While Nissan and luxury division Infiniti have never enjoyed the hybrid hype of Toyota or Honda, they’ve been in the gas-electric game for quite a few years now. We’ve especially enjoyed the seamless hybrid technology in their Infiniti sedans. Well now that’s been expanded into a crossover with the QX60 Hybrid. When we knew this three-row design as the JX, it was our drivers’ choice in luxury crossovers. So let’s see if this new combination of favorites makes for a new favorite for us!
The 2014 Infiniti QX60 Hybrid may be the luxury brand’s first hybrid crossover utility, but if you’ve kept up with us, this QX, formerly known as the JX, is based on the Nissan Pathfinder. And sharing the Pathfinder Hybrid’s hardware also means that much like it, the QX60 doesn’t overly scream eco when you get in it, and there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of an unusual assist feeling while driving.
It’s a very well integrated system and you can’t argue with Government Fuel Economy Ratings of 25-City, 28-Highway, and 26–Combined. That’s impressive for a three row all-wheel-drive ute of this size, and our 27.8 mile-per-gallon average of Regular is a 22% increase over the V6 gasoline powered Pathfinder that we had as a long-term test vehicle. The Energy Impact Score also comes on strong with annual 12.7-barrels of oil use and 5.4 tons of CO2 emissions.
Unlike previous 6-cylinder based hybrids from Infiniti, this hybrid mates a 2.5-liter supercharged I4 engine with a 15kW electric motor to produce 250-horsepower and 243 lb-ft. of torque. Compared to the standard QX, towing capacity falls from 5,000 to 3,500 lbs. A small 0.6 kWh Lithium-ion battery pack stores energy under the rear load floor and takes up so little space, that there’s still room left over for subwoofer.
Fuel economy numbers aren’t quite as good as those in the Toyota Highlander Hybrid, which has a more complex electric drive system. But unlike the all-wheel-drive only Highlander Hybrid, the QX60 Hybrid is available in all or front-wheel-drive. When cruising around town, the stopping and starting of the gas engine is very smooth, quiet, and unobtrusive. Though we found throttle to be a tad laggy, and CVTs are almost always a killjoy.
An unfortunate automotive paradigm is that the larger you make a vehicle, the harder it is to make it appealing looking. But the QX60 bucks that trend as it is a very handsome vehicle, with no visual changes to the hybrid that would cause us to change our minds.
The front end is large and very intimidating looking in a rear view mirrors, but blends in just fine with the long hood and pronounced front fenders. 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels are standard, 20’s are optional. But, while the exterior remains fresh looking, things inside are quickly approaching their “best by” date. Yet it remains a very quiet, comfortable people mover with plenty of room for 7.
The standard leather front seats are very plush yet supportive, and the light colors of our tester made for a pleasant, relaxing environment. Highly feng shui. We like that the central controller is located up on the dash not down on the center console. It feels a little odd at first, but it’s a much better location allowing you to keep your eyes more on the road while using it. On the console, you will find the Infiniti Drive Mode Selector very logically placed; and with it settings for Standard, Sport, Eco, and Snow. 2nd row seats are flat and a little hard, but there’s good room all around; and access to the 3rd row is about the best in the business. A rear power lift-gate is standard.
On the street, performance is plentiful for most. But at our test track we were greeted with the typical underwhelming performance of a large hybrid. There’s not much low end grunt for getting off the line, thus our lengthy stroll to 60 of 8.4-seconds. But there is some decent power up higher in the rev band.
The CVT does it’s best to convince you that it’s a real automatic, but it’s no sale here, as you scream your way down to the end of the ¼ mile in 16.7–seconds at 87 miles-per-hour. Braking performance was good, with a nice firm pedal and stops from 60 that averaged 128-feet.
The brakes were also highly active through our slalom course, where just about any aggressive maneuvering resulted in the stability control system triggering the stoppers, resulting in some awkward nose diving moments mid corner. Not much fun, but very safe and you’re not going to get into much trouble on the street. Steering feel is light with a typical “electric-y” disconnected manner.
As for pricing, hybrid parts add a reasonable $3,000 to the QX60’s base price of $43,095. All-wheel-drive can be added for just 14-hundred dollars more.
Much like some other hybrids to recently hit the market, the 2014 Infiniti QX60 Hybrid doesn’t offer amazing or ground breaking fuel economy. It’s just a well-designed, virtually seamless, elegantly applied mileage boost. And it has made one of our favorite luxury crossovers impressively better.
Torque: 243 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 8.4 seconds
1/4 mile: 16.7 seconds @ 87 mph
EPA: 25 mpg city/ 28 mpg highway
Energy Impact: 12.7 barrels of oil/yr
CO2 Emissions: 5.4 tons/yr