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2014 Infiniti QX70 3.7 road test: Everything but name is about the same

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2014 Infiniti QX70 3.7

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If you are familiar with the Infiniti FX37, or even the FX35, then you already know just about everything you need to know about the 2014 Infiniti QX70 3.7. That's because little has changed but the name.

I'm not quite sure I understand the reason for the new moniker, but the powers that be at the luxury division of theJapanese manufacturer apparently believe they will sell more vehicles if alphanumeric model designations all begin with the letter "Q."

So, we are pretty much talking about the same off-beat, sport-oriented utility vehicle that has been with us for a decade.. And, not much will change or 2015, either. The six-cylinder QX70 (the 3.7 is dropped) remains the same, with standard rear-wheel drive and optional all-wheel drive.The V-8 engine option is no longer available and there is a new optional sport package, and that's about it.

Anyway, the vehicle began life in 2003 as an FX35, became an FX37 with an upgrade of the V-6 engine in 2013 and morphed into the QX70 in 2014. For 2015, the V-8 engine option is dropped and there is a new optional sport package, and that's about it.

Infiniti identifies the 2014 six-cylinder vehicle as a performance crossover. It is built from the same platform as the former G37 sedan (replaced for 2015 by the new Q50 sedan), and has hatchback styling cues similar to a sport-utility vehicle.

I have driven several examples of the vehicle as it has cautiously evolved over the years, and each time have felt that the vehicle is definitely sporty, but not always in a good way, and less utilitarian than a true crossover should be. Still, there is no question that it is a lot more fun than some of the competition.

The cargo capacity --- 24.8 cubic feet with second-row seatback up, 62 cubic feet with it down --- is skimpier than crossovers that could be considered competition, and the back seat is tighter.

The rear-wheel drive 2014 QX70 3.7 I drove trumpets its sporty intentions with unique styling that features a long hood and short front and rear overhangs. It definitely stands out in a crowd.

The 3.7-liter V-6 engine puts out 325 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. Power is routed to the rear wheels via a 7-speed automatic transmission with a manual-shift mode and rev-matching downshifts.

The 4,200-pound vehicle can race from a stop to 60 mph in a tad over 6 seconds. Top speed is rated at 142 mph, although I can't imagine why anyone would find the time, the space or the inclination to prove that statistic.

Fuel mileage is not the QX70's. long suit. The EPA estimates it at 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway and 19 mpg overall. Traveling alone in a mixture of urban and suburban driving conditions, i averaged 17 mpg of the required premium unleaded fuel.

Handling chores are performed by the independent suspension --- aluminum double wishbones with stabilizer bar in front and aluminum and steel independent multi-link setup with stabilizer bar at the rear. Steering is power-assisted rack-and-pinion.

While the QX70 is agile for a vehicle its size and runs flat through the corners, it does so with a noticeable sacrifice in ride quality. It sometimes pitches slightly from side to side when encountering road irregularities and it attacks bumps rather than swallowing them discreetly. Long trips can be tiring for driver and passengers.

Luxury lovers will find joy in the QX70's interior. Included in the vehicle's base $44,950 price are leather upholstery, high-quality cabin materials, heatable power driver's and front passenger's seats, dual-zone climate control, power rear liftgate, keyless entry and ignition, Bluetooth hands-free phone system, 11-speaker premium sound system, satellite radio capability, and more.

The $2,950 Technology Package adds adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and prevention, brake assist with forward collision warning and rain-sensing windshield wipers. All, of this, of course, is in addition to a long list of standard safety features.

The Deluxe Touring package, $3,200, includes 20-inch aluminum alloy wheels, quilted leather and climate-controlled front seats,

Add another $4,300 for the Premium Package and you will get, among other things, an 8-inch color touch-screen display, navigation, voice recognition, traffic and weather information, an around-view monitor with moving object detection, and streaming audio via Bluetooth.

Put all that together, add the $995 delivery charge and the total comes to $56,495.

The 2014 QX70 3.7 with rear-wheel drive is not the car for everyone, particularly those who desire a comfortable cruiser with lots of cargo capacity.

But it can surely work for a person looking for something out of the ordinary, a person seeking a liberal dose of luxury and something more than the bland driving experience offered in the bulk of crossover and sport-utility vehicles.

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