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2014 Infiniti QX70 (Ted Laturnus for the Globe and Mail)
2014 Infiniti QX70 (Ted Laturnus for the Globe and Mail)

Road Test

2014 Infiniti QX70 dares to be different Add to ...

Nissan has a history of producing cars that defy categorization.

Look at the Cube, Juke, Infiniti FX35, or even the old Figaro and Pao models (not sold in Canada, but worldwide favourites). This is a company that thinks outside the box, and now that it has paired up with Renault, those boxes have all but disappeared.

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One of the newest out of the box is the Infiniti QX70, which isn’t that outrageous in terms of styling, layout, or powertrain, but is one of those vehicles that doesn’t fit neatly into any category. Is it an SUV? Sports hatchback? Crossover? In a word, yes. Officially, Infiniti is calling it a sports crossover.

Replacing the FX50, the QX70 is powered by either a 390-horsepower, 5.0-litre V-8 or Nissan’s tried-and-true VQ V-6 engine, which, in this configuration, displaces 3.7 litres. My tester had the V-6, and it develops an impressive 325 horsepower. Transmission is a seven-speed automatic only and the QX70 has full-time all-wheel-drive.

Like just about every Nissan I’ve driven featuring this engine, power transfer and refinement level is unimpeachable. Large-displacement V-6 engines simply don’t come any better – and that includes companies like Toyota and Mercedes, who are no slouches in the powertrain department. This engine – in one form or another – has taken home many awards over the years and, in the QX70, is a surprisingly good fit.

The all-wheel-drive system is Nissan’s ATTESA arrangement, which starts off in AWD and then reverts back to 2WD as the vehicle gets moving. In the event of traction loss, the AWD cuts back in again as needed. This system is used throughout Nissan/Infiniti’s model lineup and it’s unobtrusive and efficient.

The QX70 comes in three trim levels: Premium, Luxury Touring and Technology. My tester had the latter two packages, which feature a navi system, larger 20-inch wheels and tires, lane departure warning, intelligent cruise control and rain-sensing wipers. Altogether, these add $9,150 to the price tag.

Standard equipment, meanwhile, is high. For the $53,350 base price, you get leather interior (quilted, no less), heated/cooled front seats, dual-zone climate control, power rear liftgate, a sunroof and XM satellite radio. The QX70 is an upscale vehicle and feels like it.

My major beef with this one concerns storage/cargo capacity. In a nutshell, there ain’t much. Infiniti is claiming 1,750 litres, but considering the size of the QX70, stash-ability is minimal. I had to help someone move during my time with it, and four large-ish house plants just about filled it up. That was with the back seat folded down. By way of comparison, the similarly priced Acura MDX offers 2,575 litres. And because of the body configuration, rear head and storage room in the QX70 is compromised – the hatchback opening is surprisingly small and big stuff won’t fit. A bicycle is out of the question. If carrying cargo is on your list of must-haves, the QX70’s stablemate – the massive QX80 – may be the Infiniti for you.

Performance-wise, the V-6 version of the QX70 has some snap, but, at more than 1,900 kilograms, this is a large vehicle, and its character with this powerplant is one of refinement, not eyeball-flattening takeoff power. Fuel economy-wise, there is a significant difference between the V-8 and V-6 models, especially in town. The QX70 has Infiniti’s downshift rev-matching as standard equipment, and in this situation, it’s an appropriate feature. If towing capacity is on your list of prerequisites, the V-8 version may be the best choice, even though towing capacity is the same for both models: 1,587 kilograms.

But that doesn’t help narrow this car’s identity down. Given its limited cargo-carrying abilities, it doesn’t qualify as an SUV – at least, not as we commonly think of one. It’s too big and bulky to be a sports hatchback/sedan, and is definitely not a mainstream crossover. With the exception of perhaps the BMW X6, there isn’t much like it.

Tech specs

2014 Infiniti QX70

Type: Mid-size luxury crossover

Base Price: $53,350; as tested: $64,495

Engine: 3.7-litre V-6

Horsepower/torque: 325 hp/267 lb-ft

Transmission: Seven-speed automatic

Drive: Front-wheel/all-wheel

Fuel economy (litres/100 km): 12.9 city/9.1 highway; regular gas

Alternatives: Acura MDX, Lexus GX460, BMW X6, Mercedes G-Class, Audi Q7, Range Rover Evoque Premium, Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8, Porsche Cayenne

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Globe rating for the 2014 Infiniti QX70

Our ratings guide
8

Ride

A nice combination of firmness and responsiveness – not cushy at all.

7

Looks

Has an imposing presence, but a little too bulbous for my tastes.

7

Interior

Rear storage room is compromised – otherwise, as comfy as these things get.

8.5

Safety

Loaded with active/passive safety features – lane departure warning system is annoying.

6

Green

Not particularly – mediocre fuel economy, but meets appropriate CARB emission requirements.

7

Overall

(out of 10 / Not an average)

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