9 Jan 2014

Infiniti QX70 3.0d S Review

Matt Hubbard reviews the Infiniti QX70, formerly known as the Infiniti FX

Infiniti QX70

Infiniti is a part of Nissan.  Just as Lexus' are posh Toyotas, Infinitis are posh Nissans.  The QX70 is its SUV.  The test car was the 3.0d S which has a 3 litre V6 diesel engine.

The car looks good for an SUV.  It sits tall, on 22 inch wheels, but has an almost coupĂ©-like body with curvaceous bodywork, a low roofline and raked rear window.

It's an intentional look and one designed to compete more with the BMW X6 than Land Rover Discovery - and it works.  Whereas the X6 comes across as a beacon of tastelessness the QX70's aggressive styling just seems to work.

The trademark Infiniti bulges on the bonnet and low seating position (for an SUV) make it feel like a car when you are sitting in it.  This is intentional and, again, it works.  Infiniti knows SUVs sell well so make one, but without the agricultural image.

The interior is the usual Japanese mix of high-tech, great seats and slightly iffy plastics.  The QX70 seats five.  The front seats are electrically adjustable, comfortable but also body hugging and with good lumbar support.  The rear seats are spacious and only the person in the middle won't feel quite so comfortable.
Infiniti QX70 interior

There's decent leg room in the back too.  The leather used on all the seats feels soft and rather lovely.  the front seats have 'INFINITI' and the logo stitched into them.

The instrument console looks good with stylish dials and a small screen in between the speedo and rev counter.  The centre console covers climate control and radio on two distinct areas on the horizontal plane.  Above that is the infoscreen, with another set of buttons for satnav and phone on an angled plane just below the screen.

It is all functionally sensible but can appear a bit of a mess of colours when the light starts to dim and you notice the reds, blues and yellows more.  Also, when working the touchscreen one normally rests a hand somewhere whilst jabbing at the screen with a finger.  Because the buttons are below the screen you can easily press something you didn't want to.

That notwithstanding the infoscreen functions well with a good satnav and a great sound system that only lacks digital radio.  Come on Nissan/Infiniti, this is the 21st century. We need DAB as standard in all your cars.  Still, smartphone integration is almost seamless.  It did have the occasional strop and drop the Bluetooth link every now and again.

The passengers sit low in the car, with the belt line at shoulder height, unlike at elbow height in most normal SUVs.

The controls are all sensibly placed.  The pedals are typical SUV in that your legs dangle down from the seat and sit perfectly on the accelerator and brake.  The steering wheel adjusts up and down and in and out.
Infiniti QX70

It's an automatic (with a 7-speed gearbox) and the paddles are column mounted.  They're pretty huge but you still miss them when the steering wheel is more than 75 degrees off centre.  The next generation  QX70 really needs wheel mounted paddles.

The boot is the big loser in the QX70's styling stakes.  It has a very high floor,  not much depth and, due to the rake of the rear line, not much space generally.

The rear differential can account for some boot height, and so can a spare wheel, so I checked under the boot floor to find nothing more than the battery, a tyre inflation kit and an amplifier for the sound system.

The QX70 shares a platform with the Nissan 370Z.  This seems to have compromised the boot area somewhat, which is a pity.  For it to be a genuine family car it needs more space for a family's gubbins.

As previously described the driver sits low for an SUV, and the bonnet is almost horizontal.  When at the wheel this means visibility is compromised and placing the car when parking is difficult.  Instead you have to rely on the beeps from the parking aids.

Also, looking over your shoulder the tinted and stylishly curved rear windows further hinder visibility.  It's quite a big car and feels it when manoeuvring at low speed.  Over the course of a week I learned to judge the distance to our other car, a tree, hedge, gate and wheelie bin when reversing the QX70 out of the drive.  When parking at the supermarket you often find the car sticks out of the row, and has too much space to the car in front, purely because you can't judge distances very well.

Get going on the open road and you forgive the small boot, lack of visibility and sometimes duff plastics.  It's a great car to drive.
Infiniti QX70 boot

I scanned a couple of reviews of the QX70 and was told the ride is too harsh and road noise is intrusive.  Absolute balderdash.

This is where the 370Z's origins benefit the QX70.  The ride is absolutely not firm, nor is it soft.  It's a nicely balanced compromise that soothes the spine and thrills the brain when the mood takes.

Steering is light and accurate and allows for better road placement than when performing parking manoeuvres.  On the motorway it rides well.  You sit higher than normal cars but lower than Range Rovers.

I tried Infiniti's adaptive cruise control 12 months ago and thought it quite brilliant.  Since then I've tried a few different manufacturer's systems and the Infiniti's ACC is not quite up to scratch.  It works perfectly until a car moves into the lane in front, and fails to notice that car until the last minute.

The new Infiniti Q50's ACC is meant to be the most advanced on the market, reading three cars ahead. The QX70 sorely needs a version of that to compete with the best.

Otherwise, kick back and cruise in style and with a good sound system and the QX70 eats motorway miles for breakfast.

Off the motorway it's a pretty good hustler, belying its 2.2 tons.  The steering and brakes are great allowing for a decent amount of fun.  Again it eats up the miles and takes the stress out of driving on overcrowded roads.
Infiniti QX70

The engine is a 3-litre V6 diesel with a single turbocharger allied to a 7-speed automatic gearbox.  It has  235 bhp and 405 lb-ft of torque.  This is plenty enough to haul the car around.  0-60 takes 8.3 seconds.

It never feels slow.  In fact it feels spritely.  The gearbox is a bit lazy on kick down - you really have to plant your foot - but otherwise works efficiently.  I often found myself using the paddles to pull down a gear or two when approaching a corner or roundabout and the 'box returned to automatic mode straight afterwards.

Economy is quoted as 33mpg on the combined cycle.  You will just about match this on the motorway but take it for a run and it soon dips down into the 20s.

The suspension has a Sport setting.  This stiffens it up and supposedly allows for better handling.  I never really found the need, despite being an enthusiastic driver.  The ride becomes more firm but the improvement in handling is so minuscule as to be hardly worth the effort.

Overall the Infiniti QX70 is a compromise of SUV and coupe.  You'd buy one for style, rather than practicality reasons, but it still is fairly practical.  A Range Rover Sport does the job much better but is much more expensive (and the Range Rover's interior is vastly superior).  The Evoque is smaller  (and cheaper) but doesn't feel smaller inside.

The QX70's natural competitors are the Porsche Cayenne and BMW X6.  It looks better than both, and escapes the image problems of both - and is slightly cheaper than both.  But the Infiniti brand isn't as strong as either, although the X6 is leading the BMW brand downhill.  The Porsche Macan may be the QX70's most devastating competitor.

At this price point in this market the QX70 has some serious competition.  If you buy one you won't feel like you bought the wrong car.  It's hugely capable.  If you can live with the interior plastics, small boot and lack of digital radio and are a confident parker, and like the styling of the QX70, then you're on to a winner.


Power - 235 bhp
Torque - 405 lb-ft
Engine - 3-litre V6 diesel
Transmission - 7-speed automatic
0-60mph - 8.3 seconds
Top speed - 132 mph (limited)
Economy - 32.8 mpg
CO2 - 225 g/km
Weight - 2,175 kg
Price - £44,455
Infiniti QX70 interior

Infiniti QX70 rear seats

Infiniti QX70 under the boot floor

Review by Matt Hubbard