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2014 Infiniti QX60 (Nissan/Wieck)
2014 Infiniti QX60 (Nissan/Wieck)

Comparison

Two sporty mid-size luxury SUVs Add to ...

You love your family, but you really miss your sports car. It’s a common dilemma amongst well-heeled enthusiasts. A sports sedan or wagon would be a suitable compromise, but they don’t offer that tall driving position that your significant other craves, nor fit the bulky gear for weekend excursions to the cabin. With a good chunk of seat time needed to make it there, something comfortably luxurious for all is needed – sure, the family comes first, yet a fun vehicle for the occasional rip through the back roads on your own would be ideal.

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If this at all sounds like you, the 2014 Infiniti QX60 and Porsche Cayenne are two competitors for the Range Rover Sport. All three vehicles are sporting upscale family haulers. Which one’s the best buy? After a little research and driving V-6 versions of all three, the Infiniti seems the value champ, the Cayenne the most sportily business-like. The Range Rover Sport is the aristocrat of the three.

 

2014 Infiniti QX60

2014 Porsche Cayenne V6

Price range

$43,000 (FWD) - $65,245 (AWD Hybrid)

$57,500 - $88,605 (loaded Tiptronic)

Engine

3.5 L V-6

3.6 L V-6

Horsepower/torque

265/248

300/295

Transmission

CVT automatic with manual shift modes

8-speed automatic with shift buttons

Fuel economy (litres/100 km, ’15 NR Canada)

11.9 city/9.0 highway (AWD); premium fuel

13.6 city/10.1 highway; (12.1 city/8.4 hwy in 2-cycle 2014 window sticker), premium fuel

 

As a fresh, bold alternative to the many flavors of vanilla currently dominating the luxury crossover segment, the Infiniti QX60 is designed to excel in the areas that luxury crossover buyers desire most - interior flexibility and roominess, safety, and advanced hospitality features.
 

2014 Infiniti QX60

This is the jolly giant of the group – the hybrid version the jolly green-ish giant. I say green-ish because after driving the four-cylinder QX60 Hybrid in mostly city and suburban driving, the overall fuel economy averaged out at a surprisingly inefficient 14.5 L/100km: that’s better than your average seven-seat luxury SUV, but nowhere near its 8.8 L/100km 2015 Canadian city figure, nor its official-yet-unrealistic 2014 figure of 7.6L/100km in the city.

The regular QX60 that starts at $43,000 is the sure-fire value leader in this group, with a V-6 that’s much smoother, more powerful and more refined than the Hybrid’s 2.5-litre four, but not nearly as energetic as the sportier V-6s in the Cayenne or Range Rover Sport five-seaters. As you’d expect from a larger three-row crossover, the QX60’s handling was also not up to the athletic levels thrown down by the other two, but the consolation prize was a creamy ride well-isolated from road bumps.

The QX60 is also the only one in our group to earn a coveted Recommended pick by Consumer Reports for its overall safety, quality and predicted reliability, though the consumer group hasn’t published a score or results for the Range Rover Sport at all.

 

2014 Porsche Cayenne V6

The Porsche Cayenne is the certain athlete of this threesome, especially when it comes to handling, though be aware that the most extreme of its low-profile tire options will place a noticeable hit on family ride comfort. In a straight line, its 300 hp 3.6-litre naturally aspirated V-6 is not quite as powerful as the 340 hp supercharged engine in the Range Rover Sport, but its nearly as quick in the benchmark zero to 100km/h test: 7.5 seconds versus the Range Rover Sport V-6’s official 7.2. Plus the 2014 Cayenne V-6 offers a six-speed manual transmission, if you can find this rare unicorn somewhere on a dealer lot.

Porsche will revamp the 2015 Cayenne that arrives around November, and as usual, will introduce higher-end models first. So the base ’15 Cayenne becomes the Cayenne Diesel which will start at $71,300, compared to the gasoline ’14 model that starts at $57,500. The Cayenne S will drop its V-8 in favour of a twin turbo V-6 (starting at $83,700), while a plug-in Cayenne S E-Hybrid, to start at $86,800, will replace the conventional Hybrid.

The Cayenne has received largely positive reviews for its performance and practicality, including by the U.S.-based non-profit association Consumer Reports, but the consumer group has also judged its reliability to be below average, though J.D. Power rates it as among the best in its class in initial quality.

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