"If you want a sporty SUV and are prepared to accept the high running costs then the Infiniti QX70 is worth a look-in."
The Infiniti QX70 (previously Infiniti FX) SUV is a big car, with big engines and big running costs. There isn’t a slow model in the whole range, with both petrol engines capable of going from 0-62mph in less than seven seconds - the fastest even dips under the six second barrier. A stiff suspension set-up means that it corners well, too, but it's worth taking a test drive just to see if the ride is soft enough for you to live with on a daily basis. The Infiniti QX70's main rival is the BMW X6, and it comes in three main specifications – entry-level GT, mid-range S and top-of-the-range S Premium.
MPG, running costs & CO2 emissions
Big dimensions and a heavy weight are, naturally, a recipe for high running costs and you’d better like the look of your local petrol station a lot because if you buy an QX70 you’ll be spending a great deal more time there. The worst offender is the 50 S Premium, which manages to return only 21.6mpg in fuel economy and emits a whopping 307g/km in CO2. Meanwhile, the most efficient is the 30d diesel, which even then only manages to grind out 32.8mpg and still pumps out 225g/km. Both petrol models will cost almost £1,000 for their first year of road tax thanks to those high CO2 emissions, with that figure falling to nearer £500 every year after that. Servicing and maintenance will be less expensive than you’d think thanks to the Nissan connection, though.
Interior & comfort
The FX is clearly so focused on being a sporty luxury car – to boost the Infiniti brand, no doubt – that any passenger needs to be ready for a fairly hard ride. Some models come equipped with huge 21-inch alloy wheels that further dent ride comfort, making the QX70 actually hard to ride in on occasion. In contrast, the interior is a very pleasant place to be, with very comfortable seats, which are heated and cooled (and can be fitted with a massage function). General wind, road and tyre noise is kept to a minimum, but, while the petrol models are nice and quiet, the diesel engine can be a bit rattly on the go.
Practicality & boot space
Any car that looks as sporty as the QX70 does must make compromises to its practicality on the inside. That means a boot that offers 410 litres of space with the rear seats in place, which is more than 100 litres less than you get in either the Porsche Cayenne or the BMW X6. Fold the split-fold rear seats down flat and the capacity expands to a much more impressive 1,305 litres – but this is still bad for a big car like the QX70. The interior is thankfully still spacious enough to comfortably seat four adults, albeit feeling a little cramped thanks to the reduced headroom. Legroom is fine, however, and the back seats can be reclined for extra comfort. It's also got scratch shield paint on the outside, but you’ll have to be parking very recklessly indeed to actually scratch it thanks to the range of cameras fitted to the front, back and sides of the QX70 that give an all-around view.
Reliability & safety
With Infiniti being the luxury arm of Nissan – similar to Lexus being Toyota's upmarket brand – all of its engines have been tried and tested across the Nissan range. It's worth noting that while Nissan ranked a healthy 12th in the 2013 Auto Express Driver Power customer satisfaction survey's manufacturers list, it has still dropped eight places from its 2012 finish at number four. However, a lot of the criticisms from customers on issues like build quality won’t apply to the upmarket Infiniti – which is probably good, seeing as not one Infiniti car made into the Driver Power top 150 cars. There have been no major faults or recalls reported, either. In safety terms, the QX70 managed to secure the full five-star rating in the Euro NCAP crash safety test, coming equipped with driver and passenger airbags and electronic stability control as standard. There's also the option of more safety equipment, including lane keep assist and an intelligent braking system that can brake the car without driver intervention. Interior quality is also pretty impressive, but some materials lack the upmarket feel that you'll get from some premium rivals.
Engines, drive & performance
As all the versions of the QX70 are basically pretty fast - you can take your picks from a 3.7-litre V6 or a 5.0-litre V8 petrol that can accelerate the QX70 from 0-62mph in 5.8 and 6.8 seconds, respectively. A 3.0-litre diesel V6 was added to the line-up engine a little while ago, but it's slower than both petrol engines and quite a lot noisier, but inevitably has the lowest running costs. All models come fitted with an effective seven-speed automatic gearbox that changes up and down through the gears quickly and smoothly – but you can take over yourself using paddles mounted behind the steering wheel if you prefer more control. It drives through the corners well for a car of this size and height, thanks to a clever four-wheel steering system and four-wheel drive set-up. Despite its high centre of gravity, the FX tends not to lean into those corners either, so there isn’t very much body roll. However, the steering is a little numb and the ride a bit too firm at times.
Price, value for money & options
Simple – it's not good value. The QX70 may appeal to you, and that's perfectly fine, but is undeniably too expensive. The silver lining is that Nissan strives to fill all Infiniti models with as much standard equipment as possible, so even entry-level cars are decked out with an impressive range of accessories and gadgets. The list includes a reversing camera, cruise control, air-conditioning, heated and cooled leather seats and 20-inch alloys all for the sticker price, not as optional extras. If you spend a bit more money for 'S' or 'S Premium' models you'll even get clever equipment such as cruise control with auto-braking, sat-nav and lane departure prevention. But be warned - depreciation is very high, so resale values on the used car market are very weak thanks to a lack of brand recognition and the high initial cost.