2017 INFINITI QX70 Limited Road Test Review
March 23 2017, Trevor Hofmann - Canadian Auto Press
Superb SUV Delivers Much Better Value Than Competitors
INFINITI has given its QX70 an attractive refresh for 2017, and it looks fabulous.
While only the grille and front fascia are outwardly affected the changes make a big difference, with the double-arched grille insert going from four chromed strakes to a nice glossy dark grey metallic mesh, and the lower fascia totally renewed with horizontal LED fog lamps replacing the big chrome-ringed ovals, plus a sharp looking metallic undertray spanning the space in between. Together with two of the most uniquely shaped headlamp clusters in the industry, four of the most beautiful pewter-grey multi-spoke 21-inch alloys in existence, stylish dark clear lensed LED taillights, and two fat tailpipes poking out of a matte black diffuser-style rear bumper, this QX70 is a formidable looking sport utility, with the emphasis clearly on sport.
New Limited Trim Differentiates Style and UPS Luxury
The 21-inch wheels, revised front fascia, and dark-tint taillights are actually part of a completely new range-topping trim level dubbed Limited. Additional Limited upgrades include body-colour fender vents on the outside, and absolutely stunning two-tone black and light "stone" grey diamond-quilted upholstery inside. Really, my QX70 Limited tester had me hot and flustered at first sight, a good thing that its perforated hides can be cooled by forced ventilation, while its similarly quilted black leather door inserts and centre armrest, stunning open-pore hardwood inlays, and eye-arresting aluminum flake detailing had me in awestruck adoration during the entire test.
Truly, it's hard to imagine something that looks so aggressively sculpted and overtly muscular from the outside being so luxuriously refined inside, but INFINITI has taken the QX70 Limited to new limits, so to speak. The Japanese luxury brand pulls no punches when it comes to luxury, with most areas not already surfaced in leather, wood, piano black lacquer or metal, finished in high-quality soft synthetics.
Ahead of the driver is a classic two-dial gauge package that still looks good thanks to backlit electroluminescent meters, while the infotainment system on the centre stack is also well done, with appealing graphics, crisp definition, nice depth of colour and contrast, and good functionality. It features intelligent navigation, and an excellent backup camera that splits the screen into a rearward view on the left and overhead view on the right, both providing dynamic guidelines for visible parking assist. The system's controls just below are nicely laid out with large quick-access buttons and a sharp looking knurled metal edged rotating controller at centre.
The fact that my eyes more readily landed on the analog clock just below says a lot more about my love of horology than anything else, its unique elliptical case shape reminiscent of Davidoff's "Very Zino" collection of well-made albeit unorthodox mechanical watches. Really, INFINITI should consider a co-branded effort with Davidoff, as the two brands' wonderfully individualistic designs and impressive build quality would be a good match.
Long Lists of Standard and Optional Features for Very Attractive Pricing
All expected features are present with the well-priced $53,990 base model, including auto on/off HID headlights, proximity-sensing access, pushbutton ignition, stainless steel treadplates, aluminum foot pedals, power-folding heatable side mirrors with courtesy lights, speed-sensitive variable-intermittent flat-blade wipers, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a powered tilt and telescopic steering column, dual-zone auto climate control, a rearview camera, 11-speaker Bose audio with satellite radio, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity and streaming audio, a powered USB port, quilted leather upholstery, heatable eight-way powered front seats with memory and with two-way driver's lumbar, a powered glass sunroof, a powered liftgate, a retractable cargo cover, a cargo net, aluminum roof rails, and more standard, including the climate-controlled front seats noted earlier.
Mid-range Sport trim, at $60,950, adds a different set of 21-inch wheels, an auto-dimming rearview mirror with an integrated HomeLink garage door opener, a larger 8-inch infotainment touchscreen with voice recognition, navigation and XM NavTraffic, the 360-degree parking monitor with moving object detection, front and rear parking sensors, a black headliner, and more, all of which are pulled up to Limited trim, although specific to the Sport are cornering headlights with auto-leveling, exclusive front sport seats with manual thigh extensions, four-way powered side bolster-adjustment for the driver's seat, and plenty of dark exterior trim.
Items unique to $62,950 Limited trim include the richer "deep pillow" quilted two-tone upholstery with stone-grey contrast stitching and piping, all the interior and exterior details already noted, a clear-lens high mount stop lamp (CHMSL), a stainless steel rear bumper protector, and more
The only available option is a $3,500 Technology package for Sport and Limited trims that adds cornering headlights with auto-leveling, adaptive cruise control with full-speed range, rain-sensing wipers, intelligent brake assist with forward collision warning, lane departure warning and lane departure prevention, and front pre-crash seatbelts.
Strong Performance Has Long Been a QX70 Trait
The QX70's standard engine is a 3.7-litre V6 that's good for 325 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque, which is plenty energetic. ATTESA ET-S (Advanced Total Traction Engineering System for All-Terrain with Electronic Torque Split) all-wheel drive is also standard, a system first developed for the Skyline GT-R that has since transformed into the all-conquering Godzilla (aka GT-R), based on a similar front-midships rear-wheel drive platform to the QX70. ATTESA ET-S apportions torque to the wheels with the best traction, with up to 50-percent of twist going to the front when needed. Thanks to not locking torque to the front wheels the QX70 performs like the rear-wheel drive sports ute it inherently is, so therefore it's very entertaining through the corners.
That's where its impressive seven-speed automatic comes into play, the only transmission of its type to incorporate Adaptive Shift Control (ASC) and Drive Sport (DS) mode with Downshift Rev Matching (DRM), the latter technology automatically synchronizing engine revs to a chosen lower gear in order to ideally mesh the two together, similar to how a driving pro blips the throttle while downshifting a manual gearbox ahead of a curve. The result is superior control that doesn't need much if any direct engagement by the driver. Just put it in Drive and the gearbox selects the engine's ideal sweet spot every time, the rewarding driveline nicely supported by the rest of the QX70's fully independent fully independent double-wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension hardware, with stabilizer bars at both ends, electronic traction and stability systems, highly reactive vehicle-speed-sensitive power steering, big 12.6-inch front and 12.1-inch rear ventilated discs, and of course those big 265/45R21 Bridgestone Dueler V-rated all-seasons at each corner that do as much for handling as they do for braking.
Roomy and Comfortable Despite Its Low Coupe-Like Profile
This is an SUV that sport sedan fans will feel right at home in, the seating position even finding a happy medium between taller utes and lower-slung cars resulting in outward visibility that's similar to the former and road-holding that's more akin to the latter. OK, rear visibility is more sports coupe-like due to narrow tapering rear quarter windows and relatively small black glass, but it's more of a sport utility coupe after all, the QX70 providing better all-round visibility than others in this class. Likewise its cargo space beats its German competitors with 702 litres behind the 60/40-split second row, and 1,755 litres available when those seats are laid flat.
The rear seating area plays out in a similar scenario, especially when it comes to rear headroom. When the driver's seat was positioned for my five-foot-eight frame I had about five inches in front of my knees and a good five-to-six above my head, while there was plenty of space from side to side. Additionally there was easily enough room for three across, because the centre position wasn't raised too high, the QX70 being a true five-seater. There's still a tunnel down the middle of the floor due to the central driveshaft, but it's not too wide and was therefore plenty comfortable in back no matter the seating position.
Incomparable Value Is an INFINITI Trait
As you can probably tell I love this iconic road warrior, and I really like what INFINITI has done with this top-line Limited edition. What's more, when compared to its German sport utility coupe rivals its nearly $17,000 less expensive than one and $24,000 less than the other in base trim, making this INFINITI a much better value.
Of course, that's nothing new, the Japanese luxury brand normally priced much more competitively than its German and even Japanese competitors. If you want something that's attractive and distinctive enough to make peoples' heads turn as you drive by, yet strong enough on performance and luxury to keep you fully satisfied, the new QX70 Limited is a standout SUV that deserves your attention.
Story credits: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press
Photo credits: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
Copyright: Canadian Auto Press Inc.