Saturday Road Test – Infinity QX70

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Infiniti QX70 3.7 AWD

Fun to Drive? YES!

By Ron Amadon

DAMASCUS, MD – November marks the 25th anniversary of Nissan’s luxury brand and it has announced plans to expand the current lineup by 60 percent over the next five years, along with a doubling of powertrains.

That should be exciting to follow, but for now we are faced with the current lineup that features a very luxurious and fun to drive QX70, once known as the FX.

“I like your car,” said one admirer at a car wash. A lady in Potomac, where a million buys you a bungalow, came over to see what it was.

“Nice” was her response when informed it was an Infiniti.

One either buys into the design or they don’t. I liked the view from the driver’s seat with the raised front fenders that almost brought you back to an earlier time.

Around town and on the interstates, the Q feels like a larger vehicle but that sensation is gone when you point it down your favorite country road. Fun driving in a crossover is not what one would expect, but it is the standout feature of the QX.

The big 21-inch wheels do stiffen up the ride that is already on the sporty side. But not enough to be upsetting on interstates that need some work pavement wise. The payoff is the handling that those who like to drive will discover on their favorite curvy rural roads. It goes where it’s pointed with just a hint of body roll – a lot like a fun to drive sport sedan. That in fact is where the underpinnings come from.

For 2015, Infiniti dropped the 5.0 liter V8 leaving the 3.7 liter, 325 horsepower V6 with 267 lb-ft of torque as the lone power offering. It worked well with the 7 speed automatic with downshift rev matching. There was more than enough grunt to pass slow moving trucks and farm equipment on rural roads. The redline is marked at a sporty 6,800 rpm.

The vehicle is EPA rated at 16 mpg in the city, 22 on the highway for a combined 18 mpg on premium unleaded it should be noted. In a week’s worth of driving I came away with 19 mpg

The Sport Package is new for this year with dark finish exterior accents, the dark finish aluminum-alloy wheels, very supportive sport seats with blue stitching that includes the door trim as well, and magnesium paddle shifters. Front drive and all-wheel drive still offered.

Those air vents behind the front wheels actually work and allow air to flow through the engine compartment and out the side, and that Infiniti claims, reduces front end lift.

Two six foot tall adults can fit in the rear seats with some ducking down on the way in and out. The center back rest folds down to reveal two cup holders and small storage bin.

Electroluminescent gauges in the dash were a very easy to read addition. The front sport seats add power adjustable side bolsters and manual thigh extension, and were most comfortable with just minor adjustments during a day long drive.

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Two center console knobs controlled the heated and ventilated soft leather seats. On a particularly cold morning, I found myself dialing back the heat after about a mile’s journey.

The Bose Premium Audio system with 11 speakers was one of the best these ears have been treated to. It was a snap to program the navi system in the 8-inch color screen.

Of course, there was the usual list of safety features, such as Intelligent Cruise Control, Brake Assist and Lane Departure Warning. The latter was not much more than (beeping) annoying, in that it had to be switched off each time you started the vehicle. In short if one can’t keep between the lines, perhaps one should not be driving in the first place.

The AWD system can redistribute torque to the wheels from 100 percent to the rear to a 50-50 split front and back according to road and driving conditions. With the onset of an early winter of over most of the country, this is not a bad addition. On the center console was a Snow Mode Switch that controls engine output to avoid wheel spin.

The Around View Monitor System utilizes four small super wide angle cameras to provide a virtual 360 degree view of objects around the vehicle. It is a nice asset to have if you are trying to squeeze in or out of a tight spot.

There was 25 cubic feet of storage behind the rear seats, and 62 cubic feet with them folded flat – less than some of its competitors. It is the price you pay for the sporty design.

If crunch time is encountered, it is worth knowing that the QX earned a top-of-the-line Good rating in moderate overlap frontal offset crash testing.

So what is this machine? I think it is a new category, a SLCV, for Sporty Luxury Crossover Vehicle. After all, doesn’t the world does need another vehicle category?

With option packages totaling $11,240, plus $995 for shipping, the tested Q carried an MSRP of $59,535.

For that outlay of cash, you get a sporty, “doesn’t look like anything else on the road” crossover with about all the luxury touches that one could ask for. Consumers looking for a midsize SLCV in a block full of BMW’s and Mercedes should take a QX70 for a ride.

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