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Why you should buy a Volvo or an Audi instead of the 2019 Infiniti QX60

Key Points
  • As Infiniti's premium three-row crossover, the QX60 offers a ton of space and a long equipment list.
  • Unfortunately, it feels utterly pedestrian and unfitting of its $65,930 price tag.
  • Even among mainstream crossovers, it’s a mid-pack performer. Among high-tier competition from Audi and Volvo, though, it looks seriously weak.
2019 Infiniti QX60
Mack Hogan | CNBC

Infiniti is often forgotten in the luxury market. Created by Nissan as the Japanese company's premium brand, it plays in the near-luxury space alongside Acura and Buick. One of its most important products is the QX60.

For the many who aren't familiar with Infiniti parlance, the QX60 is the company's three-row crossover that slots between the gargantuan QX80 and the all-new QX50. It's a family crossover aimed squarely at segment stalwarts like the Acura MDX.

There's one problem, though: It doesn't feel like a proper luxury product.

The Good
2019 Infiniti QX60
Mack Hogan | CNBC

As first impressions go, the QX60 isn't bad. Despite being the sort of massive crossover that American families crave, it still manages to look svelte. Some credit must go to the combination of gun-metal gray accents and lovely deep Bordeaux paint fitted to $65,930 Luxe model I tried.

I was impressed by creamy leather that's quilted to look more upscale. The breeziness of the cabin is magnified by a light wood trim and moon roofs stretching to the third row, helping the QX60 to feel bigger than it actually is. An accomplishment for sure, as the QX60 is no small beast.

2019 Infiniti QX60
Mack Hogan | CNBC

The third row is suitable for seating adults, while still offering a reasonable 16 cubic feet of cargo space behind the back row. It's also easy to move about the cabin, with seats that fold without any hassle and create large passageways for the kids to pile through.

2019 Infiniti QX60
Mack Hogan | CNBC

Finally, it's hard to complain about the on-board equipment. My tester had rear-seat entertainment, a Bose stereo, heated and cooled front seats, heated second-row seats, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, a surround-view camera and the aforementioned surplus of moon roofs. In a three-row luxury crossover, that's not a negligible list of kit for $65,930.

The Bad
2019 Infiniti QX60
Mack Hogan | CNBC

But you can put all the kit you like on a luxury crossover and still get nowhere; it has to feel like a premium product. And the QX60 simply doesn't.

Part of the blame has to be assigned to the working-class roots of the QX60. Underneath, it shares most of its architecture with the Nissan Pathfinder. Plus, we haven't seen an all-new model in over five years.

Neither of those factors is disqualifying in and of themselves. Lexus cars often share bits with Toyota but still manage to feel luxurious, for instance. But the QX60 certainly doesn't. See, offerings from the newest generation of three-row family haulers manage to shrink around you. Buyers don't want to feel like they're commanding a battleship when they're parking outside of Target.

2019 Infiniti QX60
Mack Hogan | CNBC

Yet the QX60 hearkens back to that era. Pulling it into my garage felt like steering a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier through the Panama Canal. On the freeway, it's ponderous and floaty with no discernible connection between the steering wheel and the front wheels of the vehicle. Yes, it's quiet and comfortable, but so are the three-row haulers from Toyota, Mazda, Chevy and even Nissan.

If you're thinking that the tech justifies the price, I'm afraid that isn't the case. While active safety features are on board, they aren't as advanced as the ones on Nissan's Rogue, an SUV that is a full class below the QX60 and doesn't even make an attempt at being a luxury SUV.

2019 Infiniti QX60
Mack Hogan | CNBC

You're also getting a navigation system that was designed during the Bronze Age and that's flanked with acres of gray plastic that has no place in a $65,000 SUV.

As for the powertrain, it's an utterly forgettable combination of Nissan's 3.5-liter V-6 with the company's standard Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). If there's any life in this engine, the CVT sucks it out.

Final Thoughts
2019 Infiniti QX60
Mack Hogan | CNBC

If you've never driven an honest-to-goodness luxury car, the QX60 probably feels nice. You could probably buy one and be entirely satisfied. But some day, your friend is going to offer you a ride in their new Volvo XC90 or Audi Q7. And when you find out that you could have had one for the same price as your Infiniti, you'll never enjoy it again.

In sum, the QX60 doesn't feel any more special than your run-of-the-mill Highlander, CX-9, Pilot or Durango. In some ways — like in the infotainment department — it's far behind even those choices.

Infiniti, though, charges a luxury price for a definitively mainstream crossover. I suggest you look elsewhere.

Rating:

Exterior: 4

Interior: 2

Driving Experience: 1

Value: 1

Overall: 2

Price as tested: $65,930