Test Drive: 2014 Infiniti QX60 Hybrid car test drives luxury cars infiniti hybrids greenreviews
Test Drive: 2014 Infiniti QX60 Hybrid car test drives luxury cars infiniti hybrids greenreviews
Test Drive: 2014 Infiniti QX60 Hybrid car test drives luxury cars infiniti hybrids greenreviews
2014 Infiniti QX60 Hybrid. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Simon Hill

It’s tempting to say that I’ve tested the QX60 Hybrid previously, but the truth is I haven’t. This is partly because last year, when I… umm… previously tested the newly introduced QX60 it was called the JX35, and partly because the Hybrid version is itself new for 2014.

So my “Platinum Ice” silver QX60 Hybrid test car was an entirely new experience for me, even though it was in fact almost identical in its handsome appearance, seven-passenger functionality, and overall driving feel to the “Platinum Ice” silver JX35 I drove last year.

What has changed in the QX60 Hybrid is, of course, the drivetrain. Where the standard JX35… er, sorry, QX60 gets a 265-horsepower 3.5L V6 mated to a CVT transmission, the QX60 Hybrid gets a 230-hp 2.5L supercharged four-cylinder engine paired with a 15-kW electric drive motor to produce a system total of 250 hp, sent to the drive wheels via a CVT transmission. And while the standard QX60 comes with either front-wheel or all-wheel drive, Canadian QX60 Hybrids all come equipped with AWD as standard equipment.

On the road, the QX60 Hybrid doesn’t feel substantially different from its conventional sibling (or from the Nissan Pathfinder on which it is based, for that matter). While the QX60 Hybrid’s four-cylinder gas engine has both less power and a little less torque than the conventional QX60′s V6 (torque is 243 lb-ft versus 248 lb-ft for the V6), the electric motor more than compensates for this, with typical instant electric torque way down low. So the QX60 Hybrid feels at least as responsive as the V6 version, while delivering city fuel economy that’s about 30 percent better than the conventional AWD QX60 and 28 percent better than the conventional front-wheel drive QX60. The official city/highway numbers are 7.6 / 6.9 L/100 km for the Hybrid, 10.9 / 7.8 for the V6 AWD, and 10.5 / 7.6 for the V6 FWD, although as with any current Transport Canada ratings, you can expect your real-world consumption to be somewhat higher. My best result in mostly urban driving was about 12.5 L/100 km, which is roughly 25 percent better than I managed last year in the JX35.

Perhaps the primary difference in the QX60 Hybrid’s powertrain is the soundtrack it plays: at low speeds, especially when cold, the hybrid system murmurs and whooshes like the wind outside your house on a breezy night, and if you slip it into “Sport” mode and stomp on the throttle it takes off with a very precise mechanical hum rather than a V6 roar. Speaking of Sport mode I should note that, like the regular QX60, the Hybrid has a four-position driving mode selector with Sport, Standard, Eco, and Snow modes.

Test Drive: 2014 Infiniti QX60 Hybrid car test drives luxury cars infiniti hybrids greenreviews Test Drive: 2014 Infiniti QX60 Hybrid car test drives luxury cars infiniti hybrids greenreviews
2014 Infiniti QX60 Hybrid. Click image to enlarge

In Standard mode the QX60 Hybrid behaves like any other CVT-equipped vehicle, with engine revs rising and holding steady to match power demands. In sport mode the CVT imitates a conventional automatic, “kicking down” and shifting through programmed virtual gears (personally I’m not sure why you’d want to do this after dropping the extra money for an efficiency-minded hybrid, but hey, it’s fun and the supercharged four sounds good pulling through the pseudo-gears, so I guess why not?). In Eco mode the transmission and gas pedal cooperate to take an active role in promoting good driving habits, with the transmission keeping revs down and the gas pedal insistently pushing back if you delve too deeply into the throttle. It feels a little peculiar perhaps, but Infiniti claims it’s good for a five to ten percent improvement in real-world fuel economy (I probably should have used this mode more often, but instead I mostly left it in Standard mode like I suspect most owners will).

The QX60′s ride is composed and comfortable, which should help it win the hearts of its target customers, even if the resulting rather soft handling won’t win the hearts of enthusiast drivers. Braking performance is good for a 2,098 kg crossover, and I didn’t notice any of the “grabby” feel sometimes associated with regenerative brakes. Overall I found that when driven in a normal manner the QX60 Hybrid was settled and confidence-inspiring in a quiet and predictable sort of way.




About SimonHill

Simon Hill rebuilt his first engine, an air-cooled Volkswagen, at 14. He started writing professionally about cars in 2009 and is also the editor of Boat Journal magazine. He lives in Vancouver, BC.