Sometimes a ride hits you in a Homer Simpson donut way – there are no words, just “Ahgggh.” Or, in the case of the QX70, I just kept thinking, “Damn, this is a nice (expletive) car.” It’s tough to be surprised when you’ve tested over 800 cars and trucks, but when I sat down behind the wheel and was enveloped by the smell of sweet aromatic leather (standard), placed fingers on a cockpit festooned with wood, brushed aluminum and fine materials, saw the twinkling center console seeming to smile back at me, it was love at first drive. You can’t ask any more of a car.
So what makes the QX70 top in its class? It’s got a healthy, kickin’ engine, first – a 325-hp 3.7-liter V6 equipped with technology called “Variable Valve Event and Lift” (VVEL) that helps the power plant breathe freely for instant acceleration and enhanced efficiency; no wonder I thought it was a V-8. (There was a V-8 available, but it’s been discontinued.) Behind the car, the combined dual intake and exhaust creates a blorty-snorty note you can feel as well as hear. It also handles the road like a sportster, putting up with a thrashing at high (ish) speeds and holding steady. Some fear flipping over in a bigger ride, but this one didn’t leave the ground even when I dared it, a little.
Its interior controls are operated by good ol’ buttons instead of a universal controller as with some other luxe rides that complicate the bejeezus out of stuff that should be left alone. Infiniti tosses in a lot of standard goodies, too, like a sunroof, power-operated, heated front seats, an 11-speaker Bose sound system, dual zone automatic climate control, a power rear liftgate, foglamps, cruise control, a dash-mounted seven-inch color information display and 18-inch alloy wheels. Go for the Premium Package – one of a few offered – and you’ll get a nav system with an eight-inch touch-screen display and real-time traffic and weather services, an around-view parking monitor with front and rear sonar systems, memory functionality for the front seats, power tilt and telescoping functionality for the steering wheel, audio streaming via Bluetooth and more. Check the The Deluxe Touring Package brings 20-inch alloy wheels, maple interior accents, aluminum pedals and a tonneau cover. The Technology Package delivers a laser-based Intelligent Cruise Control system with Distance Control Assist and other accoutrements.
If you’re already an Infiniti fan, the QX70 will make a further believer out of you – or may cause you to second-guess its German rivals.