2014 Infiniti QX70 3.7 AWD Review: Introduction
The 2014 Infiniti QX70 is a crossover that succeeds where so many others have failed - a 'coupe-like' SUV that actually sells in respectable numbers compared to failures like the Acura ZDX, and, to a lesser extent, the BMW X6. The QX70 (née the FX) might have done better than its rivals due to a clever combination of relatively affordable pricing and the almost complete avoidance of the crossover-coupe fad in any of its advertising, preferring instead to focus on the vehicle's sporty driving experience and aggressive styling.
With a genuinely engaging driving experience sitting underneath its eye-catching looks, and more than a token amount of utility lurking behind its hatchback, the 2014 Infiniti QX70 is an intriguing option for mid-size luxury shoppers. Just make sure that you know what you are getting into before plunking down your cash for this premium crossover, because it's definitely not going to check the same boxes as competitors like the BMW X5 and the Acura MDX.
2014 Infiniti QX70 3.7 AWD Review: Models and Prices
The 2014 Infiniti QX70 essentially comes in two versions: the base model with its 3.7-liter V-6 (MSRP $44,950), and the top-trim edition motivated by a 5.0-liter V-8 (MSRP $61,500). Standard equipment for the QX70 includes HID headlights, dual automatic climate control, keyless entry, power windows and door locks, a rearview camera, 18-inch rims, a power liftgate, a moonroof, LED tail lights, fog lights, tinted windows, heated leather seats with power adjustment, a leather-wrapped shift knob, Bluetooth connectivity, enormous 21-inch rims, and a reclining rear seat. Infiniti treats the all-wheel drive version of the V-6 model as a separate trim level (MSRP $46,400), while the 5.0 AWD model includes this feature free of charge and also adds roof rails, ventilated front seats, entry and exit assist for the driver, wood trim, Bluetooth audio streaming, tilt and telescoping steering, a navigation system, and Infiniti's most advanced climate control filtration system.
I spent a week with the Infiniti QX70 3.7 AWD, outfitted with the Premium package (navigation, memory seats, Bluetooth streaming audio, roof rails, Around View camera system, tilt and telescopic steering, parking sonar), the Deluxe Touring package (quilted stitching on the leather seats, sporty aluminum pedals, a cargo cover, maple wood trim, ventilated seats, 20-inch rims), and the Technology package (adaptive cruise control, a number of active safety features, and rain-sensing windshield wipers). These options boosted the sticker price of my test vehicle significantly, with the bottom line reading $56,650. This includes a $995 charge for 'Miscellaneous,' perhaps the most mysterious line item I've ever seen on a build sheet.
2014 Infiniti QX70 3.7 AWD Review: Design
- The 2014 Infiniti QX70 3.7 does not offer any new design elements for the current model year.
It's got a new name and a few new badges, but aside from that the 2014 Infiniti QX70 doesn't offer anything fresh from a visual perspective for the current model year. The QX70 has long been one of one of the boldest designs in the Infiniti stable, and it's the SUV's ability to avoid the awkward dimensions of other slope-roofed rivals that has helped it avoid being tarred with the same crossover-coupe brush of shame. The QX70 is quite honestly the most aggressive mid-size luxury SUV money can buy, with huge front fenders leading up to a bulging hood and a sneering grille that dares the Mercedes-Benz M-Class in the lane beside it to 'make a move.'
Infiniti interiors are typically more restrained than their exterior styling would suggest, but the mix of leather (especially the gorgeous quilted stitching), straight-forward gauge displays, and unexpected wood trim is classy enough to qualify for the luxury SUV segment. If anything, the QX70 contains a bit too much hard plastic considering its sticker price, but there are no other visual faux-pas to call out inside the crossover.
2014 Infiniti QX70 3.7 AWD Review: Comfort and Cargo
- The 2014 Infiniti QX70 3.7 is unchanged compared to the previous model year.
If the 2014 Infiniti QX70 has an Achilles' heel, it's interior volume. If you happen to be sitting up front in this mid-size crossover, you won't have any issues with space or comfort at all - because that's exactly how Infiniti intended things. This is a sporty crossover that's pilot-focused, which means that those sitting in the second tier of accommodations will be feeling the squeeze in terms of both legroom and headroom. I'm on the shorter side, so I didn't have a problem with the QX70's roof dropping down so abruptly, but I can easily see how six-footers would be complaining. I definitely noticed that leg room for back seat passengers isn't in the same league as several of the Infiniti's Japanese and German rivals, which is something to take into consideration for anyone pondering the QX70 in the role of family hauler.
Also serving to dim the Infiniti's chances as a people mover is its below-average cargo room. You've got about 20 percent more room between the rear seat back and the Infiniti's hatch than you would in a full-size sedan, which clearly isn't enough to haul luggage for four for more than a couple of days. Folding down the back bench frees up 62 cubic feet, which is much more useful but again, overshadowed by similarly-sized rivals with more generous cargo holds.
2014 Infiniti QX70 3.7 AWD Review: Features and Controls
- The 2014 Infiniti QX70 3.7 does not gain any new controls compared to the previous model year.
The 2014 Infiniti QX70 continues the brand's tradition of offering easy-to-use controls for everything from its outstanding touchscreen interface for its navigation and entertainment systems to its straight-forward heating and cooling system. About the only thing I didn't like about the QX70's buttons and knobs were the pair of flat surfaces mounted on the side of the gauge cowl that were used to interact with the small LCD screen between the tachometer and the speedometer - it's an awkward reach over or around the steering wheel to get to them, and they really should be on the wheel itself.
I would like to single out and praise Infiniti for resisting the temptation to relocate its very useful seat heating and cooling dials from the console to the touch screen. My mittened fingers salute you.
2014 Infiniti QX70 3.7 AWD Review: Safety and Ratings
- The 2014 Infiniti QX70 does not introduce any new safety features.
The 2014 Infiniti QX70's Technology package - which came with my test vehicle - is loaded to the gills with advanced safety gear. The vehicle's lane departure monitoring and intervention system uses the crossover's brakes to re-align it with the lines on the pavement should it stray too far out of line, although in practice I found that the system was more effective at slower speeds than on the highway. A blind spot monitoring system is of course also offered with the Infiniti, but what I was most impressed with was the Distance Control Assistant (DCA), which automatically braked the QX70 when it detected slower traffic ahead. This meant I could creep through rush hour barely touching the brake at all - something I appreciated during late-afternoon slogs. DCA even works above a crawl, pushing the accelerator pedal back to suggest you slow down in the event you get cut-off, or are surprised by a pokey driver in your lane. Included free of charge with the QX70 are seat-mounted side airbags up front, dual forward airbags, electronic stability control and traction control, and side curtain airbags.
2014 Infiniti QX70 3.7 Crash-Test Ratings: The Infiniti posted a score of 'Good' in the moderate overlap front collision test, but has not been fully evaluated by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The NHTSA has not published crash test data for the QX70.
2014 Infiniti QX70 3.7 AWD Review: Engines and Fuel Economy
- The 2014 Infiniti QX70 continues to offer last year's drivetrain options.
The 3.7-liter V-6 that serves as the base engine in the 2014 Infiniti QX70 produces a healthy 325 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque, matched with a seven-speed automatic transmission and the choice of either rear or all-wheel drive. The QX70 5.0 AWD makes all-wheel drive standard and substitutes a 5.0-liter V-8 for the six-cylinder unit, improving output to 390 horses and 369 lb-ft of twist (while maintaining the same seven-speed autobox).
Fuel mileage for the V-6 checks in at 17-mpg in city driving and 24-mpg on the highway, and the V-8 drops the QX70's rating to 14-mpg around town and 20-mpg on the highway. I saw a less than stellar 14-mpg in mixed driving for my all-wheel drive-equipped model.
2014 Infiniti QX70 3.7 AWD Review: Driving Impressions
The 2014 Infiniti QX70 3.7 AWD is a lot of fun to drive. That's not something that gets written often about mid-size SUVs, especially those that aren't gifted with an overwhelming amount of horsepower. How does the QX70 do it? It's actually a time-honored practice of automotive development that is largely ignored in the utility segment: take a chassis that's responsive and willing to dance in the corners, add a motor that matches, but doesn't exceed that particular platform's limits, and give it enough grip to combat its weight penalty. In the case of the Infiniti, it certainly helps that the crossover's platform has been cribbed in large part from the brand's entry-level sport sedan, giving it an unfair advantage over more staid competitors like the Lexus RX.
Another point in the QX70's favor is its all-wheel drive system, which doesn't just keep the power planted to the pavement when accelerating off of the line but also maintains a distinct rear bias in order to preserve the SUV's sharper-than-average handling feel. The Infiniti is able to shuttle power to the front axle when things get slippery, and the QX70's ability to handle a rain-slicked road was impressive. As much as 50/50 torque split is permitted by the vehicle's all-wheel drive system.
I was expecting the 2014 Infiniti QX70's 3.7-liter V-6 to be somewhat overwhelmed by the extra weight of the crossover, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the six-cylinder mill was more than up to the task of keeping things interesting with the go-pedal mashed to the floor. About the only place you notice that the QX70 3.7 AWD doesn't have V-8 levels of torque is when launching hard from a stop, as everywhere else in the rev range the engine is a willing co-conspirator. Personally, I would stick with the six-cylinder in order to avoid the V-8's even heavier fuel mileage penalty, as this engine is worthy of the QX70's nicely-tuned chassis.
2014 Infiniti QX70 3.7 AWD Review: Final Thoughts
I enjoyed driving the 2014 Infiniti QX70 3.7 AWD. The vehicle is by far one of the best-looking luxury SUVs around, and it achieves this by way of a more daring presentation than most of its brethren. It's also quick, relatively nimble given its size, and comfortable…as long as you get to sit up front.
The rub against the QX70 is that it's not really a family crossover. The popular attitude seems to be that if an SUV can't tow a trailer or haul an extended flotilla of kids and cousins it doesn't belong on the market. I've personally never subscribed to that point of view and I am happy that Infiniti doesn't either, as it doesn't leave any room for designs that cater to more niche tastes, especially with regards to performance. The 2014 Infiniti QX70 never tries to be anything it's not, but it does succeed in areas where rivals fail, providing a fun and stylish ride that can handle couple of friends or a load of gear in a pinch.
2014 Infiniti QX70 3.7 AWD Review: Pros and Cons
2014 Infiniti QX70 3.7 AWD Review: Pros and Cons
- Playful V-6 power plant
- Aggressive looks that scare the pants off of other luxury SUVs
- Affordable pricing in base trim
- Rear-wheel drive model for those who don't live in the snowbelt
- Excellent all-wheel drive traction for those who do
- Advanced safety features for days
- Limited utility with a full load of passengers
- Small backseat
- Adding options can quickly inflate its price
- Fuel consumption is best characterized as 'robust.'
Nissan Canada supplied the vehicle for this review.