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2017 INFINITI QX70
New Car Test Drive

Introduction

The Infiniti QX70, last redesigned for 2009, is a rear-wheel-drive wagon with a racy roofline and muscular hunchback that holds a bit more than the trunk of a sedan. All-wheel drive is available.

QX70 is known for its sharp handling, a driver’s crossover built on the platform of the since-replaced G37 sports sedan (and Nissan Z sports car). The first-generation was one of the first vehicles to cross over from car to SUV. It still looks distinctive, if for no other reason than today there are few of them on the road. Now seven years old, it’s a dated product.

The QX70 engine has evolved from an early V8 to Infiniti’s tried-and-true 3.7-liter V6, but not yet to its latest and smoother V6 that’s in other models. The engine in the 2017 QX70 makes 325 horsepower and is torquey, mated to a 7-speed automatic transmission with sport mode and rev-matching downshifts, better than a CVT and many 9-speeds.

For 2017, a new Limited Package is available with special exterior and interior trim.

All-wheel-drive is available, improving capability for winter climates and for driving in mud and sand, but the QX70 is not off-road rugged.

It gets an EPA-rated 17/24/19 miles per gallon City/Highway/Combined with rear-wheel drive; with all-wheel drive it’s one less mpg.

Model Lineup

The Infiniti QX70 comes with a high level of standard equipment, and most of the cars in showrooms will come with the Premium package adding navigation, surround-view camera, and a few other things. The Sport and Limited packages include 21-inch wheels, and bring a more aggressive or premium look to the exterior and interior.

A Technology package adds adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, and lane departure warning.

Model Lineup

The QX70 is the oldest design in Infiniti’s lineup, but its sinewy sheetmetal gives the impression of careful craftsmanship. It makes rivals like the Mercedes GLE and BMW X6 look like sedans with altered rooflines, which is about what they are.

Walkaround

In the cabin, being a driver’s car, the dramatic details of the QX70 surpass those of family crossovers. It’s warm and inviting, the soft leather quilted with tasteful tinted stitching, and the rich wood embedded with flakes of aluminum, with the Limited package. Other interior options are piano black lacquer or old-world wood. The overall fit and finish is well above average.

The twin-cowl instrument panel is less elegant, with many buttons, which we’ll take for their efficiency over touchscreen menus any day. The QX70 doesn’t use Infiniti’s latest infotainment system.

The firm front seats are delightful, with broad adjustability and enveloping support for the driver and passenger. Long hours in the saddle will be enjoyable. The seat height is somewhere between a sedan and an SUV (like the rest of the car), a satisfying balance between forward visibility and ease of entrance.

Too bad the rear is so squeezed, with acceptable headroom and legroom limited to passengers no taller than about five-foot-seven. And the racy roofline requires dipping your head to climb in back.

Cargo space is slim, too, good only for a couple of roll-on bags. It’s the nature of the design, with the roofline and high floor. You’ll find yourself folding the rear seats a lot. The power liftgate is convenient, though.

The cabin isn’t so quiet. The road rumbles and the engine growls, perpetually.

Interior

Just as the old G37 sports sedan handled so well, so still does the QX70, even if it does pay the price with a firm ride that some crossover buyers might not want to pay. And it gets stiffer with the available 20-inch wheels, or 21-inch wheels in the Sport and Limited packages, to the point of sometimes feeling harsh and choppy. The standard wheels and tires offer a more comfortable ride.

But if cornering is your priority, the QX70 is your game, as it’s one of the best-handling crossovers available. Despite weighing 4200 pounds, it feels fairly light on its feet. It loves canyon roads, where it’s poised and confident. We can’t think of any other crossovers that we can say that about.

The 325-horsepower, 3.7-liter V6 accelerates briskly from any rpm point, and the 7-speed automatic shifts quickly and smoothly. The transmission has a sport mode and downshifts are rev-matched. It’s fun to work the magnesium paddle shifters on the Sport model.

The all-wheel drive adds about 200 pounds that makes the QX70 feel less agile. It comes with all-season tires that take some grip out of cornering, and still might not be grippy enough for heavy snow. All-season tires are always a compromise, often a good one but still a compromise. Not the best in summer, not the best in winter, but you can get by with just one set.

Driving Impressions

If you’re a driving enthusiast and it’s a wagon you want, the QX70 is about as close as you can come to a thoroughbred. You’ll love your time in the twisties. But be prepared for a firm ride, and be willing to squeeze your backseat passengers, and to settle for a V6 that isn’t Infiniti’s latest.

Sam Moses contributed to this report.


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