2022 Infiniti QX60 ditches CVT for ZF 9-speed
For the 2022 model year, Infiniti’s revamping its three-row crossover, the QX60—not to be confused with the upcoming QX55, a mid-size CUV with only two rows of seating. (We don’t understand the nomenclature logic there, either.)
The exterior, at this point, remains camouflaged, but we expect the three-row to amp up the flares, creases, and grille size for a dramatic aesthetic. In case you forgot what the current, Murano-based QX60 looks like, it’s a snoozer:
The biggest mechanical change for the 2022 model is the transmission: Infiniti is ditching the current model’s CVT for a ZF nine-speed automatic. It mates to a naturally aspirated V-6, a member of Nissan’s white-haired though trustworthy VQ powerplant family.
That nine-speed, ZF’s 9HP, has a somewhat spotty record. Designed for transverse-mounted engines, the unit debuted in the 2014 Jeep Cherokee and managed to earn the Jeep not one, but two recalls for rough, delayed shifting. ZF maintained, at the time, that the root issue was one of software, not mechanical components, but, in 2016, the 9HP earned a recall of over 500,000 units (in the U.S.) for randomly dropping into neutral. Affected vehicles included the Jeep Cherokee, the Land Rover Discovery Sport, and higher-trims of the Honda Pilot and Acura TLX. Volvo, after watching all this go down, decided to contract with Aisin for its eight-speed.
The ZF nine-speed has no fewer than four overdrive ratios. Its rather wide ratio spread (9.8) helps it prioritize fuel economy and off-the-line acceleration, but the high number of gears, plus its complicated system of clutches delays downshifts and gives the gearbox a downright “odd” personality, as TTAC wrote in 2014.
However, for those who value frugal cruising and decent around-town oomph, the 2022 QX60’s should do just fine … if Infiniti can persuade buyers away from BMW’s sumptuous X7 and Audi’s tech-packed Q7.