First Drive: 2015 Infiniti QX70S
After the launch of the Infiniti Q50, Infiniti took that as an opportunity to re-brand its products with a whole new ‘Q’ line-up. In the world of re-branding, a new name means a new product; however, Infiniti didn’t want to go too far over their quarterly marketing budget and left well enough alone; case-in point, the QX70, once known as the FX37. In 2013 we took a look at the Infiniti FX37 and it gave us mixed feelings, while it was a fun sporty crossover, we thought it was too expensive and starting to mature for its age. So we ask ourselves, has much changed in two years and what exactly is new for the outgoing 2015 model… besides its new QX70 name plate?
Nearly 7 years into its second generation, the QX70 continues to be quite a looker in its unique structure and odd design cues. The overall style and scheme endures a certain flair and finesse. Infiniti offered us something special though… The Sport Package! At an added cost of $3,250, the Sport Package changes the entire temperament of the QX70. Upgraded with black 21” wheels, black roof rails, a black grille, and black side moldings, the QX70 is transformed into an ostentatious, “look at me” high-roller. And against our Graphite Shadow paint, it makes for an extraordinary combinational contrast.
Once crossed the $440 optional illuminated Infiniti threshold, the sharp look only endures. Continuing the Sport Package, our sampled interior was upgraded with power adjustable driver and passenger black leather sport seats that presented unique purple contrast stitching. And that’s just the start of something good. The interior is still very modern and appealing. The swooping 3-dimensional dash mixed with dark glossy accents and silver trims adds a contemporary touch. For sport engineered seats, they are superbly comfortable featuring thigh extensions as well as a heated and ventilated feature (as part of the Sport Package). Rear passenger will enjoy commodious rear leg room and head room with a 3-point reclining seat.
Our sampled QX70 also featured the $4,300 Premium Package that complements an 8-inch color touch screen that features Navigation, Around View Monitor, Dual Memory Seats, and Power Tilting Steering Wheel. The dated Navigation system is starting to show some of its draw backs in quality and refinement. The screen comes off pixilated and somewhat cartoonish. And the Around View Camera is not up to industry standards.
But let’s get back to that lingering question: what’s new for 2015? Infiniti has beefed up their Technology Package. For $2,950 this includes Intelligent Cruise Control (Radar Guided), Lane Departure Warning, Lane Departure Prevention, Intelligent Brake Assist with Forward Collision Warning, Distance Control, Adaptive HID Bi-Xenon Headlights, Rain-Sensing Wipers, and Front Pre-Crash Seat Belts. Infiniti has quite the interesting set up here. With the Lane Departure Prevention system, it detects when you are veering from your lane and applies the brakes subtly on the opposite side maneuvering you back into your lane. The Intelligent Brake Assist and Distance Control system uses the radar system to detect the vehicle in front of you; if it senses you approaching a vehicle too quickly, it sends feedback to the gas pedal signaling you to release the throttle. If you approach too quickly and it senses not enough time to slow down, the Intelligent Brake Assist will kick in and start to apply the brakes for you.
The Technology Package is a unique system Infiniti has. There is a down side, but not what you’re probably thinking; in order to get this system to engage, you must push the button on the steering wheel each time you start the car. We like the driving aids, but like most drivers, as soon as we get in the car we’ll forget to turn this system on. It’s a system worth investing in, if safety is your priority. But if it isn’t engaged all the time, it can render the extra $2,950 a wasted feature.
There isn’t much difference under the hood between now and the last time we drove the FX37. This QX70 continues its 3.7-liter V6 with a rear-wheel drive arrangement. With 325 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque to play with, the QX70 is no slouch when it comes to performance. Infiniti’s reformatted 7-speed transmission picks up the slack and will carry the QX70 to 60 mph in just over 6 seconds and a top speed nearing 140 mph. Braking is substantially good for an SUV of this size and weight, with a stopping distance of less than 160 feet from 70 mph.
For the 2015 model, Infiniti has eliminated the optional 5.0-liter V8. And where the V8 model offered up magnesium paddle shifters, they can now be offered in the 3.7-liter under that luring Sport Package. With the addition of the paddle shifters, the drivability of the QX70 becomes much more enjoyable. You get more of that sports car feel without the sports car limitations. The QX70 drives and handles like a sports car, a big heavy sports car – the steering is tight and responsive to the driver’s needs and the suspension is snug for good cornering. The rough suspension can get tiring though when going over speed bumps and pot holes. And unlike a sports car, the QX70 is decent on fuel consumption average 17 mpg city and 24 mpg highway. During our week we averaged nearly 19 mpg on Premium grade fuel and a decent range of 400 miles.
Much like the FX37 we drove two years ago, we are back to being torn. The QX70 is a good sporty SUV; it still looks good after 7 years, it drives and performs great, and with that Sport Package, its desirability shoots sky high. Purchasing one will never make for a dull moment. But the QX70 is indeed overdue for an update, and for that, we are not so sure it’s worth the $58,000 price tag.
|2015 Infiniti QX70:||$45,850|
|Notable Standard Features:|
|3.7L – V6 – 325 Horsepower/267 lb-ft torque|
|Power Sliding Sunroof|
|Power Lift Tailgate|
|Illuminated Kick Plates||$440|