I recently had the opportunity to drive both the compact and midsize SUVs from Infiniti, and I could see how people might cross-shop these two vehicles as a family vehicle. So, I figured it might be worth a quick 2023 Infiniti QX50 vs. QX60 comparo. Outside of the third row, there are some pretty significant differences between the two SUVs.
When you take a quick look at the 2023 Infiniti QX50 vs. QX60 specs (below), you can see there’s nearly 12 inches difference in the length between the two SUVs. This translates into a lot of extra interior space, which shows up in the front-row legroom and cargo space as well as the addition of the third row.
The QX60 gets 10 extra cubic feet of overall cargo volume, but cargo capacity behind the third row is very limited. Interestingly, the second-row passenger is the big winner in the QX50 with an extra inch of legroom.
My take: I’m not a fan of the third row in the QX60. It’ll do as a very occasional space for extra passengers, but if you truly need a third row on a regular basis, look someplace else. The headrests alone are a dealbreaker. If you can make do with a two-row SUV, the QX50 has excellent cargo space behind the second row as well as a comfy space for backseat passengers.
When I stepped behind the wheel of the 2023 Infiniti QX50, my brain screamed: What in the 1990 is this? The smaller SUV hasn’t gotten the tech overhaul that we’ve seen in other vehicles in the Infiniti lineup, and when you look at the interior of the 2023 Infiniti QX50 vs. the QX60, it looks seriously dated with its icky two-screen configuration. I didn’t like it when it first came out, and I don’t like it now. Ew.
On the other hand, in the QX60, while the infotainment screen is nice and large, it pops up over the dash – which some people don’t like – and you have to deal with HVAC controls on a glossy black touch space. I don’t know what else to call it. There aren’t buttons, just touch points on a flat surface. It’s not quite an “ew,” but I don’t love it.
The upside: Both vehicles do come with wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and wireless charging. The downside: The wireless charger overheats your phone in both vehicles.
My take: The infotainment system in both vehicles is equally bad. The QX50 system looks antiquated but has a bit of logic to it once you get used to how the two-screen system works. The QX60 system looks pretty but has a lot of taps and pages. I’m sure an owner would get used to it, but I did not in my short test.
You have two very different powertrains in the QX50 and QX60. The former has a 2.0-liter turbo-four, whereas the latter is equipped with a 3.5-liter V-6. The QX50 delivers 268 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque, whereas the QX60 makes 295 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. And, no, that’s not a typo, the turbo delivers more torque than the V-6.
Another big difference in the powertrain arena between these vehicles is the transmission. The QX60 gets an 9-speed, the QX50 still has a CVT.
My take: To me, the power is a wash. Though the QX60 gets 27 more horsepower, it’s also a bigger and heavier vehicle. The QX50 feels peppier, and its smaller size makes it more maneuverable – both on the highway and in tight city spaces. Plus, it gets better fuel economy at 25 MPG in combined driving – which I actually hit during my test period.
The deciding factor for a lot of people here might be the CVT because of its perceived unreliability – but I will point out the Nissan CVT has become a lot more reliable in recent years (ICYMI, Nissan and Infiniti are owned by the same parent company). So, don’t let that steer you clear.
Not related to power, but related to handling, there is one more thing to note: The turning radius on both vehicles is not great. I found myself making more wheel turns than usual trying to back into my tight city garage.
|2023 Infiniti QX50||2023 Infiniti QX60|
|Engine||2.0L, 4-cyl turbo||3.5L V-6|
|Max Towing (lbs)||3,500||6,000|
|Headroom (1st/2nd/3rd) (in)||41/39.1||40.8/37.5/35.7|
|Legroom (1st/2nd/3rd) (in)||39.6/38.7||42.1/37.7/28|
|Max Cargo Space (cu. ft)||65.1||75.4|
That’s actually a tougher question than I thought it would be. Both vehicles are attractively designed on the exterior and well-appointed on the interior. But I really don’t like the infotainment interface on the QX50. And I hate the third-row seats on the QX60.
However, at the end of the day, for me, I like the smaller size of the QX50, and how a vehicle drives outweighs the icky tech. Plus, if I really wanted a third-row I’d head over to the Toyota Grand Highlander or Lexus TX.
Both the QX50 and QX60 are nice vehicles. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so only you can answer the questions on if you can live with outdated tech or wonky third-row headrests – or if you shop a different brand altogether.