Infiniti isn't as highly regarded by luxury car shoppers as are Mercedes, BMW or Audi, but the fast, luxurious Infiniti QX70 combination crossover/sports sedan can hold its own with more prestigious rivals.
The QX70 comes as the $45,850 QX70 rear-drive version or all-wheel-drive $47,300 "QX70 3.7 AWD," as the price sticker on my test QX70 put it. (The "3.7" stands for engine size in liters.)
Standing out from look-alike luxury crossovers, the QX70 has a long hood, stretched wheelbase, kicked-back roofline that doesn't interfere with rear headroom and short front and rear overhangs. Large dual exhaust outlets with chrome finishes cap the action-ready look.
However, wide windshield pillars partially block visibility when turning corners. Occupants sit high, but in rather low-set seats. Shorter ones in back may feel a bit submerged.
It takes extra effort to get into the QX70's plush, quiet interior because it has a rather high floor. Rear doorways have somewhat narrow openings because of the body's wheelwell design.
The cargo opening is wide, but a little high. There's decent room for cargo, but rear seatbacks must be folded forward if you want to carry lots of stuff.
Standard are a power tinted sunroof, leather-covered seats, heated power driver's seat, dual-zone automatic temperature control, rearview monitor and a power liftgate.
There's good room for four adults, although a 6-footer will find legroom a little tight if a tall driver moves his seat all the way back. The center of the backseat is firm and best left to the large fold-down armrest, which contains two cupholders. There's a sliding cover for the two front console cupholders to help give the interior a "finished" look.
The interior, which has plenty of storage areas, also contains four 12-volt power outlets, push-button ignition, Bose Premium audio system with 11 speakers, AM/FM/CD player and a USB connection port for iPod Interface and other compatible devices.
The electroluminescent gauges can be read at a glance, and controls are easily reached.The infotainment technology is a little dated but is relatively easy to operate.
Steering is firm, but quick. The ride also is firm, but supple, even with all-wheel drive. The QX70 handles like a sports sedan, with independent front and rear suspensions, front/rear stabilizer bars and a low center of gravity. The QX70 uses rigid "Front Midship" platform architecture with balanced front-to-rear weight distribution to help deliver excellent handling.
Antilock disc brakes with electronic brake distribution are easily controlled by a friendly action pedal.
Standard safety features include an advanced air bag system.
The new QX70 has dropped last year's mighty 5.6 liter 390-horsepower V8, but that engine really isn't needed. The 2015 model's standard 3.7-liter, 325-horsepower V-6 with 267 pound-feet of torque offers plenty of punch in town and on open roads.
As might be expected with a 4,000-plus-pound vehicle with high horsepower, estimated fuel economy is 16 miles per gallon in the city and 22 on highways.
The engine is paired with a responsive seven-speed automatic transmission with a no-lag manual shift feature, which can be activated via steering wheel paddles or the console transmission lever.
While loaded with comfort, convenience and safety features, the QX70 is offered with four equipment packages: Premium, Deluxe Touring, Technology and Sport.
The new Sport package stiffens the ride a bit but doesn't make occupants feel uncomfortable, and it makes the QX70 look especially racy. It provides dark finish exterior accents, side air vents and lower side moldings and trunk finishes, interior contrast stitching, magnesium shift paddles and climate-controlled front seats.
The package also contains 21-inch dark finish aluminum-alloy wheels and sport seats that help hold front occupants securely in place when sweeping through curves.
All well and good, but no extra horsepower is offered--not that it's needed.
As for the other packages, the Premium one has, among other things, an Around-View Monitor system to provides a virtual 360-degree view of objects around the vehicle--helping a driver maneuver in tight spots. It also has an 8-inch VGA color touch screen display.
The Technology package has intelligent cruise control that can stop the "Q" completely to prevent an accident, lane departure warning and prevention and distance control assist.
Finally, the Deluxe touring package contains 20-inch wheels and tires, maple interior accents, quilted leather-appointed seating and climate controlled front seats.
The hood glides open on twin struts to reveal an engine set pretty far back for better weight distribution.
The QX70 has more than enough assets to draw a greater number of buyers.