Test Drive

These Are The 5 Differences We Found Between An Infiniti QX60 And Nissan Pathfinder

The two are separated by a $13,560 gulf, but the both are nearly identical.

There is one major issue we encountered when the Infiniti QX60 pulled up to our door. Namely, it was the fact that aside from some minor exterior and interior restyling, it’s identical to the Nissan Pathfinder we tested drove only a few weeks earlier in almost every way. It’s so similar in fact, sharing an identical drivetrain, features, and overall feel, that we decided to pick out five of the few differences we could identify between the two.

1) The most obvious difference between the two cars is the exterior body style. Both are bulbous creatures, with the Pathfinder retaining more of a minivan shape and the QX60 sharing its silhouette with a large fish, but the latter of the two is certainly the most blinged out. If you can get past the taller parts of the side when seeing it from an elevation view, which is what gives it its fish-like appearance, the short front overhang and trailing rear end give it the stance of a chariot, albeit one that’s too rounded from gorging on too much sheetmetal. Unlike the Pathfinder, new lines haven't been chiseled into the body to give the QX60 a more masculine look, though the large grille does give it presence.

2) The smooth quiet ambiance that we got used to in the Nissan is still present in the QX60, which is to be expected, and though the circular air vents show that interior decor is hardly changed in the upscale Infiniti-badged Pathfinder, a few notable differences are still present. Most apparent is the dashboard, which cloaks the Nissan infotainment system, climate control knobs, and multimedia system with more chrome and fake wood. Unfortunately for luxury-seekers, that’s about it. The steering wheel, front, and rear outboard seats are still heated, just like in the Pathfinder, the front seats are cooled, surfaces not covered in plastic colored to look like wood or metal are made of leather, and a panoramic roof still dominates the interior skyline.

3) To truly cement the feel of luxury, a car must exhibit the characteristic of having more than enough of everything, especially power. That's especially true when it’s equipped with a CVT transmission because there aren’t many things in this world less sexy than the droning sound of an engine that’s struggling to get up a hill. The 3.5-liter V6 in both the Nissan and Infiniti makes only 284 horsepower and 259 lb-ft of torque inside the Pathfinder. In the QX60, that’s been tweaked to 295 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque. It doesn’t make a night and day difference, especially since the CVT and V6 combo still has to find a happy medium past the 3,000 RPM mark for full acceleration to come online, but marginal improvement is still improvement.

4) One of the few notable differences found in the interior of the QX60 is a drive mode selector. Out tester was a front-wheel drive model, a direct contrast to the four-wheel drive Platinum spec Pathfinder Nissan sent us, but Infiniti throws in a selector that can switch between Snow, Eco, Standard, and Sport modes. Aside from that, only a $2,150 Theater Package, which adds two 8-inch monitors to the rear of the front seat headrests for rear-seat passenger viewing pleasure, separates the two cars. Like on an old episode of Pimp My Ride, the screens and wireless headphones embedded in the seat pockets add an upscale air to the QX60, but they are also available on the Pathfinder for only $1,700.

5) And that brings us to the price, because the difference in cost for a similar package on either car reflects a pricing philosophy that Nissan and Infiniti use. In our eyes, it’s impractical. Our fully-loaded four-wheel drive Pathfinder Platinum, which had all of the QX60’s toys including radar-based cruise control but excluded lane departure warning and the rear-seat entertainment, cost $44,685. Meanwhile the front-wheel drive Infiniti QX60 came in at $58,245. That’s a difference of $13,560 for a luxury SUV that comes with only a smidgen of extra features and scrubbed of its ability to traverse bad terrain. Unless a badge really means that much to you, get the Pathfinder Platinum and invest the extra money into the kid's college fund.

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