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  • Current JX35 to be renamed QX60
  • Hybrid version added to lineup
  • Available summer 2013

Infiniti announced it would add a hybrid option for its 3-row luxury crossover, the JX. But when it arrives, it will have a new name to go with its new powertrain option. The 2014 Infiniti QX60 will be the updated designation for the model, which is scheduled to arrive in showrooms this summer. The hybrid version makes its debut at the New York Auto Show and will be priced about $3,000 higher than the V6-powered QX60.

Infiniti says it expects its hybrid QX60 to achieve 26 miles per gallon combined -- a significant improvement over the JX35, which is rated at 21 mpg combined city/highway with front-wheel drive and 20 mpg combined with all-wheel drive. Like the JX35, the QX60 Hybrid will be available with front-wheel or all-wheel drive. Expect a slight fuel economy penalty with all-wheel drive, even for the hybrid.

Instead of the thirstier 3.5-liter V6, the QX60 Hybrid is powered by a 2.5-liter supercharged 4-cylinder engine coupled with a 15 kW electric motor. A Lithium-ion battery pack energizes the motor and is partially recharged by regenerative braking. The system is good for about 250 horsepower -- just a bit shy of the V6's output of 265 hp. Like the V6, the hybrid setup uses a CVT, or continuously variable transmission. Infiniti says the hybrid suffers "no compromise of performance."

Some hybrid versions of conventional vehicles give up interior or trunk space to battery packs, sacrificing some practicality for better fuel economy. With batteries housed under the third-row seat, the QX60 Hybrid offers the same passenger and cargo space as its V6-powered sister, an important characteristic in a 7-passenger vehicle.

The 2014 Infiniti QX60 marks the automaker's third hybrid. The M Hybrid was introduced for the 2012 model year and will be named Q70 Hybrid for 2014. Infiniti also recently introduced a hybrid version of the Q50, the all-new replacement for the G model line.

Three-row vehicles with available hybrid power are rare, and luxury ones are even rarer. Adding the QX60 Hybrid, Infiniti ensures that drivers who want space and relative efficiency alongside upscale equipment and appointments have one more model to consider.

What it means to you: The growing lineup of hybrid vehicles expands fuel-efficient choices for drivers. The Infiniti QX60 Hybrid, which arrives this summer, provides a more efficient alternative in a 3-row luxury crossover.

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Nick Palermo is an automotive writer and lifelong car nut. He follows new and late-model used vehicles for AutoTrader.com, writes about vintage cars for Hemmings Classic Wheels and blogs on all things automotive at LivingVroom. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and twins.

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