By on April 22, 2015

2015 Infiniti QX70

Fifteen years ago, buying a practical luxury car to replace a Honda Accord meant going down to your BMW, Mercedes, Lexus, or occasionally, Audi showroom and coming back with a 5-Series, E-Class, GS, or if you were particularly brave, an A6. All these brands except Audi had SUVs at the time though, but they were hardly replacements for a midsize luxury sport sedan. The Mercedes ML handled like a truck while the RX300 wasn’t exactly intended for the sport sedan driver, something emphasized by the number of moms and AARP members who bought them at the time. Meanwhile, my dad test drove an X5 and 5-Series back to back and promptly bought a 530i.

But no one fifteen years ago would have considered Infiniti, whose only rear-drive sedan was the full-size Q45, which no one bought. A few years later, Infiniti went through a product renaissance, bringing out the Infiniti G35 (which many people bought), the M (the one based on the JDM Nissan Gloria few people bought), and an updated Q45 (which even fewer people bought). In 2003, they also brought out a sporty crossover – the FX. It was meant to compete with the X5, Porsche Cayenne, and XC90, but the FX was dramatically better on-road than off-road compared to most of its competitors. The FX, despite being smaller and not capable of tackling off-road trails, became a sales success for Infiniti.

And that success influenced its competition. The Cayenne became less off-road oriented, losing its dedicated two-range transfer case and getting much more rounded styling. BMW ended up creating the X6 from the X5. Acura joined the fray with the ZDX. Mercedes is finally entering the “crossover-coupe” market with the GLE Coupe.

Meanwhile, Infiniti now calls the FX the QX70 as part of Infiniti’s new naming system. It was last redesigned in 2008, around the time the X6 was released. The V8 is no longer available. Instead of the rounded trapezoid grille, the grille is now shaped like a wide rounded hourglass with a massive Infiniti emblem in the center.

First off, I cannot complain about the QX70’s performance, especially with the $3,550 Sport Package. Though the active rear steering and continuous damping control features that used to be part of the sport package are gone for 2015, the QX70 handled like any other sport package-equipped midsize luxury sedan. Driving it on the country roads around my house, the QX70 stuck to the road in corners at speeds where most SUVs would begin squealing their tires largely thanks to its black-colored 21-inch Enkei wheels. The 3.7-liter V6 had plenty of power handy while the seven-speed transmission was always selecting the right gear during my period of spirited driving.

The sport package also added to the visual effects of the QX70 with the aforementioned Enkei wheels, a black painted front grille, roof rails, and miscellaneous exterior and interior trim bits. It further included heated and cooled seats with power-adjustable bolsters. However, as good as the Sport Package was on a smooth and winding roads, I didn’t like it on the highway; the ride was compromised by the potholes and uneven pavement surfaces of Northern California’s roads. If you care more for the ride, but want upgraded interior trim and the heated/cooled seats, select the $3,300 Deluxe Touring Package which comes with 20-inch wheels too.

As for the interior, the front seats were very comfortable. I drove the QX70S to Napa from San Jose and back in one day (probably four to five hours of driving total) and I or my passenger didn’t feel stiff at all. An aspect of the seat some potential buyers might dislike is that the lumbar support is only adjustable two ways (forwards and backwards). Hopefully, future QX70 models can correct that. Additionally, thanks to the high seating position, I had a much better view of the road unlike most sedans. However, while the front seats are satisfying, there isn’t enough legroom for rear seat passengers. While the back seats are fine for children, most adults can tolerate sitting in the back of the QX70 for two hours at the most, though adults who are well over six feet won’t like sitting in the back at all. As a result, if you regularly travel with many passengers, getting a larger crossover or a midsize luxury sedan may be a better call.

Another aspect of the interior I noticed was that the trunk doesn’t have much more room than a large sedan thanks to the rakish styling. It would be difficult to fit a normal bicycle inside the interior even with all the rear seats folded down. Despite the lack of cargo space, Infiniti does include a temporary spare tire under the trunk placed around the Bose subwoofer. Additionally, I didn’t like the oval-shaped analog clock in the dashboard, which I thought detracted from the sporty interior theme of the QX70. I’m hoping an updated version of the QX70 will have a much-better designed clock.

When it comes to the onboard toys, which is where most Infinitis shine, the QX70 oddly lacks a few key features like the availability of a blind spot monitoring or warning system. However, my test car had the Lane Departure Warning system, part of the $2.950 Technology Package, which does sound if the wheels go onto the shoulder. When I was driving the QX70 on the highway, I ended up turning off the Lane Departure Warning since whenever I swerved to avoid potholes or uneven pavement surfaces (which happens with regularity on California highways), the alarm would sound. The car was also equipped with Forward Collision Warning, warning me if the car in front suddenly slowed down; and Distance Control Assist, which assessed the gap between me and the car in front. Both features were quite useful.

On the subject of fuel economy, the QX70S didn’t deliver as good numbers as I’d hoped. The EPA figures are 17 mpg city and 24 mpg highway with 19 mpg combined for the rear-drive model. All-wheel-drive models are rated at 16 mpg city and 22 mpg highway with 18 mpg combined. For a modern crossover with a V6, the QX70 should deliver better numbers, preferably well over 20 mpg combined. Though I managed around 22.5 miles per gallon, indicated by the display in the gauge cluster, that figure was achieved with plenty of highway driving. Once you hit stop-and-go traffic, fuel economy immediately begins to suffer thanks to the amount of fuel needed to sustain all 3.7 liters of that V6.

The price of my rear-drive QX70 test car came to $58,085 with a $995 destination charge, which is in line with most midsize luxury sport sedans that have similar levels of equipment. Considering a six-cylinder BMW X6, Porsche Cayenne, and the upcoming Mercedes GLE Coupe have prices well above $60,000 with a similar level of equipment (though they all have all-wheel-drive standard), the Infiniti is priced very well. Even at its base price of $46,845 including destination, there’s a plenty of standard equipment such as the Bose sound system, the Infiniti Intelligent key, the 10-way power seats, power-folding mirrors, and power liftgate.

In conclusion, if you want something different from the usual Lexus GS or BMW 5-Series, appreciate a high riding height, don’t want to pay the insane prices for a Porsche Cayenne or BMW X6, and don’t need a large three-row luxury SUV like an Acura MDX or Audi Q7, the Infiniti QX70 might fill that gap. It handles very, very well while maintaining a degree of comfort for the driver and lacks the extra weight and complexity of its competitors. In this day and age, it’s now possible to consider a crossover rather than a sport sedan, and the QX70 is a solid choice if you want a tall, well-handling touring vehicle all to yourself.

Infiniti provided the vehicle, insurance, and one tank of gas for the review. 

Satish Kondapavulur is a writer for Clunkerture, where about a fifth of the articles are about old cars and where his one-time LeMons racing dreams came to an end once he realized it was impossible to run a Ferrari Mondial. His current car is an E39 BMW 530i with an automatic transmission, no sports package, and a newly fixed cooling system.

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34 Comments on “2015 Infiniti QX70S RWD Review...”


  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    “All these brands except Audi had SUVs at the time though”

    Must disagree here. In 2000, the A6 Allroad was available, is car based like the RX, and is more capable than any except maybe the X5. Full-time Quattro and adjustable air suspension allowed it to complete a Land Rover test course.

    • 0 avatar
      John R

      That might be a bit of a stretch. That, to me, would be like calling the Subaru Outback an SUV when really both are AWD wagons with a modest increase ride height.

      http://goo.gl/zUVX9t
      http://goo.gl/ntQUT5

      The profile isn’t there, really.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Have you got ground clearance figures for the X5, RX, M-Class, and the Allroad (suspension raised)? Not being sarcastic, I’m genuinely interested. If the Allroad were more stumpy, it would look like the RX and the M!

        • 0 avatar
          John R

          From Google

          X5 – 8.2″
          RX – 7.3″
          ML – 5.2″

          The Allroad’s suspesion could be adjusted to be raised as high as 8.2″ (Edmunds), HOWEVER, this setting and the other ride height settings were at the mercy of velocity. The car would be lowered to its default ride height which is less than an inch taller than the height of a standard A4 as one approached 75mph.

          For giggles, the ride height of an Outback is 8.7″.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Do we do much offroading at 75mph?

            It’s got more offroad ability than the RX and ML, and two inches more ground clearance than said ML.

            It’s an SUV!

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            That ML number seems just way off. I’d expect it to be close to the X5. Hell my Civic has something like 5.5 inches of ground clearance.

            “Inflated” clearance numbers on cars with air suspension (get it? Inflated?) is old hat, I don’t really buy the hype. When they’re in fully extended mode, there is so little suspension travel left, you’re left with this very stiff handling, odd duck on stilts. Looking at the Allroad’s wheelbase and approach and departure angles, I don’t understand how it may have supposedly done so well offroad. One of those cherry picked PR things like offroad press shots for the new Renegade and Cherokee Trailhawks. And I bet a Cherokee Trailhawk would eat an Allroad’s lunch offroad.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            “For giggles, the ride height of an Outback is 8.7″.”

            Yep. Love my Forester’s 8.5″ clearance. It’s excellent on two-track where I wouldn’t dare take a luxury CUV.

          • 0 avatar
            cimarron typeR

            that ML figure is for optional air sup. , min height, standard ML susp is 6.7 or 6.9 iirc, previous generation ML was 8.2

      • 0 avatar
        legacygt

        I would not call the Outback of 2006 an SUV but that changed with the last generation.

  • avatar
    Brumus

    Again, having looked at the rear leg/headroom and cargo capacity for this thing, it seems to be one of an increasing number of “sport utility vehicles” that’s lacking in utility.

    • 0 avatar
      Dave M.

      To be fair, I’m not sure Infiniti is the one who puts this vehicle in the “SUV” box. I wonder what micro-category can be created for this and the X6 class vehicles? Tall executive express?

      I remember how stunning the original design was. It’s been toned down a bit with the latest rehash…but still very attractive for you and a travel mate to go in style.

      I also think that this is the perfect platform for a Tesla-esque drivetrain. Gas mileage is horrible for it’s limited utility.

      • 0 avatar
        legacygt

        Categorizing this car as an SUV is yet another unfortunate result of Infiniti’s new naming scheme. I guess they’re giving anything with a 5th door the name “QX__” and they end up grouping together cars that have little else in common. The QX80 is a legitimate trucky SUV. The QX60 is a car-based CUV that has more in common with a minivan than anything else. The QX50 and QX70 probably have the most in common although the QX50 gets less sporty treatment than the QX70 even though they are both derived from the Q60 sedan. All part of Infiniti’s master plan to confuse customers into submission.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    “Additionally, I didn’t like the oval-shaped analog clock in the dashboard, which I thought detracted from the sporty interior theme of the QX70.”

    An Infiniti hallmark since the beginning, the oval analog clock is something you expect to be there.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    2003? Really? I knew this thing had been around forever, but I didn’t realize it was that long. The interior certainly matches that of the ’03 G35 though.

    Those black “sport” bits look awful. Like an aftermarket plasti-dip job.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I agree the sport bits don’t really work. And the center stack needs an update badly. It’s late 00s in there. The G carried this center stack for far too long.

      • 0 avatar
        tuffjuff

        Well, this is basically a G on stilts. That interior, particularly the quilted seats and generous serving of aluminum do look pretty great, though.

        • 0 avatar
          319583076

          I’ve always liked the exterior styling, the second-gen interior is worlds better than the original interior, which was terrible.

          I’ve read about transmission issues on teh FX/QX. Couple that with the limited utility, poor economy, and high sticker/resale prices compared to equivalent enthusiast-endorsed vehicles and it’s just not a compelling choice.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          It’s nice aluminum as well. Doesn’t feel flimsy in the slightest. Very nicely finished.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    I have always lusted after this vehicle because of the way it looks. The rear looks powerful and strong. Same way I feel about the Cayenne. A stupid buy, but for some reason it just looks awesome.
    I never liked the MPG or the lack of rear seat or cargo room.
    I guess you have to look at this as an expensive, unnecessary hopped up on steroids Mazda3.
    If you can afford it, then get one instead of the 3.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    I always liked this car, but it wasn’t ever really a big seller from what I remember. Not really sure if it really influenced other car models. I shopped the FX V8 pretty closely and really liked it, but opted for a BMW X5 instead. The X5 just had more practicality, more space, less thirsty, and I just liked the driving dynamics more. I still cannot believe Infinity has (by all appearances), done nothing with this thing except change the name.

  • avatar
    tuffjuff

    I’ve come close multiple times to pulling the trigger on an FX37. The engine is fantastic and overall the car is superb fun to drive, but I just can’t get over that 19-20ish MPG combined on premium rating. Maybe I could get one and run her on mid-grade…

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      My M35x gets 19-20 in town :(. It needs more gears, 5 isn’t enough for the 3.5 or the 3.7.

      • 0 avatar
        cpthaddock

        If it aint broke …

        The 3.7 V6 get respect for doing what it does naturally – without forced induction or direct injection – but there is a fuel consumption penalty to be paid in every application of this power train. Having said that, the VQ’s will be much missed when they’re replaced.

        The FX isn’t a swiss army knife do-it-all vehicle, so you’ll need to understand your priorities properly. I got my ’08 as a practical alternative to a sedan. It was tough parting with it last year after ~75k of completely flawless reliability and much spirited driving.

        • 0 avatar
          tuffjuff

          I was looking at an FX primarily because I’m 6’5 and have a bum knee so a traditional sedan is out of the question. The FX is one of the best representations of a car on stilts that I think I’ve found (I also like the X6, but it’s far too cramped on the inside even compared the FX, and I wouldn’t want to pay to maintain one). And the sound that accompanies every hard acceleration… oh my goodness.

  • avatar
    theonewhogotaway

    That interior color combination, the brown/purple seat-belt/seam and carpet over the black leather is hideous.

    Bit less hideous, but still plenty is the designation of that car. The olden days the numbers use to correspond with the side of the engine. This would be named Q37S. Nice to see it with a 7 L V12 engine on the other hand…

    Also a donut spare on a $60K car? With off-road capabilities supposedly? Spare me.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    “The V8 is gone”

    Huh. How about that. I missed that when it happened.

    Not that I’d be likely to buy one anyway, but that would make it impossible. Not because I need a V8 or 400 horsepower, but because the VQ V6 in longitudinal applications sounds like a chainsaw sealed inside a metal trashcan. It’s horrendous. I’d rather have a four-cylinder.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Does it sound better in transverse usage? I think these VQs in particular are louder because they are more tuned than in regular Nissan applications. That’s why you get more power.

  • avatar
    pb35

    No one is seriously plunking down 60k for one of these, and I’m a fan having owned a G35x for 8 years. There are just too many other options available for that money. Personally, I would go with an SQ5 or whatever it’s called.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      They hold their value really well used, look at even the gen 1 (and the accompanying lousy interior you got with it.)

      • 0 avatar
        pb35

        I hear ya. It’s one of the reasons I bought my G as it was rated one of the best vehicles to retain its value at the time (even with the cardboard center console lol).

        I kept it for 8 years and 65k and got $10k for it on trade. I could have sold it for more privately as it was like new but didn’t want to deal with it.

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    Oh god, the quilted leather is here in a normal-upmarket vehicle now. And So It Begins. Any bets on how long until there are quilted seats in a Corolla?

  • avatar
    Lee

    ” fuel economy immediately begins to suffer thanks to the amount of fuel needed to sustain all 3.7 liters of that V6.”

    Umm.. no. Economy begins to suffer because the engine has all that weight to get moving over and over”

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    Having had a 08g35x and a ’10 G37s 6mt sedan , I can vouch for reliability, had wheel bearing replaced under the factory warranty on the g37, at 30k , but thats it . For both vehicles. Couldn’t say the same for the Bimmers I’ve owned.
    Its too bad the q50 is n/a with 6mt…
    I’ll probably pick up a QX50 off lease at some point though.I’d like a turbo 4 in that chassis for commuting MPGs.

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