2015 Infiniti QX70 SportPosted on November 25th, 2014
Sporty crossover built for the open road
By Nina Russin
The 350-mile drive between Phoenix and Los Angeles is best described as four hours of watching paint dry with rush hour at either end. It is as stressful as it is dull. Any car that can make the drive fun is a masterpiece. Enter the Infiniti QX70: a powerful, rear-wheel drive crossover that fits the bill perfectly.
On the open road, it is an effortless car to drive, with active safety features such as lane departure warning, intelligent cruise control and adaptive front lighting. When opportunities permit, the QX70 offers the driving dynamics of a sport sedan, with a wide aggressive stance, precise steering feedback, dynamic suspension and firm, linear breaking. It really is the total package.
The test car that I drove to Los Angeles for the annual auto show media preview starts at $45,850 excluding the $995 destination charge. The technology package that includes the above described safety features adds $2,950. A premium option adds navigation, eight-inch touchscreen display, around vision monitor, Bluetooth and roof rails. Finally, the sport package includes 21-inch wheels and low profile tires, a blacked out front grille, fog lamps, side air vents, special interior trim, driver and front passenger sport seats, formula-style paddle shifters and aluminum pedals. Final MSRP is $58,085.
If the Infiniti QX70 had fur and black spots it would look like a cheetah, with muscular rear haunches, a long sleek profile and front paws ready to pounce. The optional 21-inch wheels are so large they almost look cartoonish, but in this case, the performance enhancement they provide justifies the design.
The car’s track is quite wide. It fits into a vertical parking slot, but just barely. At high speeds, the tires’ large contact patches and big track translate to superior cornering and stability. Despite its high shoulders and narrow greenhouse, visibility around the car is quite good. The optional around view monitor provides a 360-degree view of the perimeter when the driver shifts into reverse. Together with the standard rearview camera, it makes the QX70 considerably easier to park. The ability to monitor cross traffic in crowded parking lots is worth the investment.
A 3.7-liter V-6 engine delivers 325 horsepower and 267 foot-pounds of torque for solid acceleration. There is ample power on the high end for passing slower vehicles on the highway. Large overdrive gears in the seven-speed automatic transmission stretch highway fuel economy to 24 mpg. The fuel tank is large enough to give the QX70 very good driving range. I was able to drive between my house on the southeast side of Phoenix and Palm Springs, California on about half a tank of gasoline.
Around town fuel economy isn’t quite as good: 17 mpg according to the EPA. The QX70 is a relatively heavy car with a total curb weight of about 4200 pounds. The aerodynamic profile makes it slippery in the wind tunnel, but mass is mass.
On the positive side, front-to-rear weight balance is close to 50/50, so the chassis doesn’t handle like a heavy car. I noticed no tendency for the rear end to break loose when taking a cloverleaf exit ramp at speed.
The suspension consists of a double wishbone setup in front and multi-links in the back. Aluminum suspension components minimize unsprung weight to make the car feel more nimble.
A speed-sensitive rack-and-pinion steering system offers excellent response at all speeds. The QX70’s solid on-center response is impressive. Large vented disc brakes on all four wheels can, if necessary, stop the car on a dime.
Engineers did an excellent job of minimizing noise intrusion to the interior, so both rows of passengers can converse or enjoy the audio system. Its quiet interior is one of the reasons that the QX70 functions so well on long road trips.
Standard keyless entry and start enables the driver to enter the car and fire the ignition without fumbling for the key fob: a feature I appreciated after dark in downtown Los Angeles. The optional sport seats are quite firm. Readers who want something soft and cushiony might find them too hard. There is ample range in the lower lumbar support. I was able to raise the driver’s seat high enough to provide an unobstructed view out the front.
I found climate and infotainment controls easy to reach and intuitive to operate. Both the center stack screen and gauge cluster are easy to read in bright sunlight.
The adaptive headlamps swivel according to steering input to light corners of the road. They make a difference in dark suburban areas where pedestrians may be waiting at street corners to cross. I also found the lighting helpful on sections of highway in Los Angeles where streetlamps were either missing or partially obstructed by trees.
Second-row passengers have plenty of legroom in outboard positions for longer drives. The center position is not a problem for short trips around town. Heating and cooling vents in back of the center console circulate air through the back of the cabin.
The cargo bay is quite spacious. A power liftgate makes it easier to load large items in back. The roof rails enable owners to add a cargo rack or carrier up top.
The Infiniti QX70 comes with front, side and side curtain airbags, antilock brakes, stability control, traction control, a rearview camera and tire pressure monitoring. The factory warranty includes 24-hour roadside assistance during the warranty period and complimentary loaner cars when the vehicle is being serviced.
The sporty QX70 is on display at Infiniti dealerships nationwide.
Like: A solidly built crossover vehicle with the power and performance of a sport sedan. Its versatility and excellent driving dynamics enable the QX70 to fill multiple squares for buyers with active lifestyles.
Dislikes: Poor fuel economy around town.
Model: QX70 Sport
Base price: $45,850
As tested: $58,085
Horsepower: 325 Hp @ 7000 rpm
Torque: 267 lbs.-ft. @ 5200 rpm
Antilock brakes: Standard
Side curtain airbags: Standard
First aid kit: N/A
Bicycle friendly: Yes
Fuel economy*: 17/24 mpg city/highway
Comment: The manufacturer requires the use of 91 octane premium unleaded gasoline.2015, Luxury 2015, Active Lifestyle Vehicles, auto review, Infiniti, performance, pricing, standard safety
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