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Tom Crosby: Infiniti’s 2018 QX60 SUV increasing in sales

Tom Crosby

The Infiniti QX60 increased sales sharply in the first two months of 2018, with its comfortable, well handling, seven passenger all-wheel drive cross-over SUV.

The 42 percent jump in sales can be partially attributed to its competitive pricing, sumptuous cabin and numerous features that come with optional packages needed to make it competitive.

We test-drove the premium full-size QX60 3.5 all-wheel drive (there is a front-wheel drive trim), armed with Deluxe Technology, Theater, Premium and Premium Plus packages totaling $14,150.

Similar options are offered by competitors such as Audi Q7, Mercedes Benz GLS and Lexus RXL to upscale their vehicles.

With its 295-horsepower, there was ample power for interstate maneuvers, using the continuous variable transmission (CVT) or manual shift paddles. The ride was comfortable riding on 20-inch alloy wheels astride independent front strut and rear multilink suspension.

Handling was surprisingly nimble for a more than two-ton vehicle and towing capacity, properly equipped, is 5,000 pounds. Drivers can choose Snow, Eco, Normal or Sport mode to combat weather conditions, improve fuel conservation or indulge feisty power urges.

Few changes were made for 2018 after the 2017 model was upgraded. One new feature is a standard Rear Door Alert that reminds drivers to check the back seat to see if anything is left behind, like a child in a safety seat, pet or valuable packages.

That lines up with an array of technology to prevent collisions possibly due to inattention, like emergency braking with pedestrian detection, backup collision braking and predictive forward collision warning. Crash vehicle safety ratings were top rung in government and insurance testing.

Inside, cargo and cabin space abound, with more than 72.5 cubic feet when both second and third row seats are folded.

The third row is large enough for smaller adults. All seats are leather covered and comfortable, a 13-speaker BOSE premium audio system powers the radio and a pair of wireless headphones allow private viewing on 8-inch screens on the upper back of the front seats for CD/DVDs. Infiniti’s navigation graphics are sharp and voice prompts timely. Addresses are manually entered, however, and not voice activated.

For the first time, the Renault-Nissan-Infiniti Alliance, which includes Mitsubishi, became the number one seller world-wide of light vehicles in 2017.

Automotive manufacturers today are forming alliances or partnerships to achieve economies of scale and cut development costs by sharing emerging technology, especially for self-driving and electric vehicles.

LIKES: Handling, ride, cargo/passenger space, mileage

DISLIKES: Options needed, no spare tire, manual input for navigation address

BOTTOM LINE: Add options for maximum enjoyment

2018 INFINITI QX60 3.5 AWD

FAST FACTS

Base price w/destination fee       $46,095 ($60,670 as                                                                tested)

Curb weight                                    4,526 pounds

Wheelbase                                   114.2 inches

Length                                          200.6 inches

Width                                          77.2 inches

Engine specs                                   3.0-liter, V-6, direct                                                                injection

Horsepower                                   295 hp at 6,400 rpm

Torque                                          270 ft-lbs at 4,800 at                                                                rpm

Transmission                                   CVT      w/manual shift option

EPA Rating                                   19 mpg city/26 mpg hwy

Range                                          19.5-gallon tank, premium                                                         recommended

Performance                                   0-60 in just over 7 seconds

 

Tom Crosby is a former journalist and communications director for AAA Carolinas. He has been reviewing cars since 1996, and has been active in traffic safety issues for more than 30 years.

 

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