Professional house flippers know exactly what needs changing to transform a property from meh to must-have: A fresh color scheme, updated appliances and new landscaping can take a home from stale to sold before the paint's even dry. For 2022, Infiniti employed the same strategy with its bestselling QX60 nameplate. Even though it has the same basic underpinnings and engine as before, this three-row luxury SUV gains dramatic new styling, a much-improved interior and better tech -- important changes that should help it compete with rivals that have pulled ahead in recent years.
Dovetailing nicely with other Infiniti models, this new SUV looks appropriately upscale, nearly a carbon copy of the brand's QX60 Monograph concept that was unveiled last year. With a prominent grille, leering headlamps and an elegant rear end, it's both more distinctive than its predecessor and does a better job hiding its Nissan bones. In profile, the 2022 QX60 looks shockingly similar to the Lincoln Aviator, with a subtly tapering roofline and blacked-out pillars. Even the brightwork surrounding the side glass could have been purloined from that similarly sized Lincoln SUV.
Peer through a window or pop inside and you'll immediately notice this Infiniti's cabin is completely new. The dashboard is far more sculptural and upscale than before. This top-shelf Autograph model also features an abundance of semi-aniline leather ginned up with a beautiful diamond-stitched pattern. Black, open-pore ash wood accents add a bit of contrast, but are so dark they look like embossed plastic. Pity.
Making things look more high-tech, most of the climate controls are touch-sensitive switches, though there are physical dials for temperature and audio volume. Oftentimes, touch controls have serious usability issues, but Infiniti's done a commendable job here: The buttons are responsive and provide haptic feedback so you know when the vehicle's registered your requests.
Further sprucing things up, a crisp and colorful 12.3-inch touchscreen is standard across the model range. A digital instrument cluster of the same size is also included on all but the most basic trim level. The easy-to-reach central display is home to an infotainment system that looks a little dated (and a bit too Nissan) but is supremely responsive and simple to use. While it's not the prettiest thing you'll swipe and poke at, it's worlds ahead of what came in the outgoing QX60, so there's little to complain about. You can even interact with it via a control dial and associated physical buttons on the center console. Wireless Apple CarPlay is supported, too, as is Android Auto, though you will need a cable if you're on team Google.
All QX60s come with rain-sensing windshield wipers, at least six USB ports, blind-spot monitoring and lane-departure warning with a buzzing haptic steering wheel. Self-leveling adaptive LED headlamps with automatic high beams are standard fare on Autograph models. A 17-speaker Bose sound system, handy 10.8-inch head-up display, wireless charging pad and a super-crisp rearview camera mirror are included on this top-shelf trim, as well.
For all its improvements, the QX60's cabin falls short in several areas, including comfort. The front seats are, for the most part, well contoured; in the Autograph model they come with heating, ventilation and massage functionality. Unfortunately, there's a small ridge running across the upper portion of the backrest that, after a few hours behind the wheel, feels like it's pushing your whole torso forward. Passengers also commented on the restrictive front footwell.
The QX60 comes standard with room for seven, and the Autograph model features heated second-row captain's chairs for a more premium feel. However, these seats are startlingly unpleasant and sit awkwardly high above the floor. The too-firm bottom cushions make it feel like you're perched on a hard-plastic booster seat, which is not conducive to long-distance comfort. As for the third row, it's not bad: Like competing vehicles, it's a little tight on head and leg space for adult passengers, but it's hospitable enough. Accessing this space is super easy because the second-row buckets smoothly lift up and slide forward at the push of a button, leaving a very wide pathway to the third row.
The 2022 Infiniti QX60 offers class-competitive amounts of cargo space, 14.5 cubic feet behind the rearmost seat. Fold the split backrest down, which you do by pulling a couple levers, and that figure grows to 41.6 cubes. All in, this vehicle offers 75.4 cubic feet of luggage space, figures comparable to an Acura MDX or Lincoln Aviator.
For years, Nissan's VQ family was the gold standard in V6 engines. In today's downsized, turbocharged world, these powerplants are aging gracefully, even if they're showing a few gray hairs. The only engine offered in the QX60 is a familiar VQ35DD 3.5-liter V6, the same as before. Fill the tank with premium unleaded and this smooth-running engine delivers a respectable 295 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque, enough to move this three-row SUV with reasonable ferocity, but don't expect immediate turbocharged responsiveness. This old-school engine revs to make power, really coming alive from about 3,500 rpm on up.
An equally familiar -- and infamous -- ZF-sourced nine-speed automatic gearbox replaces the previous-generation QX60's continuously variable transmission, routing torque to either the front or all four wheels. With so many ratios, this gearbox makes the most of the QX60's available horses while minimizing fuel burn. After more than 600 miles of mostly interstate driving on a trip to northern Michigan for a long weekend with friends, this drivetrain returned 25.8 mpg, better than this vehicle's highway score of 25 mpg. Around town, all-wheel-drive QX60s are rated at 20 mpg and combined they should return 22. Front-drive examples eek out one additional mpg on each driving cycle.
That nine-speed transmission certainly helps deliver impressive real-world efficiency, but it's not the smoothest or most responsive gearbox around. Shifts are occasionally clunky and it can feel a bit indecisive, annoyingly reluctant to downshift when acceleration is required. Unfortunately, these complaints are hardly exclusive to Infiniti. A bevy of other automakers use this transmission, from Acura and Honda to Chrysler, Jaguar and Jeep.
When properly equipped, the QX60 can tow a braked trailer that weighs up to an impressive 6,000 pounds. That's 1,000 more than an Acura MDX can handle and it eclipses the Cadillac XT6's maximum trailering capacity by a literal ton.
It's unfortunate, like other elements of this SUV, but the QX60 is unremarkable to drive. The steering has decent, though the vehicle's front and rear ends feel totally out of sync. You have to make small corrections while going through corners because this Infiniti doesn't follow your intended line. The ride isn't very luxurious, either, as the large wheels tend to clop over roadway imperfections, transmitting quite a bit of harshness to the cabin. The Hankook 255/50R20 all-season tires are probably a bit too starchy for their own good. At least the interior is extremely quiet, even at highway speeds.
Nissan and Infiniti's pioneering ProPilot Assist adaptive cruise control system with lane centering is standard on the top three trim levels. And while this driver aid is still a tremendous asset, making long trips dramatically less stressful, competing systems from other automakers are better. ProPilot Assist will occasionally tug at the steering wheel, and sometimes it doesn't keep the QX60 centered in the lane as well as it should. Also, it sporadically charges at stopped vehicles and occasionally freaks out when a new lane opens up and the lines shift.
The 2022 Infiniti QX60 is available in four flavors: Pure, Luxe, Sensory and Autograph. The base model with front-wheel drive starts at a not-at-all-unreasonable $47,875, including $1,025 in delivery fees. As it sits, the top-shelf Autograph example evaluated here checks out for $63,945, a figure that includes one solitary option: $695 for premium moonbow blue paint paired with a black roof.
A big step forward, the redesigned QX60 still trails the competition in some important ways. Sure, it's fetching on the outside and that expressively designed interior looks great, but this luxury SUV is nowhere near as comfortable as it should be, the tech could be improved and it's pretty ho-hum to drive. Infiniti dramatically improved this popular nameplate, but not as much as it should have.