Tested: 2016 Infiniti QX70 AWD

Meet the luxury SUV with the soul of a sports car.

In the winter months leading into spring up in the Northeast, most automotive loans are understandably SUVs. Sports cars and performance-oriented models are still hibernating, waiting for the roads to thaw and the salt to clear. It’s this lull in excitable automobiles that keeps us chomping at the bit for the sun to pound the pavement. And while most SUVs could be chosen at random in a lineup, the Infiniti QX70 is one of those rare breeds that make driving incredibly fun in any season.

 

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Technically a crossover, the QX70 AWD makes driving an SUV a lot of fun. It’s a luxury SUV with the soul of a sports car. The only other crossover I’ve driven with this amount of character was the Porsche Macan, and that’s saying a lot since the Porsche comes from a sports car family; not a luxury brand. The Infiniti is a 6,800-rpm redline screamer where almost everything is tailored for the performance enthusiast. It’s a beautifully balanced package with luxury fulfilling most needs of comfort, and power and stability providing the rest.

 

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At the heart of the QX70 is a 325 horsepower 3.7-liter V6 that doesn’t have a ton of torque (267 lb.-ft), but with a 7-speed transmission and well-selected ratios, that doesn't seem to matter. It’s quick and nimble with its acceleration, and ever present is the high-revving nature, which will allow you to wring out the motor, keeping it in the power band.

 

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This is a crossover you can really pound through the turns. Fixed magnesium paddle shifters on the available ‘Sport Package’ add to the flair of shifting yourself. And for an automatic, it does a great job of matching revs while downshifting without feeling like an old slush box.

 

With its short front and rear overhangs, wheels pushed to the corners, and independent suspension all around, the QX70 is confidently stable on the highway, but most impressive on the back roads. Well-bolstered front seats add to the supportive feeling of being able to soak up the twists on a consistently well-refined basis. This is truly a sport SUV in every sense.

 

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Where the QX70—and Infinitis overall in my opinion—fall flat is in the layout and ergonomics of the cabin. The interior of the QX70 is extremely easy to use with functional buttons, but it needs updating. The instrument display could use a better mix of digital and analog, with more modern amenities and features available at your fingertips. Also, the placement of the gauge’s buttons on the dashboard is inconvenient and unsafe—while driving since you have to reach over the steering wheel to access vehicle information.

 

Overall, apart from some nitpicking, the QX70 mixes plenty of luxurious amenities: leather seating, HID headlights, sunroof as standard, and a host of vehicle safety system, into an SUV that allows you freedom from boredom on the road. Sport utility vehicles are great because you don’t have to think about much while driving their comfortable, all-encompassing cushiness and abilities. The QX70 makes you think about driving in an automotive world that sometimes puts the car above the actual driving.

 

Spec Check:

Efficiency:      16/22/18 mpg (city/highway/combined)

0-60 MPH:     6.1 seconds

Top Speed:     142 mph

Horsepower:   325 horsepower

Torque:           267 lb.-ft.

Cost:               $47,300 (base)/$59,630(as tested)

 


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