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First Drive: 2017 Infiniti QX30 and 2016 QX60

A Tale of Two QXs: Infiniti Doubles Down on Crossover Strategy

Sue Mead
Oct 13, 2016
Photographers: Courtesy of Infiniti

The 2017 Infiniti QX30: The Diminutive Premium Player With a Big Mission

When you arrive at Washington State’s Seattle-Tacoma airport, you immediately become aware that you’re in an international city, as all communications are broadcast in both English and Japanese.
This global, outdoorsy, and active metropolis made it a perfect location for the first drive of the ’17 Infiniti QX30, an all-new premium compact utility vehicle that will appeal to buyers who fit the demographics and lifestyles of Seattleites. It has an international passport: Infiniti is the luxury division of Renault-Nissan, the alliance of French and Japanese auto manufacturers. Added to that, the new crossover is built at a factory in the UK along with other Nissan vehicles, and it shares lineage with the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class. It also shares the GLA’s 2.0L turbocharged engine. However, its exterior and interior styling and mechanical tuning come at the hand of Infiniti designers and engineers to give it a somewhat unique footprint in the market. Plus, the company wants to make sure the QX30 speaks fluent Infiniti.
Photo 2/66   |   2017 Infinity Qx30 First Drive 4
We drove both the Sport and AWD versions of the QX30 throughout a day of motoring along the freeways and two-lanes of the Puget Sound region, where seaside roadways snake through coastal villages and small towns are tucked into a landscape of rolling hills dotted with swaths of evergreen forests. We concentrated our review on the all-wheel-drive version—it is front-biased but can send up to 50 percent of its power to the rear with seamless, “intelligent” AWD. Infiniti has tweaked the front MacPherson/rear multilink suspension set up for a smart balance of handling and comfort. Although, Infiniti-tuned, the electronic power steering carves corners in a manner that feels slightly German. Although the Sport is more torquey when pushing the throttle and when motivating it through the gears with the paddles, the AWD moves quickly and confidently, with a goal of sure-footed traction.
Photo 3/66   |   2017 Infinity Qx30 First Drive 23
Sport models get an 85 percent stiffer rear roll bar, stiffer spring rates, sport-tuned steering and get a 10-speaker Bose audio system. They are distinguished with unique front and rear lower fascias, body-color side sill panels, gloss-black grille, black outside mirror housings, dark-chrome exhaust finishers, aluminum pedal finishers, unique 19-inch alloy wheels with 235/45R19 summer run-flats, Infiniti-branded brake calipers, cross-drilled front brake rotors, and a flat-bottomed steering wheel. Living up to the “premium” label are eight-way power sports seats with an integrated headrest, four-way power lumbar, leatherette and Dinamica seating surfaces, and memory settings for seats and mirrors.
Photo 4/66   |   2017 Infinity Qx30 First Drive 32
Although we enjoy zippy motoring, our choice would be the AWD that has slightly rugged looks with its 8 inches of ground clearance, modest underbody plating, roof rails, and 3 percent stiffer roll bar over the base version. It stays flat in the corners, with good brakes that have a good pedal feel. The Premium AWD has its own unique front and rear lower fascias and sills, extended overfenders, roof rails, 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels with 235/50-series all-season rubber beneath. Also onboard was a collection of goodies like a universal garage door opener, rain-sensing wipers, heated washers, LED fog lamps, chrome trunk finisher, and aluminum kick plates.
Our only complaint was the roominess and access to the rear seat. It would serve two better than three passengers and has a low roofline, plus the ingress and egress to the back requires some maneuvering for taller riders. The cargo area is small but what you would expect for a vehicle of its size. Its best features? It’s a premium looker with a mannered ride, and it’s easy to pilot in urban environs!
Photo 5/66   |   2017 Infinity Qx30 First Drive 2
2017 Infiniti QX30
Vehicle type: Two-row, five-passenger premium SUV
Base price: $39,450
Price as tested: $42,750
Engine: 2.0L I-4, turbocharged and intercooled
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch automatic
Horsepower: 208 @ 5,500 rpm
Torque: 258 lb-ft @ 1,200 rpm
Curb weight: 3,250 ;bs
Towing capacity:
EPA mileage rating: 24 city/33 hwy (FWD); 21 city/30 hwy (AWD)

Photo 41/66   |   2016 Infinity Qx60 First Drive

The 2016 Infiniti QX60: Updates Bring More Style, Safety, and Technology

Five years ago, Infiniti had three vehicles in its US lineup. Today, it has nine models in that portfolio, with three hybrid variants. We recently drove the updated QX60 seven-passenger SUV that slots in the one of the most competitive segments of the automotive market. What makes it stand out from the crowd and a sea of sameness? Our goal was to drive it and learn the answer.
Launched in the U.S. in 2012 as the Infiniti JX, the midsize premium crossover is Infiniti’s first vehicle to be 100 percent built in America. Rechristened the QX60 for the ’14 model year to align with the brand’s updated naming system, it gets a mid-cycle refresh for the ’16 model year to better compete against the Acura MDX, Audi Q7, Volvo XC90, and BMW X5, among others. You’ll notice new exterior design cues, novel interior luxury touches, retuned chassis dynamics, and a comprehensive suite of comfort, convenience, and safety technologies that benefit from upgrades.
Photo 42/66   |   2016 Infinity Qx60 First Drive 1
Outside, the QX60's revised form accentuates its looks that are an appealing blend of power and elegance with familiar signature brand features like Infiniti's double-wave hood and crescent-cut D-pillar. The interior has an ambiance of elegance and fine craftsmanship with thin chrome accents, uplevel soft-touch materials, and standard leather seating trim with contrast stitching.
Photo 43/66   |   2016 Infinity Qx60 First Drive 4
Available in both front- and all-wheel-drive versions, the performance-engineered crossover is offered with a choice of two powerful and efficient powertrains. Standard is a 3.5L V-6 gasoline engine that makes 265 hp at 6,400 rpm with peak torque of 248 lb-ft at 4,400 rpm. Optional is a hybrid powertrain with a supercharged 2.5L inline-four-cylinder engine that is paired with an electric motor powered by a compact lithium-ion battery pack to produce a total of 250 hp and 243 lb-ft of torque. Both are mated to a sport-tuned, electronically controlled continuously variable transmission (CVT) featuring Infiniti's D-Step transmission logic that adjusts the shift feel of the CVT to mimic the shift patterns of a more traditional step transmission.
Safeguarding occupants is a top priority, with several advanced safety technologies now available through revised options packages, including a comprehensive predictive forward collision system with emergency braking and pedestrian detection. This technology watches the vehicle in front and tracks vehicle speeds to detect and help prevent or mitigate a collision. The company’s Around View Monitor with moving object detection uses four wide-angle lenses mounted around the vehicle to provide a bird’s-eye view on the center console for a clear picture of nearby hazards during low-speed maneuvers. Backup collision intervention alerts the driver to crossing vehicles and other large stationary objects behind the vehicle when moving in reverse; if necessary, the system will automatically brake to help avoid or mitigate a collision.
Photo 44/66   |   2016 Infinity Qx60 First Drive 13
We drove the new model over a course of 125 miles in the San Antonio, Texas, area. Notable is its quiet, luxury-appointed cabin, high level of technology and communications features, and more responsive ride and handling. Improved driving dynamics come as a result of modifications to steering dampers and a new steering rack, altered spring rates, bolstering to the body structure, and new tire compounds. Of note is the QX60’s car-like ride in corners that speaks to the engineering revisions that reduced the roll angle by 10 percent. Also notable is the impressive number and scope of the options packages for the QX60 that bring uplevel technology and equipment as well as even more elegant trims.
Photo 45/66   |   2016 Infinity Qx60 First Drive 3
2016 Infiniti QX60
Vehicle type: Three-row, seven-passenger, midsize premium SUV
Base price: $42,600
Price as tested: N/A
Engine: 3.5L V-6; Supercharged 2.5L I-4 hybrid
Transmission: CVT with D-Step logic
Horsepower: 265 @ 6,400 rpm (V-6) / 250 combined (hybrid gas/electric)
Torque: 248 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm (V-6) / 243 lb-ft combined (hybrid gas/electric)
Curb weight: 4,385 to 4,524 lbs
Towing capacity:
EPA mileage rating: 21 city/27 hwy (FWD); 19 city/27 hwy (AWD); 26 city/28 hwy (Hybrid FWD); 25 city/28 hwy (Hybrid AWD)

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