Roadshow Video Reviews
2014 Infiniti QX70 3.7 AWDWhen Infiniti goes after the German crossovers, it brings out the Infiniti QX70 3.7 AWD -- its Cayenne killer.
-When Infiniti goes after the big status crossovers from Germany, this is what they bring-- the QX70 in V6 and V8 variants. Let's drive one and check the tech. Now, what used to be named an FX, either an FX37 or an FX50 based on engine size, is now all called a QX70 and then you got to look at the fender to see if it's a 3.7 V6 or a 5-liter V8. It's an odd mumbo jumbo of naming, but so be it. These are two road cars in an aero and they seem to ram a third row into everything they do not on this one, partly because you see that rounded pitch butt on the rear, it doesn't lend itself well to having much space back there for either people or a car company. Beyond that, it's unchanged outside since the 2013 FX era except for a little change to the face. It's the Infiniti crossover that most looks like a Porsche Cayenne and it's also the only one that has a very smooth kink at the back window corner. You can spot it that way from a mile away. The rest will have something more squared off. Now, inside our QX70 is a whole bunch of really cool technology if the year was 2008. It's 2013 and I'm not giving these guys a pass anymore. Let's start with the navigation system, which by the way is optional and childish. I've been looking at this Fisher Price level of animation for too many years. They got to step it up on a car that's about to price out at 60 grand as you are gonna see at the end of our video. It is hard drive based and moves along pretty quickly. You've got separate buttons for destination, route, and map, but it's kind of a-- kind of a clear way to break it out. But, I've got all kinds of interface issues. Why is the biggest button on the destination menu change region? How often do I drive to a different time zone versus how often do I enter a street address? So, why are your buttons portioned to that way? When I go to entering addresses or finding places, there's no connectivity here. I can't search to find like I can in BMWs and Audis. But they instead settle you with this stupid looking 3D bird's eye flyover mode where some buildings are there and some buildings aren't. This is apparently its deposed nuclear version of San Francisco and it does absolutely nothing for me. I'd trade that for Google Search everyday. You can enter your destinations via voice command as well. -Please say your command. -Navigation. -Navigation. Please-- -Address. Voice command is incredibly quick at this point, does a great job of understanding, but it parses everything. Even the number and the street have to be said in separate commands. That's dated. Everything happens here on the color LCD, which you would think is good but actually in today's design ethic, it's not. I've got an LCD here between the gauges, but it's a crunchy old monochrome. As a result, the car does not hand off, let's say directions to this one while we're keeping media on this one, or whatever other combinations I'd like to do. The Germans do that nicely. These guys haven't caught up. Oh, here's my favorite. If you wanna go from AM radio to satellite radio, there are no direct shortcuts. You gotta do this. You have to hit AM, FM1, FM2, XM1 maybe you're on XM3. You've got to go through this rotator everytime. They must hate their customers. And once you do settle on the radio band, you want the RDS information, it's handled horribly. No matter what station I go to, I get this weird mix of the full RDS information at the bottom and then a truncated version that does nothing but waste real estate up here. And worst of all, the largest thing on the whole screen is a graphic of a portable shortwave radio. Couldn't you have used that for information and not something that doesn't make sense on the car? Then there are the cameras. Worst resolution you'll ever see in a car. Just soft and mushy which is even worst since they're deviating up the screen into tiny regions for the around view camera. In the evening or if it's raining, this is actually useless. I had to get out of the car a couple times to park the other night. I couldn't do it by this. The rear camera by the way is standard. The around view stuff is optional. I just wish they had some res to back it up. Infuriatingly, the base configuration of the QX70 does not include Bluetooth streaming, that's a part of an option package. Luckily, they were less forgetful about things like a power glass moon roof and power lift gate. Those are both their standard. Okay, under the hood, because it's says 3.7 on the fender, it says V6 under the hood-- 3.7-liter V6 doing 325 horsepower, 267 foot pounds of torque gets this 4,300-pound beast up to 16, about 6.3 seconds, while delivering 1724 MPG rear wheel drive or 1622 all wheel drive, a decent noticeable haircut there if you get all four wheels clawing. Beyond that, every one of these guys has a seven-speed automatic transmission, no other choices there. And if you want paddles on that tranny, you got to get a V8, oddly not available on the V6. Let's go for a ride. Key two words about the QX70 are car like. Now, that's kind of the main goal what they accomplish here, they do it pretty well. Engine responsiveness is good. This is a great V6, arguably the best in the biz. On the other hand, it sounds like a coffee grinder compared to an Audi V6 and the competing Q5. Nothing wrong with the engine, but the level of isolation and smoothness is like on a different planet. This one's coarse by comparison. I really miss having paddles which I often don't think are essential, but on this car, I don't like reaching down to the shifter all the time and grabbing a gear. I wanna keep my hands on the wheel and I think that the car was sporting crossover pretensions like this should have paddles based. You can get them on the V8, not on the V6 for some reason. What this car really stands out, certainly not the cabin tech, but in its self-driving technology. We have a lane departure prevention tech on this vehicle, and we have a distance control technology as well as the relatively common, adaptive cruise control. So, here in traffic, I push this button on the wheel and I've enabled DCA, Distance Control Assist, and it is just really good at reading that traffic in front of me. I do not need to get on the brake pedal, and it very intelligently hits the brakes. It doesn't like I would do it. Not too late, not too soon, not too hard, not too little. It's a really well finessed system. A little less so is the lane departure technology, which because this car does not have a pure electric steering mechanism, it has to use yaw braking to bring you a back-in from the lane drift. So, the brakes on the opposite side of the drift are engaged by the car's computer to just yaw you back in the line. I say that that's less satisfying because that's kind of a clunky way to move a car. It's better and more elegant to use the steering rack, when you yaw brake your car, you're obviously putting drag on the vehicle which is not good for its momentum, let alone its efficiency. Finally, the ride quality is quite good on this guy. I don't ever feel like it's too mushy, too tippy, nor is it too sporting, but it doesn't feel like luxury. They've nailed it pretty well right down the middle. All right, let's price our QX70, this 2014 starts at pretty close to $47,000 with destination- 1,450 more if you want it in all-wheel drive, remember you're gonna take a haircut on the MPG. Premium package gets you NAV, around view cameras, Bluetooth streaming chancily enough, that's a steep 4,300 bucks. The technology package brings you almost all the self-driving technology, 2,950. And if you want that, you'll have to take something called deluxe touring, which is a bunch of mostly seat upgrades for another 3,300. All in CNET style, you're pushing $59,000. Okay, when you drive one, here's how I usually check the tech. Notice the great carlike handling in wonderful Nissan Infiniti V6. And overall, the interior quality is really quite nice. On the negatives though, look at that technology interface, it's really dated, lack of paddle shifters on the V6. I have no idea why. Notice those cameras, they're basically video mush. And a QX70 has limited cargo room and of course, not available even a dinky third row. So, you buy one of these because you like a car, but you just barely need an SUV.