Currently, in its seventeenth year of production and its fifth moniker, the QX70 remains what it always has been: a midsize luxury SUV with performance prowess. Its firm ride and raucous exhaust note are a departure from luxury standards but that may be appealing to a certain type of drive. It’s worth noting that this year may be its last, so you may want to pick up this rare bird before it’s extinct!
INFINITI pioneered the “sporty” SUV with the launch of the FX35 in 2003 but after nearly two decades, most competing brands have caught up. The QX70 simply isn’t the value proposition it once was, especially since the introduction of the Jaguar F-pace, which we’ll compare it to later in this review. It’s still cheaper than a Cayenne or BMW X5 but those are superior SUVs worth the extra money. If you’re looking for value, you may want to consider the QX50. It will soon be refreshed to straddle the compact and midsize positions in INFINITI’s lineup. That SUV offers better suspension along with the same stellar powertrain in a smaller package and lower price. If you’re looking to buy used, a V8 equipped version was produced from 2009-2015 (2014 year model was last year) that’s an absolute steal when compared with a Cayenne S or X5 4.4 Liter.
This INFINITI midsize crossover doesn’t disappoint in the performance category, the VQ series V6 engine is world renowned for its performance prowess. Yes, the very same engine is found in the legendary Nissan 370Z. Like its sportier small sibling, this SUV is at its best behind the wheel. The 325 horsepower powers the crossover from zero to sixty in just 6 seconds, a bit slower than German rivals but quick nonetheless. The 7-speed electronically shiftable automatic transmission receives magnesium paddle shifters standard for those who enjoy selecting their own gear. The transmission rev matches on downshift and never leaves the QX70 flat-footed. Despite its 21 inch wheels on higher trims, the QX70 handles confidently. The ride is on the firm side which may alienate some looking for luxurious refinement. The welcome tradeoff is minimal body lean and sharp handling. The pleasant gurgle the exhaust produces is better than anything coming through the stock Bose sound system. Not that the audio system is bad, far from it. The exhaust is just that good. Fuel economy isn’t this SUV’s strength since the engine’s power resides high in the powerband. It has an EPA rating of 16 miles per gallon city and 22 miles per gallon highway. Expect lower figures if driving hard. Overall, there aren’t many SUVs that can compete with the QX70’s driving dynamics at its price but the Mercedes GLE twin-turbo V6 and V8 equipped BMW X5 are more impressive performers if you have an extra $10,000 to $20,000.
The standard cabin features heavy use of leather trim with genuine wood and brushed aluminum trim. Quality materials despite a dated design. That said, controls are simple and pragmatic, with redundant buttons for nearly every feature for the touchscreen averse. There is a stunning “Limited” package that adds quilted leather everywhere but for that kind of money, you’re better off with some of its German rivals that have a similar price tag. The SUVs curvy skin hinders visibility in all directions. The pillars are all quite wide and the bulging hood may make it difficult for short drivers to see what’s in front of them. A standard rearview camera mitigates the headache that is reversing into a spot in this SUV. The optional Around View Monitor makes it even simpler. Rear seat room is ample but the sloping roofline does cramp headroom a little, comparable to the BMW X6 or GLE coupe. The infotainment system lags behind the times although it functions more reliably than some of the latest tech. When compared with other midsize luxury SUVs, this one is short on utility. There’s just 24.6 cubic feet behind the rear seat and 62 overall. However, that's kinda the point, it’s an SUV that drives like a sports sedan and features about the same amount of room though it rides higher.
INFINITI describes the QX70 as a “Bionic Cheetah.” If you can figure that one out, please let us know in the comments below. The exterior hasn’t changed much since the original FX35 released some 17 years ago. In that respect, this SUV was way ahead of its time. The FX was the first four-door coupe-styled SUV. Many automakers have been playing catch-up ever since. It still has a long nose, finished with an aggressive INFINITI badged grille. On either side, the standard HID bi-Xenon headlamps are some of the best on the market. Standard models sit on 19-inch wheels, while gigantic 21-inch rims are optional. The signature sloping roofline still looks great after all these years. And, of course, the rear wears LED tail lights and has done so all these years, way before any other SUV. This SUV is sure to age gracefully, as even those early 2000 models don’t look out of place on the road today. While it may not be for everyone, this crossover is sure to be a classic!
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not crash tested the QX70 and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety only performed the moderate front overlap test. The QX70 received a “GOOD” rating in that test and the restraints and head protection performed the same. The available front collision prevention technology acquired an “ADVANCED” rating, indicating middle of the pack performance despite its name. This crossover's headlights are one if its strengths. They're rated higher than most SUVs, which receive low ratings. Bi-Xenon HID headlamps are standard and illuminate the road well to keep you safe. Though this SUV hasn't been as rigorously tested as some of its competitors, our research suggests there's no reason to assume it's any less safe.
Consumer Reports offers a 2 out of 5 predicted reliability rating without offering any detailed information. JD Power awards the QX70 a 3 out of 5 predictability rating without offering an explanation. It’s curious because the INFINITI QX70 maintains a comparatively clean record with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The 2017 model has no recalls, no complaints, and no Technical Service Bulletins. Just nine complaints total are filed since the 2014 year model. The only disconcerting complaints relate to the airbags. One owner complained the airbags deployed while driving on the highway at 65 mph for no reason and another complained that they failed to deploy in a head-on collision. It’s hard to say whether other models would be affected, as these are random events that can’t be duplicated. There weren’t any troublesome complaints about the powertrain or any that indicate poor reliability.
There are a lot of luxury crossovers to choose from to compete with the QX70. Since the QX70/FX is a member of the “old guard,” we’ve decided to compare it to one of the latest and greatest: the Jaguar F-Pace. Jaguar took their sweet time entering the SUV market, and it’s paid off quite handsomely. The result is an incredibly refined SUV that performs well behind the wheel while retaining the “utility” part of the equation. The base F Pace can be had for a few thousand less as well. Its turbocharged 3.0 Liter V6 will get you to sixty in just 5.5 seconds, half a second quicker than the QX70. Upgrade to the S, about the same price as a QX70 with Premium Package, and you’ll get 40 more horses and shave four tenths off that time. The biggest difference, though, is design.
Though the QX is gorgeous, there’s no denying how stunning the F Pace is, inside and out. In comparison with the INFINITI, Jaguars 10.2 inch infotainment system feels a decade a fresher, as does much of the interior. You receive a fully digital driver information display in lieu of gauges and a modern knob-style gear selector. There’s significantly more second-row head and legroom due to the lack of sloping roof and an abundance cargo space. The Jag manages all this without sacrificing handling. The two SUVs pull identical numbers on the skid pad. However, we’ll admit the QX70’s hydraulic steering setup does give more of a sedan-like feel, as does the firmer suspension. The Jag’s electronically adjustable suspension gets the edge, though, since it can be softened up to provide a cushier ride when you want it. They both achieve similar fuel economy ratings, with the Jag getting about a mile per gallon more, respectively. We would have a tough time choosing between these SUVs. The Jag has some serious sex appeal but we’re also rather fond of the INFINITI’s understated charm. Better reliability and cheaper maintenance may push the value concerned toward the INFINITI. Either way, you can’t really go wrong.
The QX70 starts at $43,850, powered by a Dual Overhead camshaft 3.7 liter 24-valve V6 with aluminum alloy block and heads that makes 325 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque, steel intake, and exhaust valves, continuously variable valve timing control system, variable valve event and lift. It’s mated to an electronically controlled 7-speed automatic with adaptive shift control and downshift rev matching. A snow mode controls throttle response. It’s rear wheel drive standard and includes independent double wishbone front suspension with shock absorbers and stabilizer bar, independent multi-link rear suspension with shock absorbers and stabilizer bar, 12.6 x 1.3 inch ventilated front disc brakes, 12.1 x .6 inch ventilated rear disc brakes, 18 inch x 8 inch split 5-spoke aluminum alloy wheels with 265/60R18 all-season tires. On the outside, there are automatic on/off High Intensity Discharge bi-functional Xenon headlamps, integrated front fog lights, LED rear brake lights, LED center high-mounted stop light, power sliding tinted glass moonroof with tilt feature and sliding sunshade, power rear lift gate, electric lift gate closure assist, integrated rear spoiler, UV-reducing solar glass, rear privacy glass, power folding heated outside mirrors with courtesy lights, speed sensitive flat blade front windshield wipers, rear window intermittent wiper and defroster with timer, side air vents, and dual exhaust outlets with polished tips.
Inside, there’s a dual zone automatic temperature control system, intelligent key with illuminated push button ignition, rear seat heating and cooling vents in center console, ducts under front seats, power windows with illuminated switches and front window one-touch auto up/down with auto-reverse feature, power door locks with automatic locking feature, retained accessory power for windows and moonroof, sequential welcome lighting illuminated entry system, overhead ambient light, front sun visors with illuminated vanity mirrors and extensions, overhead sunglasses storage, dual overhead front map lights, rear seat reading lights, front seatback map pockets, front door pockets, front center console with dual level storage compartment and 12-volt power outlet, battery saver that helps prevent accidental discharging if electrical accessories are left on, front and rear carpeted floor mats, and cargo net tie-down anchors in cargo area. Additionally, seats are trimmed with leather, heated in the front and reclining in the back. There’s an 8-way power front passenger’s seat, a 10-way power driver’s seat with 2-way power lumbar support, 60/40 split folding rear seats. The dash is trimmed with Black lacquer and the steering wheel and shift knob are both trimmed with leather. The doors are lined with INFINITI embossed stainless steel kick plates. A bose 11- speaker premium audio system with USB connection port for iPod interface is standard, as is SiriusXM satellite radio, illuminated steering wheel mounted audio controls, Fine Vision electroluminescent gauges, tilt and telescopic steering column, a Bluetooth hands-free phone system, INFINITI multi function controller, RearView Monitor, auto dimming inside mirror with HomeLink Universal Transceiver, integrated digital compass on inside mirror, cruise control with steering wheel mounted switches, and an analog clock.
To keep occupants safe, there is an INFINITI advanced air bag system includes an occupant detection sensor which adjusts their inflation rate depending on crash severity, seat occupancy, and seat belt usage. There’s also driver and front-passenger side impact supplemental air bags, roof-mounted curtain side impact supplemental air bags with rollover sensor, front set active head restraints, zone body construction with reinforced passenger compartment, front and rear crumple zone, electronic brake force distribution, brake assist, vehicle dynamic control, traction control system and tire pressure monitoring system. Security features include remote keyless entry with selective unlocking of driver’s door or all doors, remote power opening of windows, INFINITI vehicle immobilizer, and vehicle security system.
The Premium Package costs $4,300 and includes INFINITI navigation system, INFINITI voice recognition system, NavTraffic with real time traffic information, NavWeather with real time weather and 3 day forecast, Around View Monitor with moving object detection, front and rear sonar system, Bluetooth streaming audio, dual occupant memory, outside mirror with reverse tilt-down feature, power tilt and telescopic steering column, entry/exit assist for driver’s seat and steering wheel, and aluminum roof rails.
The Technology Package costs $3,350 and equips Intelligent Cruise Control, lane departure warning, lane departure prevention, intelligent brake assist, forward collision warning, front pre-crash seat belts, rain-sensing front windshield wipers, and adaptive front lighting system with auto leveling headlights.
The Limited Package installs giant 21 x 9.5 inch multi-spoke premium paint finished aluminum alloy wheels with 265/45R21 all-season tires, unique front bumper with LED daytime running lights, body-color side air vents, dark finish outside mirror housings, dark finish taillights, clear center high mounted stoplight, stainless steel rear bumper protector, high contrast seats with deep pillow quilting, contrast interior stitching, deep pillow quilted center armrest with contrast stitching, dark headliner and pillars, open pore wood with aluminum flake on center console, climate control front seats, aluminum pedals, and Limited Badge for $5,000.
The $3,550 Sport Package provides adaptive front lighting system with auto leveling headlights, solid magnesium paddle shifters, contrast stitched sport style front seats with thigh support, contrast stitched rear seats, contrast interior stitching , dark headliner and pillars, climate controlled front seats, aluminum pedals, driver’s seat with power 4-way bolster adjustment, dark headlights, dark side air vents, dark outside mirror housings, dark front grille, dark fog light trim, dark roof rails, dark tailgate trim, dark lower door trim, and dark 21-inch dark finished wheels. The QX70 AWD is available with all the same packages and adds Intelligent All Wheel Drive for $47,650.