Review and road test of the Infiniti FX / Infiniti QX70 (2009 - 2018)

SPECIAL FX

By Jonathan Crouch

Introduction

The Infiniti FX, later badged the QX70, was the design that represented Nissan's luxury brand in the segment for large luxury SUVs during this century's second decade. With lower order engines, this car took on BMW X5 and Mercedes M-Class sector rivals, while with more potent powerplants, this model could deal with more exclusive super-luxury SUVs like pricier Porsche Cayennes or the iconic Range Rover. On the used market, the FX / QX70 is a rare sight. It is worth seeking out? Let's find out.

Models

5dr SUV (3.0 - diesel / 3.7-litre petrol)

History

There's something refreshingly honest about large, luxury SUVs, especially if they're petrol-powered. No eco-friendly pretences, this is perhaps the ultimate expression of in-your-face I-don't-care consumer choice. The green lobby may howl with protest at cars like the Range Rover, Porsche's Cayenne or this one, Infiniti's FX (later re-badged 'QX70'), but you can bet that deep down inside, like the rest of us, they'd really rather like one. The FX was first launched globally in 2002, but we didn't see it here until the Infiniti brand was launched in the UK in 2009, launching initially with 3.7 and 5.0-litre petrol engines; a 3.90-litre diesel variant arrived in 2010. These three variants sold with 'FX' badging until 2017, when they were re-branded with the 'QX70' nameplate. If you're shopping for a car of this kind on the used market, there are two real groups in the playground. The first offers you large, plush and in many cases really rather dynamic SUVs, models like BMW's X5 and X6, Audi's Q7 and Mercedes M-Class - maybe even a Range Rover Sport. These are tackled by the V6 Infiniti FX/QX70 37 model. But this luxury Japanese brand also wanted a slice of super-luxury SUV sales where more exclusive cars like Porsche's Cayenne and the Range Rover mop up well-heeled buyers. For these people, Infiniti's even more powerful V8 FX50 (QX70 5.0) model was designed to fit the bill. The QX70 sold in ever-dwindling numbers until Infiniti stopped selling in the UK in 2019.

What You Get

With its elongated shape and small glass area, the FX / QX70 has the look of a coupe on stilts rather than a conventional large SUV. There are obvious similarities in the basic styling approach to the BMW X6 but the detailing is very different, with this top Infiniti model displaying curves and bulges in place of the BMW's sharp, angular lines. The long bonnet, steeply raked windscreen and vents behind the front wheel arches contribute to the sporty appearance. In the metal though, the car's sheer size means it still has the imposing presence of an exclusive luxury SUV. Luggage space is adequate for this size of vehicle - 410-litres with the rear seats in place and 1305-litres with them folded. Where potential buyers will really want to be reminded of how much money they've spent is inside. Sure enough, pull one of the lovely satin finish door handles and you'll enter a cabin that's beautifully built and looks very classy with touches like an oval analogue clock, though the use of some Nissan switchgear and a proliferation of buttons are amongst the reasons why it can't quite match the priciest offerings in this sector from this period. You can access many of the functions through standard-fit switches on a steering wheel that moves with the instruments, combining with the multi-adjustable leather seats to help you get really comfortable.

What to Look For

It was hard to find too many Infiniti FX or QX70 owners with much of a bad thing to say in our customer survey. One owner complained about a rocking driver's seat (seems to be a common issue) and paintwork that easily chips. Another had to replace an outer tie rod. Only one only had had more than a couple of problems (he had problems with wheel bearings, a faulty passenger-side mirror, door lock actuators, throttle body, CD player issues, that rocking driver's seat and a 'u1000' code intermittently [which causes the car to go into limp mode]). But even he still loved his car. If you're looking at an FX or QX70, as well as the issues above, it's just the usual things for a luxury SUV of this type. Check all the media tech on your test drive - and the workings of the navigation system to see if it's been kept up to date. Check the touchscreens and Bluetooth connectivity. Check the leather upholstery for cuts and stains. And inspect the alloy wheels for kerbing damage. Check all the electrical functions too. And insist on a fully stamped-up service history.

Replacement Parts

(approx based on a 2016 QX70 3.0TD excl. VAT) An oil filter costs around £8-£14, an air filter is in the £16 bracket. Rear brake pads are around £17 for a set. A front brake disc is around £177. A wiper blade is in the £7-£14 bracket. A wing mirror glass is around £23.

On the Road

An intelligent all-wheel-drive system, which distributes torque automatically to the wheels where it can be put to the best use, is a standard part of FX / QX70 ownership but Infiniti restricted its clever active rear wheel steering to the top FX50 V8 model, which needs it to adequately direct all of its 385 braked horses onto the tarmac. This system turns the back wheels slightly when you turn those at the front to improve manoeuvrability at low speeds and stability on the open road. For most though, the 316bhp V6 FX37 3.7-litre petrol variant (later the QX70 3.7) will be quite sufficient, getting to sixty from rest in 6.8s, just a second slower than its glitzier stablemate, on the way up to its 145mph limit. In fact, with less weight to carry around and careful use of light aluminium and plastic body panels, it actually feels a fair bit sportier, with better cornering turn-in than you'd expect from a vehicle of this size and weight, particularly if you go for the sporty S model with its standard CDC Continuous Damping Control. CDC can be left in automatic, for optimal ride and handling at all times, or switched to Sport mode where it stiffens up the suspension to reduce body roll in the unlikely event that you want to throw the thing around a bit. Both engines have the kind of prodigious pulling power you might expect - 360Nm with the 3.7-litre V6 and a thumping 500Nm with the 5.0-litre V8. And there's even more pulling power if you opt for the alternative 3.0-litre diesel. Tasked with marshalling all of this is a standard fit seven-speed automatic gearbox, with lovely steering wheel paddle shifters fashioned from pure magnesium. You'll search in vain for any evidence of off road capability - a low range gearbox, hill descent control and the like. Infiniti describes this car as a 'Crossover', a broadbrush term usually applied to SUVs with almost no mud-plugging ability whatsoever. Few potential buyers will be unduly concerned.

Overall

The FX QX70 model challenged large, plush German prestige SUVs that emphasise a sporting demeanour in a class of car that to be honest, has never really been very sporting at all. In contrast, this top Infiniti SUV prioritises everyday luxury and long distance comfort, even if you go for a more dynamic-looking S model with the six cylinder engines most customers will choose. In more exclusive V8 form, this car certainly seems to have the wherewithal to challenge super-luxury SUVs from the 2019-2017 era in the more exclusive Range Rover sector, a strong specification belying the fact that it's much more affordable than obvious rivals. It can't match their off road prowess but few will care about that as much as the unique looks and very polished feel that comes with this rare brand. In the end, as always with Infiniti, a lot will come down to whether buyers will be prepared to try something different. If so, this is a car you could be very comfortable with.

Infiniti FX / Infiniti QX70 (2009 - 2018) review by Jonathan Crouch

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Overview

Car review: Infiniti FX / Infiniti QX70 (2009 - 2018)
Manufacturer:Infiniti
Model:Infiniti FX / Infiniti QX70 (2009 - 2018)
Category:Luxury 4x4s
Rating:7 out of 10

Gallery

Car review: Infiniti FX / Infiniti QX70 (2009 - 2018)
Car review: Infiniti FX / Infiniti QX70 (2009 - 2018)
Car review: Infiniti FX / Infiniti QX70 (2009 - 2018)
Car review: Infiniti FX / Infiniti QX70 (2009 - 2018)
Car review: Infiniti FX / Infiniti QX70 (2009 - 2018)
Car review: Infiniti FX / Infiniti QX70 (2009 - 2018)
Car review: Infiniti FX / Infiniti QX70 (2009 - 2018)
Car review: Infiniti FX / Infiniti QX70 (2009 - 2018)

Scores

Performace:
70%
Handling:
50%
Comfort:
80%
Space:
60%
Styling:
50%
Build:
70%
Value:
70%
Equipment:
70%
Economy:
50%
Depreciation:
40%
Performace:
50%
Total:
60%