It's no secret that manufacturers use the same platforms, engines and large components in multiple vehicles, even though some cost more than others.
The trick is making the costlier ones worth the extra money. General Motors failed to do this in the past, hastening the demise of its Oldsmobile and Pontiac brands. Ford has been chided for not making its current Lincoln lineup different enough than the lower cost models they are based on, even though they feel much more refined on the road.
One company that can't be accused of not doing enough is Nissan, which has worked wonders with its upscale Infiniti brands. The 2018 QX60 crossover SUV is a good example. Although based on the redesigned Nissan Pathfinder that debuted in 2017, the new QX60 looks and drives like the genuine luxury vehicle that it is.
Although the Pathfinder is a perfectly fine affordable family vehicle, the QX60 is so different that most people would never guess the two are so closely related. Like all Infiniti models, the QX60 is so quiet, comfortable and powerful, it seems to be in a class of its own.
Although it has ample interior room and three rows of seats, the QX60 is not just another boxy crossover. It looks more like a large but sleek wagon, especially towards the rear, where the roofline drops slightly and tapers into a subtle rear spoiler. The front end is blunt enough to the QX60 a purposeful look, however.
Inside, our test model pampered us with high quality materials, including plush leather and wood trim. The dash featured a retro-style center stack entruded slightly forward, a welcome departure from the flat surfaces found in many vehicles these days. The 7-inch display screen controlled most audio, climate and navigation functions smoothly, helping to maintain the sense of composure.
On the road, the 2018 QX60 felt surprisingly nimble, considering that it weighs over two tons. Being built on a crossover chassis instead of a truck frame undoubtedly helps, but the Infinity engineers have also done wonders with the suspension and steering. And that was true, even though our test model was equipped with the optional all-wheel-drive system that increases traction.
Unlike some luxury crossovers, the XQ60 has only drivetrain — a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 295 horsepower mated to a Continuously Variable Transmission. While that doesn't sound very impessive on paper, it works just fine in the real world, especially when set in the Sport mode that increases acceleration. A snow mode is also available for the family that likes to ski.
A well-equppied front-wheel-drive QX60 starts at $43,300. Various option packages that add desirable features like a super stereo and multiple safety systems can push the price to over $60,000, which is still in line with many competitors that don't drive as well.
2018 Infiniti QX60
Base price: $43,300
Price as tested: TBD
Style: Midsize crossover SUV
Engine: 3.5-liter V6 (295 hp; 270 lbs-ft)
Transmission: Continuously Variable
EPA fuel economy: 20/27 mpg
Length: 200.6 inches
Weight: 4,390 pounds
Final assembly point: Smyrna , Tennessee