2014 Infiniti QX60 Hybrid Review: Introduction
The 2014 Infiniti QX60 Hybrid is the luxury brand’s first foray into the world of battery-assisted SUVs, and in many ways it hews to the Infiniti playbook of doing things a little bit differently than many of its Japanese rivals. The QX60 Hybrid may not offer the sporty pretensions of several of its premium people moving contemporaries (held back by its comfort-oriented platform, shared with the Nissan Pathfinder and of course the gas-powered QX60), but it certainly doesn’t sacrifice forward momentum in the relentless pursuit of fuel economy, either. This is a full-size, four-cylinder SUV that drives like it’s got an extra couple of pots under the hood.
Still, a hybrid model should delivery either startlingly better performance or dramatically improved efficiency when compared to its base twin, and in both of those respects the 2014 Infiniti QX60 Hybrid comes up short. This is still a complete SUV, especially when considering the comfort features and safety gear that can be stuffed into its cabin, but it’s not necessarily the most compelling version of the QX60 money can buy.
2014 Infiniti QX60 Hybrid Review: Models and Prices
The 2014 Infiniti QX60 Hybrid comes in a single trim level, which isn't that unusual for a battery-assisted vehicle. The starting MSRP of $45,000 lands you heated leather seats, a moonroof, three zones of automatic climate control, Bluetooth connectivity, a rearview camera, keyless entry and ignition, power adjustments for both forward occupants, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a CD player, a system designed to actively cancel out exterior noise, satellite radio, a tilt and telescoping steering column, a vehicle information display, power windows and door locks, HID headlights, a power liftgate, and 18-inch rims.
Of course, Infiniti allows for the addition of all-wheel drive as well as several options packages in order to further customize the QX60h. My test vehicle came equipped with the Premium package (entry and exit assist, heated steering wheel, remote start, navigation, voice commands, upgraded stereo), the Theater package (LCD screens for second-row riders), and the Deluxe Technology package (maple wood trim, surround sound that replaces the stereo in the Premium package, cooled front seats, 20-inch rims, a different climate control system, heated second row seats, additional safety gear, and Active Trace Control). The total MSRP for the vehicle I drove for a week came to $57,350, including a mysterious $995 'Miscellaneous' fee that Infiniti has tacked onto the vehicle's Monroney.
2014 Infiniti QX60 Hybrid Review: Design
- The 2014 Infiniti QX60 Hybrid maintains the styling of the Infiniti JX from the year before.
The Infiniti QX is a ‘new’ model for 2014 in the sense that last year it was briefly named the JX before falling victim to the automaker’s decision to rebrand every single vehicle in its lineup. Visually, it wears its big-boned proportions well, offering the signature Infiniti swells at the front and the rear and featuring the now-familiar trapezoidal grille affixed to its battering ram snout. The QX60 Hybrid is no shrinking violet, and it looks stern and classy next to more truck-influenced SUVs such as the Dodge Durango or larger contenders like the Buick Enclave.
Infiniti’s deft blend of modern premium trim and trappings is in full evidence throughout the 2014 Infiniti QX60 Hybrid’s interior. Authentic-looking wood trim brightened up the dark leather upholstery that was a prominent feature of my test vehicle’s passenger compartment, which felt suitably high class when considering the SUV’s price point. Somewhat disappointing was the decision to include Nissan-sourced switchgear on the steering wheel, buttons that anyone who has piloted the Pathfinder will be able to quickly identify. Parts sharing is a necessary evil, but it’s wise to limit it in areas where buyers regularly interact with the automobile.
2014 Infiniti QX60 Hybrid Review: Comfort and Cargo
- The 2014 Infiniti QX60 Hybrid offers the same cargo and passenger space as its gas-only sibling.
The 2014 Infiniti QX60 Hybrid is a true three-row SUV, with enough leg room available at each position to accommodate up to seven adults inside its environs without forcing the driver to arbitrate a strained negotiation about who gets relegated to the very back seat. Of course, one wouldn’t want to endure a protracted road trip from the QX60 Hybrid’s third row, as it's positioned low enough to the floor to make it better suited for child-sized riders, but that’s true of almost every vehicle in its class.
The other big score with the 2014 Infiniti QX60 Hybrid is the fact that its large platform ensures plenty of space for the lithium-ion battery pack necessitated by its electric propulsion system, which means there’s no intrusion into the passenger compartment by the power pack. This allows the QX60 Hybrid to enjoy 76.5 cubic feet of cargo space, almost the same as that that of the Nissan Pathfinder and equal to what the standard QX60 have to offer, along with identical sliding second row and fold-flat seating that make it a relatively simple task to access the SUV’s spacious environs. There’s no practicality penalty to pay for choosing the hybrid Infiniti.
2014 Infiniti QX60 Hybrid Review: Features and Controls
- The 2014 Infiniti QX60 Hybrid debuts no new features.
The 2014 Infiniti QX60 Hybrid can be quite generously equipped if one dips into the options packages that are available at ordering time. Stand-out features for the QX60 Hybrid include the touchscreen interface used to access its navigation, entertainment, and communications systems, which is paired with a series of hard buttons and knobs just underneath in order to quickly change radio stations or adjust the volume of the stereo. Strangely, the Infiniti is the one vehicle I have encountered where the physical dials don’t respond as quickly as the LCD screen when attempting to scan stations.
As good as the navigation system’s interface was, its performance in finding street addresses in Montreal left much to be desired. Not only did it offer me more than a single entry for the city when searching its database – confusing enough – but none of those listed ‘Montreals’ allowed me to select streets that I knew to exist, and which in fact were displayed on the screen as I neared my destination after having plotted out a path on Google maps.
One more nitpick at the QX60 Hybrid’s ergonomics: button placement. Specifically, Nissan and Infiniti both love to crowd the lower dash left of the steering wheel with all manner of push-pads for the power tailgate, various safety systems, and of course the lights. It’s tough to see any of these controls while driving, and harder still to press them. The most egregious example of this overcrowding was found with the SUV’s seat memory controls, which were stuffed at the very front of the door panel, towards the bottom where it met the dash, making them almost completely unreachable with the door closed.
2014 Infiniti QX60 Hybrid Review: Safety and Ratings
- The 2014 Infiniti QX60 Hybrid does not add any new safety equipment compared to the previous model year QX60.
The 2014 Infiniti QX60 Hybrid comes standard with side curtain airbags, dual forward airbags, side impact airbags for front occupants, electronic traction control and stability control, and a backup camera. Where the SUV really stands out in the safety department is in its optional active systems, which include a lane departure warning system, a blind spot warning and intervention system, a collision mitigation feature that can automatically brake the Infiniti if an forward impact is deemed imminent, and a top-down camera view that is of immense benefit while parking (until, at least, the lenses are fouled by snow and road salt). There’s even a reverse collision warning and intervention system available so that you don’t accidentally back the car that has you pinned into a parallel spot on the side of the road.
2014 Infiniti QX60 Hybrid Crash Test Ratings: The QX60 Hybrid has been rated a Top Safety Pick by the IIHS after receiving a rating of ‘Good’ in each of its major crash tests. NHTSA has awarded the QX60 Hybrid (well, technically last year's near-identical JX35) with a four out of five stars for crash safety.
2014 Infiniti QX60 Hybrid Review: Engines and Fuel Economy
- The 2014 Infiniti QX60 Hybrid debuts a new battery-assisted drivetrain.
The 2014 Infiniti QX60 Hybrid counts on a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine that has been supercharged and paired with a small electric motor in order to produce a total of 250 horsepower and 243 lb-ft of torque. These are impressive figures for a four-cylinder SUV, although several of its hybrid contemporaries boast V-6 configurations that are a little more hearty. Fuel mileage for the QX60 Hybrid, which is shifted by a continuously-variable automatic transmission, is listed 26-mpg in stop and go driving and 28-mpg on the highway – a performance I was unable to duplicate during my wintry week with the vehicle. All-wheel drive can be added as an option to the front-wheel drive QX60’s build sheet.
2014 Infiniti QX60 Hybrid Review: Driving Impressions
The 2014 Infiniti QX60 Hybrid certainly doesn’t drive like it’s only packing four-cylinders. Even in Eco mode – which actively pushes the gas pedal back against your foot as if to say, ‘are you sure?’ – the large crossover does a good job of getting out of its own way. Rotate the console-mounted dial over to Standard or Sport mode and the full force of the vehicle’s 250 horses and 243 lb-ft of twist become available without the dulled throttle response of its more efficiency-focused setting. Sport also introduces ‘stepped’ shifting of the Infiniti’s CVT, which imitates the feel of a traditional automatic but doesn’t significantly alter its rate of forward progress.
While the four-cylinder hybrid setup might be quick, it’s not exactly smooth. In fact, the CVT’s willingness to peg the QX60 Hybrid’s engine near the top of the rev range at times made for noisy operation, compounded by the sound of the electric motor when reversing at low speeds as well as an unusual run-on experienced when shutting down the SUV. This behavior is counter to that of most other Infiniti models, which is part of why it stood out so much during my time behind the wheel. Indeed, when contrasted against the willingness of the Infiniti QX60 Hybrid to change direction with a grace belying its substantial size, and the yielding, comfortable nature of its ride. the Hybrid's uncouth drivetrain character stands out even more. Were there an efficiency advantage to be gained by this behavior, then perhaps it might be more forgivable, but I measured the QX60 Hybrid’s fuel efficiency to be 16-mpg in almost entirely city driving – an exact duplicate of the figure turned in by the V-6 version of the crossover that I drove the year before, and far below its EPA rating. No doubt that this figure was affected by the SUV’s refusal to shut down its idling engine in the colder weather – it was only while sitting with the heating system completely off in order to shoot a video that it finally transitioned to battery power only.
2014 Infiniti QX60 Hybrid Review: Final Thoughts
The 2014 Infiniti QX60 Hybrid is a missed opportunity by the brand’s talented engineers to make a splash on the hybrid SUV scene. The QX60 Hybrid doesn’t deliver the complete package as so many of its luxury competitors do, as its acceptable power production is handicapped by the boisterous nature of its four-cylinder engine and its mediocre fuel mileage. There’s simply no reason to purchase the Hybrid over the already excellent standard QX60, which embodies every positive aspect of the large SUVs design with the handicaps introduced by the battery-assisted drivetrain – especially since you have to pay a premium to get it.
2014 Infiniti QX60 Hybrid Review: Pros and Cons
- Attractive styling
- Roomy interior
- Strong available safety features
- Acceptable power
- Real-world fuel economy no better than gas-only QX60
- Price premium, but no benefit over standard model of SUV
- Noisy drivetrain
Nissan Canada supplied the vehicle for this review