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Infiniti SUV: Luxury in seven seats

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 20, 2014 at 12:45 pm •  Published: August 20, 2014

          Families who need a vehicle with three rows of seats have a new, roomy and plush sport utility choice this year that's high in government fuel economy ratings.

Infiniti's 2014 QX60 Hybrid SUV, which is a gasoline-electric hybrid that's more than 16 feet in overall length, is rated by the federal government at 26 miles per gallon in combined city/highway travel. This is the same combined fuel economy rating as the smaller, 2014 Honda CR-V and 2014 Toyota RAV4 SUVs that have only two rows of seats.

Indeed, the city/highway fuel economy rating for the seven-passenger QX60 Hybrid is the second best mileage among all 2014 SUVs with three rows of seats. Only the smaller 2014 Toyota Highlander Hybrid, which has less second- and third-row legroom, has a higher combined fuel economy rating — 28 mpg.

But the test QX60, driven a majority of the time on city streets, fell short of the government's combined city/highway estimate of 26 mpg.

Still, the well-appointed, 2014 QX60 Hybrid received an overall, five out of five stars in federal government crash tests.        

And the non-hybrid QX60 is a recommended buy of Consumer Reports magazine, where reliability is shown as average. The hybrid version of QX60, introduced for 2014, is too new to rate reliability.

Starting manufacturer's suggested retail price, including destination charge, for a base, front-wheel drive, 2014 QX60 Hybrid with supercharged, 2.5-liter four cylinder mated to an electric motor and lithium ion battery pack is $46,095.

This starting price is $3,000 more than the starting retail price for a non-hybrid, front-wheel drive 2014 QX60 SUV that's powered by a 3.5-liter, gasoline V-6. The combined city/highway government fuel economy rating for a non-hybrid, front-wheel drive, 2014 QX60 is 22 mpg. 

Meantime, the all-wheel drive, 2014 QX60 Hybrid has a starting MSRP, including destination charge, of $47,495. This price, too, is just $3,000 above the starting retail price for a non-hybrid, all-wheel drive, 2014 QX60.

Competitors include the few gasoline-electric hybrid SUVs with three rows of seats. But the QX60 has a niche, because it wears a luxury brand name. Infiniti is the luxury brand of Japanese carmaker Nissan Motor Co., and standard features on every QX60 Hybrid include leather-trimmed seats, three-zone, automatic climate control, power moonroof, heated front seats, rearview camera and power rear liftgate.

Additionally, safety technologies are available as extras on the QX60 Hybrid that are not offered on some other three-row, hybrid SUVs. This includes backup collision intervention that automatically can stop the SUV if sensors detect the vehicle is backing up into an obstacle, such as a car or a child. The QX60 Hybrid also can add a blind spot monitoring system that not only alerts a driver that another car is adjacent in the SUV's blind spot but can intervene to try to keep the QX60 from moving into the adjacent vehicle.

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