ASSOCIATE EDITOR JAKE LINGEMAN: The Infiniti FX, now the QX70, isn't the most utilitarian car on the market, or in its segment, but it has to be the most fun.
The 5.0-liter V8 pulls this car off the line using all four wheels, and first gear goes by in a wink, so have your hand ready on that right paddle shifter. It makes a helluva sound, too, like a muscle car. And those paddle shifters, they're on the column. So if you have a preference, make sure that jibes with what you want.
I kept the suspension in sport mode my entire time with the car. It keeps tight and planted, but still soaks up most of the big bumps. The steering wheel is weighted perfectly for this car and provides a nearly direct connection to the wheels.
The interior all seems up to par. The front leather seats provide a decent amount of support, and I appreciated the under-knee adjustment to take a little pressure off the legs. The self-retracting seats are a great option as well. The Infiniti radio setup has been good for years now and this is one is no different. It's plenty loud, too.
The only problem is that there isn't a ton of room for heads or otherwise. After the back seat, the roof just dips to the floor, leaving only a few feet of depth. Surely you can fold down the back row, but if I'm buying an SUV, or CUV, I want room for four and some cargo.
I'm digging the sheetmetal that has been referred to by some as a bionic cheetah, but I agree with that sentiment. The slit headlights and rounded nose give it cat-like feel, and the shoulder and belt lines make it look supremely muscular.
Overall, I like this car a lot. I'm not sure about the buyers, though. I wouldn't buy one, but just as a car enthusiast, I'm a fan.
EDITOR WES RAYNAL: With Infiniti's new naming/numbering system, I didn't even know what this was until I saw it in the parking lot. I thought it was a full-sized ute based off its name before I saw it. Then I realized this buggy-looking midsize ute used to be the FX.
Anyway, it looks unique, that much one can say. Whether you like the looks or not, there's no denying there's nothing like it out there. The interior is well built with nice materials, but it feels cramped.
It drives uniquely, too. By that I mean the ride is stiff for a ute, the throttle is like an on/off switch (plenty of power as you could imagine) making accelerating smoothly from a stop light a challenge. This thing is fast, and once underway power is a smooth rush.
The ride can get a bit bouncy and the car can start to feel heavy -- there's some head toss over uneven pavement. It's not that it's not agile; in fact it might be a little too agile. It's just a little bouncy.
ASSOCIATE EDITOR GRAHAM KOZAK: I'm an unabashed (OK, maybe slightly abashed) fan of the styling of the Vehicle Formerly Known as the Infiniti FX37. It's not trying to be a truck and failing; instead, it's kind of like an aggressive, jacked-up sedan with a beefy stance. With its rear-wheel drive standard configuration (it shares a platform with the 370Z) it isn't really trying to be practical, but it does make a statement.
Changing the name to the QX70 didn't really change its fundamentals but -- and I say this having never driven the V8-powered version of the FX -- this particular vehicle wasn't quite as much fun as I remembered it being.
I've got to chalk that up to its AWD system and, oddly enough, the bigger engine. Jake is right about the car's muscular growl -- you even get the chrome 5.0 badge on the side, like on a Ford Mustang GT. Step on the accelerator and those 390 horses make themselves known immediately. That's not something you can take for granted in this segment.
Yet this vehicle seems better suited to straight-line speed or expressway cruising than tackling a twisty road. Part of that is its height (emphasized by a high seating position), and the 4,562-pound curb weight (a couple hundred more pounds than the '13 FX37), I'm sure, but the addition of AWD doesn't exactly set the car up for fluid cornering, either.
Steering feel is also very heavy and artificial -- shockingly so at first, but you do get used to it after a while. At times it made it seem like I was wielding the car, not driving it, which is at odds with its sedan/sport crossover feel. I may have missed it, but I'm not sure that there was any way to tone this down (some cars, like Hyundais, at least let you tone down the dialed-in steering weight).
None of this is to detract from the clean, well-built interior or the vehicle's distinctiveness, which has carried over despite the name change. The QX70 remains a standout, but at close to $70K, it definitely isn't for everyone. Any benefits to the pocketbook aside, I'm curious to try the more basic versions to see if they retain the fun that I remember from the FX37.
ROAD TEST EDITOR JONATHAN WONG: Like many of the guys above, I'm still struggling to get Infiniti's new naming system down. The FX50 is now the QX70 5.0. Got it? OK, good. Besides the name change, this crossover/tall hatchback is what I remember for the most part, but I have to agree with Graham that this car with the bigger V8 engine isn't as entertaining overall.
Of course, the bigger engine is a riot in a straight line, packing an additional 65 hp and 102 lb-ft of torque compared to the 3.7-liter V6. Stomp on the right pedal and this thing gets going in a hurry. Power delivery is linear and builds all the way up towards redline. Quick shifts are provided by the seven-speed automatic that also features a respectable manual shift mode.
However, as Graham mentioned above, this with the V8 doesn't feel as eager in the handling department compared to the V6 equipped model. A quick glance at the spec sheet and you'll see that the V8 version weighs in with an additional 241 pounds of heft compared to the V6 car. I'm sure some of the extra weight is from things like the bigger wheels, brake package and adjustable damping suspension, but a large amount has to be from the big hulking engine sitting up front under the hood and over the front wheels. That certainly doesn't help handling.
Tackle a corner and QX70 5.0 pushes more, and the overly heavy steering feel isn't ideal. I like some heft in my steering, but this is just a bit too much heft. With the suspension in sport mode, the body is kept in check at the expense of ride quality on the 21-inch wheels. There is a noticeable difference in ride comfort when the dampers are switched between sport and auto modes. Still, the FX, er, QX70 is a nice place to spend time, with a cabin that features comfortable and supportive front bucket seats, high-end materials and finishes throughout and controls for navigation/audio/climate/etc. that are easy to work with, thanks to traditional hard buttons. I greatly prefer hard buttons over the touchscreen in the new Q50 sedan.
If you are looking for a crossover and need to have a V8, then I would be pointing you towards the QX70 5.0 over the BMW X6 xDrive50i that's quite frankly an eyesore and more expensive with a base price of $72,325. Compared to the Bimmer, this Infiniti's base price of $62,495 is a relative bargain.
What would I do? I would save an additional $15,000 and get my QX70 with the V6 and AWD and be done with it. Yes, I wouldn't have the pin-you-back-into-the-thrust of the V8, but I would be having a heck of a lot more fun through corners.
2014 Infiniti QX70 5.0
Base Price: $62,495
As-Tested Price: $68,745
Drivetrain: 5.0-liter V8; AWD, seven-speed automatic
Output: 390 hp @ 6,500 rpm, 369 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm
Curb Weight: 4,562 lb
Fuel Economy (EPA City/Highway/Combined): 14/20/16 mpg
AW Observed Fuel Economy: 14.5 mpg
Options: Sport technology package including continuous damping control with auto and sport modes, rear active steer, solid magnesium paddle shifters, sport-style front seats with thigh support, driver's seat with power bolster adjustment, tinted side air vents, lower side trim, and deadlight housings, intelligent cruise control (full-speed range) lane departure warning and prevention, intelligent brake assist with forward collision warning, distance control assist, adaptive front lighting system with auto-leveling headlights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, front pre-crash seat belts ($6,250)
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