The 2001 QX4 arrived in March with a stronger engine, an exterior face-lift and a navigation system as a new option. Infiniti is Nissans luxury brand, and the QX4 is a dressed-up Nissan Pathfinder. The Pathfinder also gets the new engine, a 3.5-liter V-6. QX4 rivals include the Mercedes-Benz M-Class, Lexus RX 300 and Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Styling changes include a new grille and front bumper along with high-intensity discharge headlights. Fog lights are integrated into the front fascia as a new feature. A new rear bumper and taillights complete the changes.
At 184 inches long, the QX4 is a few inches longer than the RX 300 or M-Class. Like the Pathfinder, QX4 sits high off the ground, requiring a steep climb into the interior. Narrow rear doors make it harder for backseat passengers to get in or out, though a standard running board helps.
As befits a luxury SUV, amenities such as leather upholstery, wood interior trim, automatic climate control, heated mirrors and a Bose sound system with a six-disc CD player are standard. A new instrument panel has electrofluorescent gauges. Heated front and rear seats and a moonroof are among the handful of available options. The power front windows now have one-touch automatic up and down operation.
Folding the split rear seat creates 85 cubic feet of cargo room, plus a covered bin below the rear cargo floor adds more storage space. Side-impact airbags for the front seats are standard on the QX4.
Under the Hood
Last years 170-horsepower 3.3-liter V-6 engine is replaced by a new 3.5-liter V-6 with 240 hp. The QX4 comes only with a four-speed automatic transmission. A two-wheel-drive model has been added for 2001, but the bulk of sales will be four-wheel-drive models. A console switch operates the 4WD system and allows three selections: 2WD, automatically engaging 4WD or permanent 4WD with power split evenly between the front and rear wheels.
The QX4s new engine is more powerful, smoother and quieter, giving this luxury SUV more refined performance and a stronger overall character. The QX4 is still more like a truck than some of its key rivals, however, and the ride is too firm on rough surfaces. Front-seat occupants get plenty of room, and there is ample cargo space, but the rear seat is short of legroom. The QX4s biggest advantages over the similar Pathfinder are its more convenient 4WD system and the more attentive customer service that Infiniti provides.