access with pushbutton ignition, aluminum kick plates, power-folding, auto-dimming, heatable side mirrors with integrated turn signals, courtesy lamps and reverse tilt down, a heated leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel, a powered steering column, auto on/off LED headlights with auto high beam assist, rain-sensing wipers, an auto-dimming centre mirror, a classy analogue clock, a HomeLink garage door opener, easy to use tri-zone automatic climate control, always appreciated front and rear parking sensors, a powered moonroof, handy two-way memory for the driver’s seat, side mirrors and steering column, a very comfortable 10-way powered driver’s seat with two-way powered lumbar support, and an eight-way powered front passenger’s seat with powered lumbar support.
Those standard seats are covered in leather upholstery, albeit not quite as soft and supple as the semi-aniline hides found in my tester, plus they’re heated and climate-controlled for all-weather comfort up front, while my tester’s optional second-row captain’s chairs also came heated, and feature a tip-up easy entry system for the third row that’s simple to operate, plus the 60/40-split third row seats are power-folding and reclining.
A powered rear liftgate is included too, as is a stainless steel rear bumper protector, an integrated Class IV tow hitch with a covered seven-pin wiring harness, tire pressure monitoring, Hill Start Assist, Trailer Sway Control, all expected active and passive safety systems, plus more. Lastly, an eight-passenger QX80 can be had for the same price.
My only complaints include a gauge cluster and an infotainment display that are a bit behind the curve. Okay I’m being generous, as the primary instruments clearly don’t measure up to the expected full colour, TFT, digital wonderment provided by most rivals. By so saying I’m not pronouncing it unfit for business. Its electroluminescent dials are actually quite lovely, while their bright background lighting can be seen in most any lighting condition. The monochromatic trip computer at centre, however, might be the oldest of its type in existence, especially when compared to the high-resolution colour TFT display in your average Honda Civic, but such issues will be taken care of in due time as seen in some of Infiniti’s more recently redesigned models. You just need to be made aware of them now, as throwback electronics can make any new vehicle seem pretty old.
In contrast the infotainment display is much better, and while not top of its class it certainly works well. The touchscreen isn’t all shiny and high-contrast as is en vogue these days, but its matte finish is nevertheless fairly high in resolution and it’s replete with a bevy of useful functions, with a split-screen of backup and overhead surround cameras, bright, clear and accurate navigation mapping, climate and audio controls, which again can be monitored by a split screen for multitasking, rear entertainment controls, driving info like an Eco Drive Report, a nice graph showing average fuel economy (at 16.6 L/100km, ugh! — the actual Transport Canada numbers are 12.2 city, 19.0 highway and 15.1 combined), one for individual tire pressure, a Performance Meter, and so on, while the various menus are filled with nice big digital buttons, some colourful and others a medium blue. I’m not a fan of Android Auto so couldn’t care less that it’s not included, but iPhone owners might wish for Apple CarPlay, which is a much better interface.
As for roominess, few people will actually need this much space. Front headroom is NBA-level tall, while you should have ample side-to-side movement as well. The driver’s seat was superbly comfortable and fully adjustable too, which when combined with the powered steering column made for an ideal fit, aiding comfort and control.
Likewise, the rear quarters are ultimately roomy and extremely well finished. Rear passengers will appreciate roof vents that extend right back to the third row, while there’s also a separate climate control interface on the backside of the front console with heated seat buttons for the second row, plus other plug-ins for the rear entertainment system, the monitors of which get mounted to the backside to the front headrests.
This seven-passenger model features a large centre console between the two second-row captain’s chairs, with its top finished in a nice hardwood veneer, this just ahead of a leather armrest covering a deep storage bin below. You can also access a secondary storage bin from a front hatch, plus two small cupholders are kept hidden below a nice wooden lid up top as well. This said the construction of the console’s base feels kind of cheap, in that it’s basically formed from a massive hard plastic shell that I found a bit disappointing for this class and price range.
On the positive, the third row is easy to access thanks to second-row seats that pop up and out of the way automatically, providing a wide walkthrough. The rearmost seats are large enough for adults too, even three across, while Infiniti provides multiple side cupholders next to rocker switches for reclining the rear seatbacks.
The cargo area is fairly large at 470 litres behind the third-row, and comes complete with a lidded floor providing some hidden storage below. The third row seats power down, albeit ever so slowly, providing up to 1,405 litres of available cargo space, and then power back up again. You need to walk around to the side doors to lay the second-row seats flat, but when you do the QX80 provides a massive 2,694 litres of load area, but with a sloped floor at centre. Also, that second-row centre console gets in the way if you have plans of hauling 4×8 sheets of building material, as it protrudes upward in the middle, so if you’re a do-it-yourselfer I’d recommend going for the eight-seater that fits a regular bench seat into the second row.
Speaking of hauling, the QX80’s standard 5.6-litre V8, good for 400 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque and mated to a quick-shifting seven-speed automatic transmission that powers all four wheels via Infiniti All-Mode 4WD with Snow and Tow Modes, can manage up to 8,500 lbs (3,855 kg), which is a sizeable trailer whether suited up for camping or boating.
Unfortunately I didn’t have time for either, but enjoyed the QX80’s power off the line, when passing on the open highway, and likewise appreciated the big SUV’s surprising agility through fast-paced, tight corners. It really feels like a much smaller utility when pushed hard, yet all the while it provides a truly comfortable ride thanks to plenty of suspension travel and good overall compliance.
If off-roading is your thing, take note the QX80 has at least as much 4×4 heritage as its aforementioned rivals, thanks to sharing underpinnings with Nissan’s Armada, which in turn is a rebadged Nissan Patrol, a rugged, go-anywhere SUV nameplate that’s become legendary throughout the world since it arrived on the scene in 1951. That means it’s as experienced and well respected in global off-road circles as Land Rover’s Defender, Toyota’s Land Cruiser and others, the latter forming the basis for the Lexus LX, while Mercedes’ impressive G-Class, or Gelandewagen, only dates back to 1979.
All have decades-long ties to militaries worldwide, not to mention relief organizations, policing, businesses requiring wilderness travel, etcetera, and that on- and off-road prowess can immediately be felt by driver and passengers. The QX80 is a solid, well-built vehicle first and foremost, and an impressively finished luxury SUV after that, which is all the more reason to be amazed at its highly competitive pricing.
It’s no wonder QX80 sales have experienced a major upswing lately, with this updated 2018 model having its strongest results ever in March, 2018, with 147 units sold and a year-over-year gain of 113.0 percent. The QX80 showed strength through all three months of this year’s first quarter too, with sales growth up a solid 66.4 percent, while year-over-year deliveries were still up by a significant 53.1 percent at the halfway point of the year.
Clearly, Canadians have responded well to the 2018 Infiniti QX80’s stylish new design, numerous interior refinements, continued strong performance, and particularly good value. I recommend you take up the challenge and enjoy some quality time behind the wheel.