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Infinity QX70, most driver- focused crossover ever

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Infinity-QX70

THE Infiniti QX70, which was until last year called the FX37, or just FX, is one of the most driver-focused crossovers available—although it makes some deliberate sacrifices to be able to make that claim.  

   It’s not a trail-ready or rugged crossover by any stretch of the imagination, and it’s not space-efficient either. Instead the QX70 focuses on excellent driving dynamics, handsome looks and its legitimately luxurious interior appointments. At first glance, it’s one of the best-executed marriages of sleek lines, wagon practicality, and fast underpinnings we’ve seen. Where the BMW X6 failed in that mission, the QX70 excels from a design standpoint. Sure, there are a few too many details that might clutter the look from some angles, but it’s otherwise excellent–from it’s racy roofline to its beautiful sheetmetal. Inside, it’s inviting and warm, with rich appointments like quilted leather and subdued wood trim–though there may be a few too many buttons for some shoppers.

   This is one of the few crossovers that feels at home on a curvy mountain road; with underpinnings derived from Infiniti’s sport sedan, it drives with a poise that’s almost foreign to this kind of vehicle. You don’t need the V-8 if you want a vehicle with a lot of get-up-and-go. In ‘3.7’ models, the 3.7-liter, 328-hp V-6 is shared with other Infinitis; and while it’s not quite as smooth as the V-6 engines found in some other crossovers, it allows acceleration to 60 mph in the low 7.0-second range. So-called 5.0 models and their V-8 are cut from the lineup this year. One sore point throughout the QX70 lineup remains its thirst for premium fuel. EPA ratings are only acceptable, at up to 17/24 mpg.

   Despite the chunky curb weight (4,200 pounds minimum), the QX70 handles as if it’s considerably lighter, and they have a sense of poise and balance on a curvy road that’s better than most other SUVs and crossovers.

  Inside, the QX70 is delightful—provided you’re in the front seats. Like many sports cars and sport sedans, the FX seems to give those in front good comfort and enveloping support while neglecting backseat passengers. It’s surprisingly cramped back there. Cargo space also suffers because of the curvy design and high cargo floor. You do get a little too much noise in the cabin from V-8 models, as well as some road noise; and QX70 can get very choppy on urban interstates.

Prices have risen very modestly going from the Infiniti FX to the 2015 Infiniti QX70. The QX70 comes in three different models—QX70 3.7 and QX70 3.7 AWD. QX70 models top $60,000, but they include the contents of the Premium, Deluxe Touring, and Technology packages. Big-ticket tech options include a lane-departure warning system, an adaptive suspension, adaptive bi-xenon headlamps, and a navigation system with an especially good display and interface. New for this year is a sports package that comes with special wheels, adaptive lighting, and heated/ventilated sports seats.

   Inside, the QX70 is delightful—provided you’re in the front seats. Like many sports cars and sport sedans, the FX seems to give those in front good comfort and enveloping support while neglecting backseat passengers. It’s surprisingly cramped back there. Cargo space also suffers because of the curvy design and high cargo floor. You do get a little too much noise in the cabin from V-8 models, as well as some road noise; and QX70 can get very choppy on urban interstates.

   Prices have risen very modestly going from the Infiniti FX to the 2015 Infiniti QX70. The QX70 comes in three different models—QX70 3.7 and QX70 3.7 AWD. QX70 models top $60,000, but they include the contents of the Premium, Deluxe Touring, and Technology packages. Big-ticket tech options include a lane-departure warning system, an adaptive suspension, adaptive bi-xenon headlamps, and a navigation system with an especially good display and interface. New for this year is a sports package that comes with special wheels, adaptive lighting, and heated/ventilated sports seats.

   The QX70 bridges the gaps between family-friendly, visually attractive, and delightful to drive, which might make it a good fit for someone who needs a wagon, but would prefer something that looks sportier.

   Inside, the QX70 is warm and inviting, and with a beltline that runs around the cockpit layout, transitioning seamlessly into the door panels, there’s not only a great, distinctive design theme, but such premium, top-lux details and materials—things like quilted leather and wood trims that aren’t overly processed.

   The rich, elegant look has only one inadequacy, and that’s in the layout of the instrument panel; with the lack of an all-encompassing interface like iDrive or MMI, it’s also undeniably more cluttered. Although depending on your feelings about such interfaces, that might be a plus.

   Change is something this vehicle hasn’t needed: its smooth take has stayed fresh, probably because its few rivals haven’t succeeded in pulling off the same cross-over appeal. Only the Range Rover Evoque cuts the utility shape into such an interesting new pattern, and it’s angular where the QX70 is bulbous, organic.

While the QX70 design goes back to the 2009 Infiniti FX, and it hasn’t changed all that much since, it still looks contemporary and like nothing else. The front end was updated with a new grille and headlamps a couple of years ago, while Infiniti hasn’t done anything to spoil the carefully sculpted exterior.

  If there’s one flaw with the design, it’s that the exterior of the QX70 isn’t quite as clean as the design as the sheetmetal deserves. Busy details clutter a few surfaces, especially in the distracting surfaces molded into the taillights and headlights, and the ducts cut into the front fenders.

   Not only does the QX70 move quickly from light to light, but it’s also one the best-handling crossovers on the market today. It’s built on a sports sedan chassis, and drives with a level of poise that’s almost entirely unfamiliar to this segment.

Despite the chunky curb weight (4,200 pounds minimum), the QX70 handles as if it’s considerably lighter, and they have a sense of poise and balance on a curvy road that’s better than most other SUVs and crossovers.



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