Tuesday, December 9, 2014

2015 Infiniti QX70: An Edgy, Performance-Oriented Crossover With A Timeless Design

Highlights: The QX70, which was formerly known as the FX, is one of the few sport performance crossovers in the segment. The 8-cylinder engine has been dropped for the 2015 model year, which means a significantly lower starting price point for the QX.

Test vehicle’s MSRP: $58,085 (Base Model starts at $46,845)

Seating Capacity: 5

Standard Safety Features:  airbags; HID bi-functional xenon headlights; fog lights; a rearview camera; ABS; electronic brake force distribution; and traction control

Standard Equipment: 18-inch wheels; a 7-inch color infotainment screen; a push button keyless ignition system; a 7-speed automatic transmission; power heated front seats; leather seats; power moonroof; dual zone temperature control; a power rear liftgate; a signature analog clock; and power folding heated outside mirrors

Upgraded Optional Features on Review Vehicle:
-technology package: a full range radar-activated cruise control; a lane departure warning system; a lane departure prevention system; a forward collision warning system;  a distance control assistance system; an adaptive lighting headlight system; and rain-sensing windshield wipers

-premium package: an 8-inch navigation system; around the view monitor, which includes a back-up camera; programmable entry/exit front seats; outside mirrors with reverse tilt-down feature; a power tilt/telescopic steering wheel; and aluminum roof rails

-sport package: refer to the “pros section” below for more details

-illuminated kick plates

Suspension System:
Front- independent
Rear- multi-link

Standard Audio: a Bose 11-speaker AM/FM/HD/CD with a satellite system

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty:  4 years or 60,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty:  6 years or 70,000 miles

Bluetooth Compatibility: Yes

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 3.7-liter, 6-cylinder/325-horsepower

Recommended Fuel: Premium

Standard Fuel Mileage: 17-city/24-hwy

Towing:  N/A

What’s New: While the V8 engine fades away, a new sport package has been added to the option list for the 2105 model year, which gives the QX70 an extra edge.

Pros: The aggressive exterior styling of the QX70, with its mean-mug grille and performance sound growling from underneath the hood, sets the vehicle apart from most of the other competitors in the segment.  With its quirky, but bold styling, the QX70 is available in either a rear-wheel drive or an all-wheel drive configuration. Like the Audi, the BMW and the Porsche, the Infiniti is designed for those seeking a performance-oriented, five-passenger crossover.

As an added component for the 2015 year, the QX70 continues to enhance its appeal, offering a new optional sport package, which consists of 21-inch wheels, a dark finish front grille, dark finish fog lights, aluminum roof rails, side air vents, lower side moldings, trunk finishers, a dark headliner, climate control front seats, sport front seats, solid magnesium paddle shifters and aluminum pedals. The sport package was one of the must-have features that continue to make the vehicle a standout in the segment.

Furthermore, our well-equipped test vehicle was outfitted with both a technology package and a premium package. With both packages, we found all of the features and controls to be easy-to-use, even for those who aren’t considered to be tech geeks. And, we can’t forget that since the QX70 is only powered by a 6-cylinder engine for the 2015 model year, the driving range can stretch up to 452 miles on a tank of gas, according to fuel economy.gov.

Cons: Although the name was changed from the FX to the QX well over a year ago, it’s still difficult for us to refer to this crossover by its current name. Yes, this is literally a case of the difficulty of teaching an old dog a new trick. Also for a luxury vehicle in this price point, why is the cargo cover not a standard feature, as opposed to a stand-alone option?

Furthermore, the curvaceous rear window slightly impedes the view of the driver. Yes, we realize our vehicle was outfitted with the optional around view monitor; however, that’s not a substitute for using the naked human eye when glancing behind us through the narrow review window. Lastly, the engineers should considering adding on an oversized panoramic roof to the option list for the third-generation QX, adding to the vehicle’s sporty appeal.

The Verdict: While the current vehicle has been around since 2008, it still offers a fresh, bold, timeless design. And unlike most crossovers that drive like a car, the QX70 offers the same type of engaging driving experience we’ve come to expect from Infiniti cars. So, for those buyers looking for a fuel-efficient, performance-oriented, five passenger crossover, the QX70 should be placed high on the shopping list.

Competition: 2015 Lexus RX ; 2015 Acura RDX ; 2015 Audi Q5; 2015 BMW X5; 2015 Cadillac SRX; 2015 Lincoln MKX; 2015 Porsche Cayenne; and 2015 Mercedes-Benz M-Class

No comments: