July 27th, 2018 by

Let me start out by admitting one of my greatest shames, one of my most lingering and loudening regrets: I purchased my last vehicle without much research.

I know what you’re saying, I hear you-I really do. But, at the time, I needed a new 7-seater SUV that ticked a few basic boxes. I wanted something reliable, something I’d heard of before, something with the luxury I think I’ve earned after all these years but also something capable of carrying me, my wife, my two sons, and my young daughter safely and comfortably.

It had to have room for us and all the bats, balls, helmets, and cleats we seem to haul along just about everywhere we go. A couple more seats meant I could give the kids’ friends a ride to the ballpark now and then too, which never hurts to do. It’s all about the team effort, after all.

I ended up with an Acura MDX. “It’s a safe bet,” I said to myself. “Everyone knows Acura.” So I jumped the shark and traded in the old, crusty SUV I’d been tolerating for a flashy, new 7-seater. At the time, that rare but decisive action made me feel like I’d grown a few inches around the chest. I made a quick and necessary choice and got it right, I thought. My old man would be proud.

Soon enough (and predictably) that snap-judgement started crumbling. Talking to other moms and dads in the lot after practice some nights, I realized something crucial. At first, it was easy to spot my MDX among the other SUVs and trucks. “I’m a trailblazer,” I said to myself, whipping out my keys and hiking toward the new vehicle with the tribe in-tow.

But after talking to my practice-lot peers, I realized my MDX was easy to find because the other parents had done their research and reached an entirely separate conclusion.

Fast forward a little while and everyone’s a little bigger, myself included. On top of that, we seem to haul enough stuff every week to start over again on a different coast if the mood ever struck us.

It’s time for something new.

“Not this time,” I said to myself, and like any library-bound archeologist or scientist in a lab, I dedicated myself (perhaps a bit obsessively) to getting it right. “Redemption time,” I declared and cracked open a figurative book (read: Googled). That’s when I discovered what I should have known all along-that INFINITI‘s QX60 7-seater SUV was my road not taken, the path un-chosen, the “magic-was-inside-you-all-along” moment.

And like any responsible father (read: man trying to avoid the same mistake again) I attempted to show my work to my wife for a second (read: better) opinion. Part penance, part public-shaming, allow me now to right an old and irksome wrong.

One of the most aggravating aspects of driving the MDX was how cramped the driver’s seat felt. Despite being a tall 7-seater SUV, my legs and knees knocked the center-console and door sides like they would in a mid-sized sedan.

Not so in the INFINITI. My legs are free enough to tap out an Irish jig. And with a wide cushion on the center-console cubby and what might as well be a padded shelf on the door, I’m free to pilot myself around with my elbows akimbo on the steering wheel. It’s the motorist’s equivalent of a superhero stance. Not only are the leather seats softer, but the leather-wrapped steering wheel and maple trim make the whole experience feel like an afternoon at my weekend cigar lounge.

I opted for the glorious panoramic moonroof on my QX60, which lets in just slightly less light than a convertible would. It gives the whole cabin an open, warm feeling. Some mornings on the way into work, it feels like I never left the breakfast nook by the bay window.

You can say you don’t care about horsepower or torque. You can say it, sure, but do you really mean it? Really? Be honest with yourself. That kid who doodled rockets onto the back of Lamborghinis in algebra class still exists in the back of your mind. I know he’s there.

Both the Acura and the INFINITI rely on 3.5L V6 engines producing just shy of 300hp and around 270 lb-ft of torque. That’s hefty enough for any get-up-and-go scenario. But the real difference-where my INFINITI shines above its predecessor-is towing capacity.

With a puny 3,500 lbs of tug, the Acura feels like it can barely move a stump when latched up with your average trailer. The INFINITI, meanwhile, brandishes its brawn to the tune of 5,000 lbs of titanic towing might.

Now, I haven’t saved up for the fishing boat (yet), but I do take the mower, blower, whacker, and bin over to Mom’s house just about every other week in the summertime to keep her lawn looking as pristine as she requires. I might not be stretching the limits of that beefy 5,000 lbs, but I can sure say it makes all the difference in controlling the weight safely and without any fishtailing mishaps or jackknifing turns.

Let’s get a couple things straight: the INFINITI is cheaper, more powerful, delivers better miles per-gallon in the city, and has more space than the Acura. The difference between them tells it true and tells it twice as plain.

But beyond all that, the INFINITI QX60’s real advantage is one it might take a little while to appreciate. The basic warranty for the Acura (as for the INFINITI) runs 4 years, but the Acura caps at 50,000 miles to the INFINITI ‘s 60,000. Nothing quite says “full confidence” in a vehicle like 10,000 miles of extra coverage. It’s a bold guarantee from INFINITI, and it doesn’t stop there.

Corrosion warranty for the INFINITI runs 7 years to the Acura’s 5, while roadside assistance for the Acura caps at 50,000 miles, whereas INFINITI covers you for 4 years flat with unlimited mileage. INFINITI isn’t tapping its toes in anticipation for your warranty to end.

The Real Difference
Overall-and perhaps more importantly-the INFINITI leaves me with an impression of theater, of the high-life, of the Members Only Airport Lounge. It just feels…nicer. I’ve even put it to a panel of judges. My wife, two sons, and daughter all agree-I finally got it right with the INFINITI QX60. Redemption, my friends, is mine.

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