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By Jim Flammang
April 29, 2003
Vehicle Overview Redesigned as an early 2001 model with a stronger engine, the upscale sport utility vehicle from Nissans luxury division got a few minor enhancements for 2002, including newly optional intelligent cruise control. A few more enhancements go into 2003 models, but Infiniti has not yet released details on the new QX4.
The QX4 is essentially a dressed-up Nissan Pathfinder, and it competes against such rivals as the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Lexus RX 300 and Mercedes-Benz M-Class. Just one trim level is available. Nissans BirdView navigation system gives a panoramic view of the road ahead or a conventional video map, and this feature remains optional. Infiniti sold 18,735 QX4s during 2001, according to Automotive News.
The most notable design element of the QX4 is its unique and assertive front end, which is led by a twin-slot upper grille with a massive air intake below. Square xenon high-intensity-discharge headlights and fog lights in the front fascia help define the bold picture. Otherwise, the QX4 is conventional in SUV appearance.
The QX4 measures 183.1 inches long overall and is slightly longer than the RX 300 and M-Class. Infinitis SUV rides on a 106.3-inch wheelbase, measures 72.4 inches wide and stands 70.7 inches tall to the top of its roof rack. The vehicle sits high off the ground and requires a steep climb into the passenger compartment. Narrow rear doors can make it difficult for backseat passengers to get in and out. The QX4 is also equipped with standard running boards, and its alloy wheels hold 16-inch tires.
The QX4 seats five occupants and features power front seats and a reclining split-folding backseat. Folding down the rear seat creates 85.5 cubic feet of cargo space, and a covered bin below the cargo floor adds a little more storage area.
Luxury amenities include leather upholstery, wood interior trim, automatic climate control, heated power mirrors and a Bose sound system with a cassette/CD player. Electrofluorescent gauges face the driver, and the power front windows have one-touch automatic up/down operation. Heated front and rear seats and a moonroof are among the few options. A rear-seat video entertainment system is also available.
Under the Hood
Like the engine in the Pathfinder, the 240-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 works with a four-speed-automatic transmission and either rear-wheel drive (RWD) or four-wheel drive (4WD). A console switch operates the 4WD system, which allows three selections: RWD, automatically engaging 4WD, or permanent 4WD with the power split evenly between the front and rear wheels.
Safety Antilock brakes and side-impact airbags are standard. Intelligent cruise control uses laser sensors to keep the vehicle at a constant distance from the cars ahead.
Driving Impressions Performance from the 240-hp engine is satisfying and energetic, but its not quite record setting. The QX4s ride quality is even more noticeable. Except for an occasional thud at the rear end when hitting an especially nasty bump, the ride is easy and enjoyable on the highway and almost as pleasing on rougher two-lane roads.
Xenon high-intensity-discharge headlights produce an outstanding view of the road ahead. Marred only by difficult backseat entry due to the narrow doors and limited headroom in the rear, the QX4 is an appealing road machine.