As if we needed more evidence that a little R&R is good for the soul, Infiniti is proving that maxim true once again with its 2022 QX60.
Having taken a sabbatical in 2021, Infiniti's three-row, six- or seven-passenger midsize luxury SUV returns in 2022 with a rubber-to-roof redesign that includes snappy new exterior styling, a sumptuously redrawn cabin and -- can you say "Hallelujah!!!"? -- a new nine-speed automatic transmission that replaces the slush-box CVT that managed the piston-pumping proceedings in the 2014-2020 model.
Available in trims of Pure, Luxe, Sensory and Autograph (who thinks up these names?), each QX60, which shares its platform with the also-new Nissan Pathfinder, can be had in front- or all-wheel drive guise. All are powered by a familiar 3.5-liter V-6 that now buttons exclusively to that new nine-speed automatic.
We drove the toniest of the lot, a six-passenger, all-wheel drive Autograph.
The styling is stylin', with QX toning down its former gaping-maw grille into a geometrically shaped opening flanked by a pair of raptor-eye headlight assemblies, all filling the rearview mirror of the driver ahead with a commanding road presence. The profile shows a floating-roof illusion, courtesy of four blackened roof pillars, above our Autograph's hey-look-at-me 20-inch wheels. In back, wide hips and a sculpted liftgate conclude the proceedings.
Not that everyone will be seeing the rump. This new QX60 rides like a dream and handles confidently, but it's not the fastest guy on the block.
Oh, acceleration isn't embarrassing -- we greeted 60 mph in about 7 seconds -- but this is no hot rod. Off the line, it feels like the big SUV it is, even as it offers drive-mode choices of Personal (saved settings), Sport (a kewpie doll to anyone who can tell much difference from Auto), Auto (the vehicle's choice) and Eco (best mpg).
In 120 miles of mixed city/hwy driving -- more city than hwy -- we realized 21 mpg.
Inside, the decor in our Autograph was plush enough to make a rock star blush: a two-tone ambience -- black and saddle-brown -- with piano-black accents, satin metal cues and dark wood on doors and dash. Admittedly, a couple of passengers thought the diamond stitching on the dashboard was a bit much -- the tasteless cads! -- but your humble correspondent liked it. (Then again, I remain baffled as to why bell-bottoms went out of style.)
Room is great up front in what Infiniti calls its "zero-gravity" front seats. We're still not sure what that means, but the front buckets are undeniably comfortable, supportive and well-bolstered.
In our six-passenger Autograph, we had twin heated captain's chairs in the middle row and, again, found them comfortable, with plenty of room overhead and much-appreciated leg room.
The two-passenger, power-folding and raising, 60/40-split third row is doable for average-stature adults, provided middle-row passengers cut them a leg-room break by scooting up a bit. Access past the tilt-and-scoot middle-row chairs into that third row, however, requires the flexibility of a teenage gymnast.
Cargo room behind the third row is stingy -- 14 cubes -- but the cargo bay becomes quite usable with the third row folded. If you need to bring along a lot more cargo room, no worries: QX60 will tow up to three tons!
The all-important infotainment stuff, including a 12.3-inch touch screen, is up-to-the-minute with its wireless phone charging and Apple Car Play and Android Auto compatibility, but the screen is not the easiest to navigate. There's a learning curve, which, once completed, makes things OK. And, happily, the system provides a radio volume knob but, alas, no tuning knob.
All things considered, it appears Infiniti now has a real player in a category that also hosts the likes of the Lincoln Aviator, Mercedes GLE and BMW X5.