2015 INFINITI QX70 Review

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Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor
May 27, 2015

Sports car driving dynamics, coupe-like looks, and full-on luxury car appointments all find their way into the 2015 Infiniti QX70.

Formerly called the FX, the Infiniti QX70 makes some deliberate sacrifices to be one of the most driver-focused crossovers available.

The 2015 Infiniti QX70 isn't a trail-ready or rugged crossover by any stretch of the imagination, and it's not space-efficient either. Instead the QX70 focuses on excellent driving dynamics, handsome looks and its legitimately luxurious interior appointments. At first glance, it's one of the best-executed marriages of sleek lines, wagon practicality, and fast underpinnings we've seen. Where the BMW X6 failed in that mission, the QX70 excels from a design standpoint. Sure, there are a few too many details that might clutter the look from some angles, but it's otherwise excellent–from it's racy roofline to its beautiful sheetmetal. Inside, it's inviting and warm, with rich appointments like quilted leather and subdued wood trim–though there may be a few too many buttons for some shoppers.

This is one of the few crossovers that feels at home on a curvy mountain road; with underpinnings derived from Infiniti's sport sedan, it drives with a poise that's almost foreign to this kind of vehicle. You don't need the V-8 if you want a vehicle with a lot of get-up-and-go. In '3.7' models, the 3.7-liter, 328-hp V-6 is shared with other Infinitis; and while it's not quite as smooth as the V-6 engines found in some other crossovers, it allows acceleration to 60 mph in the low 7.0-second range. So-called 5.0 models and their V-8 are cut from the lineup this year. One sore point throughout the QX70 lineup remains its thirst for premium fuel. EPA ratings are only acceptable, at up to 17/24 mpg.

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Despite the chunky curb weight (4,200 pounds minimum), the QX70 handles as if it's considerably lighter, and they have a sense of poise and balance on a curvy road that's better than most other SUVs and crossovers.

Inside, the QX70 is delightful—provided you're in the front seats. Like many sports cars and sport sedans, the FX seems to give those in front good comfort and enveloping support while neglecting backseat passengers. It's surprisingly cramped back there. Cargo space also suffers because of the curvy design and high cargo floor. You do get a little too much noise in the cabin from V-8 models, as well as some road noise; and QX70 can get very choppy on urban interstates.

Prices have risen very modestly going from the Infiniti FX to the 2015 Infiniti QX70. The QX70 comes in three different models—QX70 3.7 and QX70 3.7 AWD. QX70 models top $60,000, but they include the contents of the Premium, Deluxe Touring, and Technology packages. Big-ticket tech options include a lane-departure warning system, an adaptive suspension, adaptive bi-xenon headlamps, and a navigation system with an especially good display and interface. New for this year is a sports package that comes with special wheels, adaptive lighting, and heated/ventilated sports seats.

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2015 INFINITI QX70

Styling

The QX70 is still one of the best-looking (and most daring) of the crossover-coupe SUVs.

The QX70 bridges the gaps between family-friendly, visually attractive, and delightful to drive, which might make it a good fit for someone who needs a wagon, but would prefer something that looks sportier.

Inside, the QX70 is warm and inviting, and with a beltline that runs around the cockpit layout, transitioning seamlessly into the door panels, there's not only a great, distinctive design theme, but such premium, top-lux details and materials--things like quilted leather and wood trims that aren't overly processed.

The rich, elegant look has only one inadequacy, and that's in the layout of the instrument panel; with the lack of an all-encompassing interface like iDrive or MMI, it's also undeniably more cluttered. Although depending on your feelings about such interfaces, that might be a plus.

Change is something this vehicle hasn't needed: its smooth take has stayed fresh, probably because its few rivals haven't succeeded in pulling off the same cross-over appeal. Only the Range Rover Evoque cuts the utility shape into such an interesting new pattern, and it's angular where the QX70 is bulbous, organic.

While the QX70 design goes back to the 2009 Infiniti FX, and it hasn't changed all that much since, it still looks contemporary and like nothing else. The front end was updated with a new grille and headlamps a couple of years ago, while Infiniti hasn't done anything to spoil the carefully sculpted exterior.

If there's one flaw with the design, it's that the exterior of the QX70 isn't quite as clean as the design as the sheetmetal deserves. Busy details clutter a few surfaces, especially in the distracting surfaces molded into the taillights and headlights, and the ducts cut into the front fenders.

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2015 INFINITI QX70

Performance

The luscious available V-8 aside, handling is where the QX70 stands out -- although it's at the sacrifice of ride quality.

Not only does the QX70 move quickly from light to light, but it's also one the best-handling crossovers on the market today. It's built on a sports sedan chassis, and drives with a level of poise that's almost entirely unfamiliar to this segment.

Despite the chunky curb weight (4,200 pounds minimum), the QX70 handles as if it's considerably lighter, and they have a sense of poise and balance on a curvy road that's better than most other SUVs and crossovers.

The QX70 also offers an adaptive set of shocks along with an active rear-steer system, which come with 21-inch wheels; these upgrades add cost and complexity, and don't necessarily net the major handling gains to justify either.

 The QX70 is one vehicle that's at its best in base form, in our opinion; adding all-wheel drive piles on a couple hundred pounds, and if it's all-weather traction you need, you're probably better off getting something a little less performance-oriented. Beware that the systems still have a rear bias, plus low-profile performance tires, so the FX isn't a great Snow Belt crossover. We've also noted that AWD models have a somewhat less communicative steering feel.

Throughout the model line, a seven-speed automatic shifts quickly and smoothly; there's also a sport mode and rev matching. Left in D, the QX70 doesn't go out of its way to snap off downshifts until you're more than a quarter-deep into the throttle--where it lets out a rasp and leaps forward with some mild shift shock.

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2015 INFINITI QX70

Comfort & Quality

What functionality? The QX70 gets a shallow cargo area and a tight back seat. Although there's plenty of comfort in front.

The 2015 Infiniti QX70 looks sporty and feels that way, too, but that doesn't necessarily translate to much useable space inside–or to the quiet, comfortable interior you might expect from other luxury crossovers.

Delicate details are the surprise inside the QX70, akin to those used in luxury sedans, not utility-minded vehicles. The leather is soft and quilted with subtly colored stitching, and the assembly quality of almost every version we've driven has been excellent.

One thing inside the QX70 isn't quite up to luxury-vehicle standards, and that's cabin noise. You hear coarse road surfaces a bit too much, and V-8 models especially tend to have too much engine noise--in a muscle-car sense, almost--for most tastes. Ride quality varies depending on which model you choose. V-6 models are firm without being at all jarring, though opting for the 20-inch wheels over the standard 18-inchers can induce some real ride harshness. The QX70 can get very choppy on urban interstates, where pavement junctions don't always meet eye to eye.

The QX70 is a great place for long highway trips--provided you're in the front seat. If you're riding in back, you can't be too lanky as there simply isn't all that much legroom or headroom. The interior is sporty-car snug in places, though in front these models have firm, enveloping seats with a fair range of adjustability and with heating and cooling in most versions. They're great for a long day of driving, and the seating position itself is low enough to ease entry and exit.

In back, the QX70 is tough to get into, with the arch of the roofline getting in the way; and the most surprising find--in this vehicle with about the length and footprint of a mid-size sedan--is that leg room is so skimpy. Folding the seats forward yields more cargo space, but the bin's small to begin with, and the cargo floor is high. The standard power liftgate does soothe the sting of not being able to cart home half the big-box store. 

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2015 INFINITI QX70

Safety

The surround-view cameras in the 2015 QX70 help make up for any visibility issues.

The QX70 is pretty much mechanically identical to the previous FX37, so its safety package hasn't changed much versus that model. There's a long list of standard and available safety equipment here, and existing safety ratings are positive.

Bluetooth and a rearview camera system are standard on the QX70; and because of obscured visibility from the curvy sheetmetal it does especially need that camera. There's also Infiniti's AroundView camera system, which mounts fisheye lenses on the underside of its outside mirrors and on the nose and tail of the vehicle. The results are stitched together and displayed on the dash's LCD screen for a 360-degree scan of the surroundings. As a standard feature on the QX70 3.7 and optional on the QX70 5.0, this system is useful for parking in narrow garage and parking lot spaces.

Other safety options are bundled in packages. There's Lane Departure Prevention follows lane markings on the road, notifies the driver, and can even apply the brakes lightly, while an advanced cruise control system can bring the FX to a complete stop if traffic slows.

Because the QX70 is a relatively low-volume model, it's likely that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) won't test this crossover. But the insurance industry-funded Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) did test the FX and found it "good" rating for front and rear impacts. It wasn't tested for side impacts or roof strength, however it achieves an 'advanced' rating for frontal crash prevention.

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2015 INFINITI QX70

Features

Features are about as you'd expect them for a vehicle with the QX70's price; but all the luxury touches and finishes make it a standout.

New for this year, the 2015 Infiniti QX70 gains an optional sports package, that includes 21" wheels, adaptive headlights, and heated/ventilated seats.

Big-ticket tech options include a lane-departure warning system, an adaptive suspension, adaptive bi-xenon headlamps, and a navigation system with an especially good display and interface.

Other standalone options on the QX70 include a rear entertainment system with dual headrest monitors, roof-rail crossbars, a cargo organizer, and a Tow Package.

Prices have risen very modestly going from the Infiniti FX to the 2014 Infiniti QX70. The QX70 comes in three different models—QX70 3.7, QX70 3.7 AWD, and QX70 5.0 AWD. QX70 models top $60,000, but they include the contents of the Premium, Deluxe Touring, and Technology packages

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2015 INFINITI QX70

Fuel Economy

By our experience, the QX70 is even thirstier than its EPA ratings suggest.

Thanks to its eager V-6 and monstrous 5.0-liter V-8 engines, the Infiniti QX70 doesn't earn the highest marks for fuel economy.

With the base 3.7-liter V-6 in QX70 3.7 models, you'll have ratings of 17 miles per gallon city, 24 miles per gallon highway, or 19 mpg combined, with rear-wheel drive. Ratings drop to 16/22 with all-wheel drive. And all QX70 models require premium gas.

Those numbers are in line with many seven-seat crossovers—yet the QX comfortably seats four.

Our editors, based on many drives of the preceding (and nearly identical) FX model, have found real-world mileage to be in the low range of even those EPA ratings--mid to upper teens in mixed driving with the V-6.

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