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Joy ride: 2014 Infiniti QX70

With the bones of a true rear-drive sports car, the QX70 takes four-door crossover family hauling to an all-new level of corner-hugging merriment.

Waking up at 2AM to drive for an hour and a half to the airport is no fun. Doing it after having gone to bed at 11PM because you’re high on adrenaline from a day on Laguna Seca in the 2015 Subaru WRX STI is even worse.

But that’s what I found myself doing last month. I had to race the hour and a half from the hills of Carmel, California to SFO for a 7AM flight.

While I cursed myself for booking such an early flight, I delighted in the car that carried me there: the 2014 Infiniti QX70.

Infatuation

I first became infatuated with the QX70 when it was called the FX37. You know, before Infiniti implemented its new model nomenclature.

The Infiniti QX70 is powered by – as its old name would indicate – a 3.7-liter V6 producing 325 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. This horsepower heavy naturally aspirated V6 is mated to a seven-speed automatic, which sends power to either the rear or to all four 18-inch wheels, depending how it’s spec’d.

The FX37 originally launched in 2002 as a 2003 model, and the refreshed in 2008. Since then – aside from a new name – it hasn’t changed much.

The interior is fine, with leather seating, a round-y wood adorned dash, and a simple navigation system.

For the $46,000 base price, though, it doesn’t well compete with the likes of the Mercedes-Benz GLK or BMW X3 in terms of luxury and refinement.

Where it does compete, though, is handling. The QX70 might look like its simply an uprated version of the Nissan Murano, but it isn’t. No, the QX70 actually rides on the same platform as the Infiniti Q60 (formerly G37).

That means that this five-door family hauler has the bones of a racecar with the body of a bubbly CUV body on top.

Canyon lands

Blurry-eyed and mind full of track-day images, I rallied through the canyons of Napa down to Highway 101 with the high beams blazing the way.

At first, I was trepidatious, not keen to smack into a deer or roll off road into a ravine. After finding my early morning footing in the rear-wheel drive QX70, I rallied the mid-size family-hauling CUV through the corners.

QX70 was sure-footed and nimble in the twisties.

Even in the cold, foggy weather of early morning Napa, the QX70 was sure-footed and nimble in the twisties. Yes, it wasn’t as grippy as the STI but it was just as chuckle inducing.

For me, the QX70 combines the versatility of a high-riding family hauler with the tarmac clutching characteristics of a sports coupe.

While the Infiniti QX70 won’t win any awards for design, it’ll surely outshine its competitors in terms of driving dynamics and long-term reliability.

So if you’re the kind of buyer who values interior space, sharp road-handling characteristics, and dependability above cutting-edge design and features, you’ll find much to love in the QX70.

Now, if you’re more of a rubber-burning family man, Infiniti also sells the QX70 5.0 powered by – you guessed it – a 5.0-liter V8 that makes 390 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque and 50:50 weight distribution.

Again, against BMW X5 M ,the 5.0 won’t win any awards for refinement but it sure will hold its own in a straight line … and in the corners, too.

Highs

  • Sports car-like driving dynamics
  • Horsepower-heavy, naturally aspirated V6
  • Smooth-shifting seven-speed automatic
  • Available in rear-wheel drive

Lows

  • Interior lacks modern luxury refinement
  • Infotainment quickly becoming outdated
  • Excessive road noise at highway speed