I bought my 1997 Infiniti Qx4 in '99 (I'm the second owner) and this is the best car I've ever owned. I will eventually give it up, but my goal now is 300K miles because the engine is that good and reliable. Drives very well for what is essentially a truck (a little bumpy in the back seats, but my kids have never complained). You can haul a lot in it, too. And in the snow, and on mountain passes? This SUV can cut through anything. I've only used 4-low a few times, mostly I just hit the switch for 4wd -- and you can go anywhere in confidence. Only repair? Alternator replacement at 140,000 miles. If you find a decent Qx4, even if has over 100k miles, grab it. I don't plan on giving mine up anytime soon, though. Plus, it's got a killer six-speaker Bose sound system.
Had this vechicle for about 3 years/30k. It was reliable, and maintenance was not bad. Ride was a bit stiff, and MPG was terrible. About 14-15MPG. 3.3 V6 struggles badly to move this heavy SUV. But it was a nice luxury SUV, and in the snow, it was among the best. Great winter vehicle. Radio went out, starter, and some other minor things, but no big deal. My full size Tahoe gets better MPG and with a lot more power.
My brother bought this SUV in 1995 and ran it up 40k and did a quick sale to me as a fixer upper for $1000, he was told from a shop that it would cost $12k to fix right. Nonsense!~!Well $1200 later she was purring and looking new, but you have to look at the estimates! They priced everything as infinity and tried to charge dealership cost plus shop markup! I shopped pathfinder on ebay and cut the bill. Then gave it to mom, she's in love with her qx4 and even had the stereo upgraded with a new stereo with back up camera and DVD has been flawless for another 60k miles and climbing. She says it isn't how old you are, its how your treated.
There is a reason the QX4 is a very high demand SUV. I have joyfully driven this vehicle for over 150k miles. It purrs like a kitten and is as dependable as the day is long. The QX4 is the best vehicle I have ever owned and it pains me to part with it. However my new purchase is also an Infinity SUV. The QX4 is an expert handler on snow and ice and superb craftsmanship is still evident 150k miles later. It is a tad bit underpowered for mountain driving and the gas mileage is below average. However even today the vehicle turns heads and is an absolute joy to drive. It is too bad Infiniti discontinued the QX4 as I would certainly have bought another one. Viva QX4!! I will miss my trusty friend.
The quality of the radio and speakers was surprising. In addition the leather has worn well over the years. The heated seats also were designed well with the on/off button conveniently located. The auto 4WD button was an interesting feature as well. Trunk room was more than adequate. Great ventilation.
The gas mileage could have been better. The car was slightly underpowered given its gross vehicle weight.
As a first car, the QX4 has served me well. It's got good looks and above-average handling for a truck on its side, but as time wore on its, deficiencies became more and more apparent. Gas mileage is awful; 15 mpg is about the norm for me and I can rarely go more than 250 miles on a tank, this with a (horribly gutless) V6! The ride is choppy in the back seat, which itself is cramped with next to no headroom for me, though admittedly I'm also 6'1". And while the overall maneuverability is good, the steering is way too heavy and has little feel (it also seems to be permanently misaligned despite a visit to the shop, which may just be an age-related issue).
Styling is nice, even if it is just a gussied-up Pathfinder. Well-built cabin, and very reliable considering it's got 200k miles. I like the outside temp gauge and automatic A/C, though I don't really need them either. Doesn't handle [entirely] like a tank. No Miata though.
A drivetrain that has the power of an inline 4 but the mileage of a V8 (they managed to make the car weigh 5000lbs too, which, you know, doesn't help). Overly heavy steering saps any possible fun out of driving. Sunroof takes a ton of headroom out of the back seat. Not the smoothest ride.