Review: 2016 Infiniti QX70
– Detroit, Michigan
The Infiniti QX70 has been around for a long time; this generation of the car Formerly Known As The FX debuted back in 2008. There’s a tendency for us car enthusiasts to knock outdated models automatically as they age and the competition gets better. Yet spending a few days driving the QX70 reminded me why I first fell for the model eight years ago. It has all the sportiness I need out of a daily-driven SUV, with side helpings of style and luxury that stand up against today’s image-driven luxury crossovers.
- Infiniti’s V6 engine is a powerful, sonorous riot. It’s the counterpoint to modern downsized turbos: energetic, always ready to respond to throttle inputs, and with a loud snarl that’s almost as alluring as, say, a Camaro’s V6. That the seven-speed automatic transmission is so eager to downshift only improves the swiftness with which the QX70 makes progress. By the way, the 325-horsepower V6 is plenty powerful, so I really don’t miss the QX70’s 390-hp, 5.0-litre V8 that was dropped for the 2015 model year.
- The QX70 has some of the best steering in any new crossover. It feeds information about the road surface and grip back to the diver, twitching and changing weight as you drive. I know I’m probably in the minority for liking those traits in a luxury crossover, but they’re part of what makes the Infiniti so engaging to drive. It’s also a good reminder that the QX70 was originally based on a great rear-wheel-drive sport sedan.
- Despite its relative age in the new-car market, the QX70’s interior still stands up to scrutiny against its modern rivals. I really like the design strategy in this Infiniti, which is actually quite restrained and subdued compared to the look of some luxury cars. High-quality materials abound, but there are no overtly dramatic styling elements that sacrifice function for form. Everything just works, and looks good while doing so.
- It looks good outside, too. A counterpoint to the ultra-sharp, ultra-precise lines we see now on so many new crossovers (Audi Q7 and Volvo XC90, for instance), this Infiniti’s flowing lines and bulging curves seem graceful. There’s a menace to its stance, especially with these black 21-inch wheels, but it’s a refined, somewhat understated appearance. I appreciate that design aesthetic, especially as more and more new crossovers ditch curves in favor of creases.
- Forward visibility isn’t great because the windshield is short and the bulky housing for the rear-view mirror takes up so much real estate. When turning right, I constantly find myself having to peer around the mirror assembly. And sometimes I have to duck a little to see traffic lights past the windshield header. That’s inconvenient in a sports coupe but downright frustrating in a crossover.
- The QX70 also isn’t the roomiest for back-seat passengers or for carrying cargo. Again, this is a crossover that prioritizes design and performance over the maximum in practicality, but it’s worth noting that the styling choices that look so cool from the outside reduce headroom and trunk space. Think of it as a pre- or post-kids ride, not a family hauler.
- The primary downside to the V6 engine is that its fuel-economy ratings don’t impress in 2016. It was tough for me to break 15 litres per 100 kilometres in any type of driving (NRCAN combined rating: 12.8 L/100 km). Because the car takes premium fuel and has a generous 90-litre tank, fill-ups are also pretty pricey.
Photos: Jake Holmes / Motor1.com