Infiniti’s stylish FX five-passenger crossover formerly known as the FX gets a new name for 2014: the Q70.That change is part of a new naming strategy at Infiniti, in which car models have a “Q” designation, while crossovers and SUV model names start with “QX.”Not much else changes, but the QX70 continues to stand out as a vehicle that’s just as much fun to drive as it is practical for everyday family duties.With this crossover, Infiniti created a combination of SUV and sports car that offers a driving experience that’s unusual in this class of vehicle.Now in its second generation, the QX70 is available in three models for 2014: the base 3.7 rear-drive with a 3.7-liter V-6 engine ($45,750, plus $995 freight); the 3.7-liter with all-wheel drive ($47,200); and a 5.0-liter V-8 model with all-wheel drive ($62,300).Last year, the V-6 model got a new engine: a 325-horsepower 3.7-liter, replacing the 303-horsepower, 3.5-liter that was used in the previous model. It raised the torque to 267 foot-pounds, up just slightly from the previous 262.The V-8 version packs a 390-horsepower, 5.0-liter V-8 under its stylish hood. It has 369 foot-pounds of torque.This is the crossover for those who enjoy performance as much as luxury, a quality that European automakers such as BMW and Jaguar have long been known for, but one that has mostly eluded the Japanese premium brands.The QX70 also has Infiniti’s newest Around View Monitor system, which now includes Moving Objection Detection. It provides additional safety by giving the driver visual and audible warnings of moving objects around the vehicle as it begins moving. It’s standard on the FX50, and optional on FX37 as part of the $4,300 Premium Package, which was included on our tester.Infiniti introduced the current generation of the QX70 for 2009, but made some styling changes and added some new technology for 2012, including a new grille and front fascia design, new dashboard lighting, and standard heated front seats on all models.The 5.0 model comes with special features such as 21-inch, 10-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels; and a hard-drive navigation system that includes the Around View Monitor.Also new last year were a Graphite Shadow exterior color; a 20-inch wheel design for the 3.7 Deluxe Touring Package ($3,300, also on our tester); adaptive headlights in the 5.0 Sport Technology Package ($6,250); and quilted-leather, climate-controlled front seats in the Deluxe Touring Package.All FX models come with a smooth-shifting seven-speed automatic transmission. Included with the 5.0 are steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters that allow for manual shifting (without a clutch).The QX70 is one of three crossovers for Infiniti, the premium brand of Nissan. The entry model is the smaller QX50 (formerly EX35). Added to the lineup last year was the QX60 (originally called the JX), which this year is offered in a hybrid model, as well. Both the QX50 and QX70 have seating for up to five, while the QX60 comes with a third row, and can handle seven people. The QX60 shares its architecture with the redesigned Nissan Pathfinder.Infiniti originally introduced the FX for 2003. It has an outward appearance similar to that of the Nissan Murano crossover, but the two are completely different vehicles. The Murano, also introduced for 2003 and redesigned for 2009, is built on Nissan’s front-wheel-drive “D” vehicle platform.The QX70 rides on the rear-drive chassis of the Infiniti G37 sport sedan (renamed Q50 for 2014, with a redesign). The only Nissan-branded vehicle that uses that architecture is the rear-drive 370Z sports car. The QX50, which also is built on the G37 chassis, is aimed at women, while men are the target audience for the QX70.The V-6 engine has all the power anyone really needs, and it also offers the best fuel economy – 17 mpg city/24 highway with rear drive, and 16/22 with all-wheel drive.For the V-8, EPA ratings are 14 city/20 highway. One advantage is that with the V-8, the vehicle can tow a trailer weighing up to 3,500 pounds; the V-6 is limited to 2,000 pounds, but only the all-wheel-drive model is rated for towing.Inside, the QX70 is luxurious without being ostentatious. Leather seats are standard on all models, with buckets up front and a three-person bench in the rear with a pull-down center divider/armrest that turns it into a comfy two-passenger seat with plenty of legroom.The intelligent all-wheel-drive system is designed for all-weather driving and all road surfaces, wet or dry, but is not intended for serious off-road use.Optional high-tech safety features include intelligent brake assist, which provides forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking. It’s part of the Technology Package ($2,950) for the 3.7, which also was included on our test vehicle.Also in the Technology Package are adaptive headlights, radar cruise control and a lane-departure warning and prevention system, designed to help keep the vehicle from drifting into adjacent lanes. When the system’s sensors detect the vehicle drifting out of its lane – by reading the lane markings on the road – it gives audible beeps, then gently begins to move the vehicle back in line.The 5.0 model’s price includes the items in the Premium Package, which brings the in-dash navigation system with a rear back-up camera, in addition to the Around View Monitor, which shows up on the navigation screen.Also included are a two-position driver’s side memory for mirrors/seat/steering wheel; dual automatic tilt-down for the outside mirrors; a power tilt/telescopic steering column; upgraded leather; roof rails; XM NavTraffic and NavWeather; a 9.3-gigabyte Music Box hard drive; Bluetooth streaming audio; and front and rear parking assist.Our vehicle also had a heated 10-way power driver’s seat and eight-way power passenger seat, aluminum pedals, adaptive headlights, a Bose premium audio system with 11 speakers, and dual exhaust tips.The QX70 ride can be a bit harsh, which is a trade-off for the vehicle’s tight, responsive handling. Serious drivers will appreciate it on twisty country roads and when whipping through traffic; some passengers won’t.Standard was a power-operated rear hatch, a great convenience when loading or unloading cargo. The one-piece tailgate flips up to open, and it’s quite heavy to lift without help.We needed some storage spots up front for cell phones and iPods. You can put them in the two cupholders between the front seats, but then when you have drinks to put there, the electronic devices have no place to go.Other available options, not on our vehicle, include a rear-seat DVD entertainment system ($1,535), with two screens in the backs of the front headrests; and a towing package ($710).Total sticker price for our QX70 3.7 rear-drive model with the Technology, Premium and Deluxe Touring packages was $57,295, including freight.
The automotive columns of G. Chambers Williams III have appeared regularly in the Star-Telegram since 1994. Contact him at email@example.com.