just-auto.com

ANALYSIS - 2016 Infiniti QX70 crossover coupé

By Glenn Brooks | 2 March 2016

2016 model year QX70

2016 model year QX70

Can what we now call the QX70, the car that started life as the FX, really be almost eight years old? It's still selling strongly too, deliveries in its largest market rising by 25% in February.

Nissan Shatai's Shonan plant built the first of the current P53C codename model series in May 2008 and since then, Infiniti hasn't felt the need to change much about this vehicle. There was a minor facelift in 2011 and then a renaming for 2014 and some minor tweaks since then, but the QX70 remains a steady performer against the likes of the Lexus RX, BMW X5, Audi Q7 and Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class. 

In the majority of European markets, buyers have the choice of three engines, the most popular one being a Renault-Nissan 3.0-litre V6 diesel. Elsewhere there is a 5.0-litre V8, and between these two book-ends, a 3.7-litre petrol V6, which was the one fitted to the test vehicle. 

This is a big car, and in many markets it's Infiniti's largest model but the styling cleverly hides the 4,865mm length and 1,925mm width. Compared to a lot of its class rivals, the height, at 1,680mm makes it something of a low rider, which is one of the best things about it, to me anyway. A 2,885mm wheelbase also helps with the proportions - you won't find much in the way of overhangs - and means there's a lot of lounging room in the back. 

It isn't just the exterior appearance which marks the QX70 out. The distinctive Corvette-style scooped out curve immediately ahead of the front passenger makes the front compartment look roomy, and all of Infiniti's usual purple detailing tells you this is not a German brand crossover. 

Infiniti's signature colour might sound a bit much but in practice it works well as the touches are subtle and gently applied. You see it as a band of light encircling the tachometer and speedometer, and then to your left, doing the same around the volume and radio tuning buttons. This is also the background colour for the navi system's on-screen virtual buttons. The double stitching on the automatic transmission selector's leather gaiter, door trims and seat facings is also purple.

As attractive as it looks, if you compare this car's dashboard to the inside of a similarly sized Volvo XC90, it might feel old school. Certainly the approach is different with the Swedes having taken the decision to get almost everything onto the touch screen. That's not the case with the Infiniti. The nav controls are intuitive and once you've entered your destination, the route is selected. As in, no long wait and no redundant START button needing to be pushed. Would that other premium brands' systems all be this fast and this thoughtfully designed. 

There are faults, however. Not big ones, but they can grate. This is a wide car, and it's annoying that the mirrors have no automatic retraction in sync with locking the vehicle. To do this, it's a case of sliding a finger down beside the steering wheel and pressing a switch. That's also an out of the way place for the mirror controls themselves: the driver's door would be better, while the same applies to the electric open/shut button for the tailgate. And when even Mitsubishi, obviously not a premium brand, changes the beep beep beep etc of the opening and closing tailgate to a single beep (Outlander PHEV), Infiniti needs to mute its own noisy multiple blips. 

Back to good points. Seeing a full sized spare wheel under the boot floor was a joy, as was finding that the glovebox had room for more than the owner's manual. The cubby box between the front seats is deep, and the cupholders will take and hold pretty much any sized bottle due to a strongly-sprung brace which adjusts automatically. A pity then that the door pockets are none too generous. 

Unlike most rivals this feels like a genuinely sporty crossover. Performance from the 235kW (320PS) 3.7-litre engine is strong, and torque of 360Nm helps too. Zero to 100km/h takes 6.8 seconds and top speed is 233km/h or 145mph. Another helpful touch is a 90 litre fuel tank, and with Combined consumption of 12.6 litres per 100km you won't be needing to top up that often. The CO2 average is 293g/km.

The QX70 is based on Nissan's FM (Front Midship) platform architecture. This principle of this RWD/AWD architecture is weight distribution of close to 50/50, which is why the car's handling is so good. The engines are all mounted close to the firewall, and aluminium is used for the bonnet and door skins.

Only one transmission is offered on the QX70: a seven-speed automatic which offers a wide lock-up area, as well as a manual shift mode, downshift revs matching and adaptive shift control which learns your driving style. Versions powered by a 5.0-litre V8 comes as standard with some great looking and good to touch magnesium paddle shifters. These are also available in higher-spec V6 cars.

Numbers just in from the US show QX70 deliveries of 712 units in February, which is a 25.1% improvement versus the same month in 2015. Year to date, registrations in this model's largest market now number 1,184 which, while hardly earth shattering, are strong for a model in the final stages of its life cycle. The replacement is due in 2017 and this should, as per Infiniti's other recently launched models such as the latest Q50 and new Q60, offer a mix of Nissan and Mercedes-Benz powertrains.