2016 INFINITI QX70 Review

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Kirk Bell Kirk Bell Editor
June 27, 2016

Though aging, the 2016 Infiniti QX70 still offers an appealing mix of sporty dynamics, coupe-like looks, and luxurious appointments.

Formerly called the FX, the Infiniti QX70 makes some deliberate sacrifices for style and performance to be one of the most driver-focused crossovers available. It's certainly dated up against fresher rivals, but the QX70 focuses instead on delivering excellent driving dynamics in a way matched by few other vehicles of its ilk.

The 2016 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 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 sheet metal. 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.

With underpinning derived from the since-replaced G37 sport sedan, this is one of the few crossovers that feels at home on a curvy mountain road. It drives with a poise that's almost foreign to this kind of vehicle. The curb weight is a somewhat chunky 4,200 pounds, but the QX70 handles as if it's considerably lighter, and it has a sense of poise and balance on a curvy road that's better more akin to a car than a crossover. The tradeoff is a ride that can get overly firm and very choppy on urban interstates, especially with the available 20- and 21-inch wheels.

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The 3.7-liter, 325-horsepower 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 seven-second range. The 7-speed automatic transmission shifts quickly and smoothly, and it has a Sport mode and rev matching.

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 the engine, as well as some road noise.

The QX70 carries on into 2016 unchanged. It comes in just one base model with rear- or all-wheel drive. Pricing starts in the mid-$40,000 range, but it can top $60,000 when the Sport, Premium, Deluxe Touring, and Technology packages are added. These include such features as an adaptive suspension, a navigation system with an especially good display and interface, larger wheels and tires, quilted leather, heated and ventilated seats, and numerous other amenities and tech features. A rear DVD entertainment system is offered separately.

The QX70 has a long list of standard and available safety equipment, and it has received good ratings in the few safety tests to which it has been subjected. A rearview camera is standard but we like the available surround-view camera system that provides a 360-degree view of the surroundings. Other safety options are bundled in packages. There's lane departure prevention that 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 QX70 to a complete stop if traffic slows. The available forward collision warning system can also apply the brakes. The QX70 also offers front and rear park assist.

With rear-wheel drive, the QX70 is EPA rated at 17 mpg city, 24 highway, 19 combined. Opt for all-wheel drive and the ratings drop to 16/22/18 mpg. The QX70 seats five, but those numbers are in line with many seven-passenger crossovers. And all QX70 models require premium gas.

 
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2016 INFINITI QX70

Styling

Dated, but distinctive, the Infiniti QX70's rarity makes it all the more interesting.

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.

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 pattern, and it's angular where the QX70 is bulbous, organic.

While the QX70 design goes back to the 2009 Infiniti FX, it still looks contemporary and like nothing else. The front end was updated with a new grille and headlamps a few years ago, and 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 it could be. Busy details clutter a few surfaces, especially in the distracting surfaces molded into the taillights and headlights, and ducts cut into the front fenders.

Inside, the QX70 is warm and inviting. A beltline runs around the cockpit layout, transitioning seamlessly into the door panels and contributing to an attractive and distinctive design theme. What's more, the QX70 features 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 the layout of the instrument panel. With the lack of an all-encompassing interface like BMW's iDrive or Audi's MMI, it's undeniably more cluttered. Depending on your feelings about such interfaces, that might be a plus.

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2016 INFINITI QX70

Performance

QX70 handles like a genuine sports car, but its ride gets exceptionally stiff with the optional 20- and 21-inch wheels.

Not only does the 2016 Infiniti QX70 move quickly from light to light, but it's also one the best-handling crossovers on the market. It's built on a sport sedan chassis, and drives with a level of poise that's almost entirely unfamiliar to this segment.

The QX70 is arguably best in its base form. Adding all-wheel drive (AWD) 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 AWD system still has a rear bias, and the QX70 has low-profile performance tires, so it isn't a great Snow Belt crossover. We've also noted that AWD models have a somewhat less communicative steering feel.

The 325-horsepower V-6 provides strong acceleration. The 0 to 60 mph run takes about seven seconds, and passing is generally easy.

The 7-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.

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

Ride quality varies depending on which wheels you choose. The standard 18-inch wheels provide a ride that is firm without being at all jarring. Opting for the 20- or 21-inch wheels can induce some real ride harshness. The QX70 can get very choppy on urban interstates, where it and pavement junctions don't always meet eye to eye.

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2016 INFINITI QX70

Comfort & Quality

The QX70 feels rich inside and out, but its back seat and cargo area are severly compromised.

The 2016 Infiniti QX70 looks sporty and feels that way, too, but that doesn't necessarily translate to much usable space inside—or to the quiet, comfortable interior you might expect from a luxury crossover.

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 leg room or head room. The interior is sporty-car snug in places, though the front row has firm, enveloping seats with a fair range of adjustability and with available heating and ventilation. 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. While this vehicle has the footprint of a mid-size sedan, rear leg room is rather 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.

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.

Cabin noise, however, isn't quite up to luxury standards. You hear coarse road surfaces a bit too much, and the engine note is, well, coarse.

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2016 INFINITI QX70

Safety

The QX70 has not been through the full barrage of IIHS and NHTSA testing.

Because the QX70 is a relatively low-volume model, it's likely that federal regulators won't test this crossover. But the insurance industry-funded IIHS tested the QX70 and gave it the top "Good" rating for moderate front overlap and rear impacts. It wasn't subjected to the small front overlap, side impact, or roof strength tests, but it does get an "Advanced" rating for frontal crash prevention.

The QX70 has a long list of standard and available safety equipment.

Bluetooth and a rearview camera are standard; and because of obscured visibility from the curvy sheet metal it needs that camera. Infiniti's surround-view camera system is also offered. It mounts fish-eye 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. 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 that 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 QX70 to a complete stop if traffic slows. The available forward collision warning system can also apply the brakes. The QX70 also offers front and rear park assist.

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2016 INFINITI QX70

Features

QX70 comes pretty well equipped from the get-go and it now offers two additional paths to personalize it.

The 2016 Infiniti QX70 is offered with rear- or all-wheel drive. Standard features include 18-inch wheels, automatic HID headlights, fog lights, a power liftgate, leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless ignition, Bluetooth connectivity, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, a universal garage door opener, and a rearview camera. Infotainment features consist of an 11-speaker Bose AM/FM/CD stereo with satellite radio and a USB port.

An optional Sport package includes 21-inch wheels, heated/ventilated seats, dark exterior trim, interior contrast stitching, magnesium paddle shifters, aluminum pedals, and adaptive headlights with auto leveling.

A Touring package gets 20-inch wheels, maple interior accents, aluminum pedals, a cargo area cover, heated and cooled front seats, and quilted leather upholstery.

A Premium package adds an 8.0-inch center touchscreen; a navigation system with real-time traffic and weather; voice recognition; Bluetooth streaming audio; surround-view cameras with moving object detection; front and rear park assist; a power tilt/telescoping steering wheel; memory for the driver's seat, outside mirrors, and steering wheel; and aluminum roof rails.

A Technology package features adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning with lane departure prevention, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, front pre-crash seat belts, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and the adaptive headlights with auto leveling.

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.

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2016 INFINITI QX70

Fuel Economy

The QX70 is not especially thrifty.

With rear-wheel drive, the QX70 is EPA rated at 17 mpg city, 24 highway, 19 combined. Opt for all-wheel drive and the ratings drop to 16/22/18 mpg. The QX70 seats five, but those numbers are in line with many seven-passenger crossovers. And all QX70 models require premium gas.

Based on many several test drives of the preceding (and nearly identical) FX model, our editors have found real-world mileage tends to be in the low range of even those EPA ratings. We typically observed mid- to upper-teens in mixed driving.

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7.3
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Expert Rating
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Styling 8
Performance 7
Comfort & Quality 6
Safety N/A
Features 8
Fuel Economy 5
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