What's New for 1998
No changes to the QX4.
It was only a matter of time. Acura jumped on the luxury SUV bandwagon in early 1996, closely followed by Lexus. Even Mercedes has introduced an SUV. It's no surprise, then, that Nissan decided to release a super-luxury version of its capable Pathfinder as an Infiniti last year.
Nissan took this same course when they decided to introduce a new entry-level sedan to the Infiniti lineup. Like the I30, which is mechanically identical to the Nissan Maxima, the QX4 has little under the skin to distinguish it from its down-market brethren. The QX4 is powered by the same 3.3-liter V6 found in the lowly Pathfinder XE, but in the Q it is teamed to a four-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission. The QX4 does have one item that stands out, however, and that is the Q's all-mode four-wheel drive that functions continuously without any input from the driver - a must for those who can't be bothered with locking hubs or shifting gears.
Most drivers won't care that the QX4 is so similar to the Pathfinder. For one thing, the Pathfinder rides on one of the best SUV chassis and suspension systems that we've ever experienced. Although most QX4 drivers won't venture far from civilization, it is nice to know that if they do they will be treated to a stable, sure-footed off-road experience. In addition, we must point out that the QX4's steering and on-road manners are unmatched by any other SUV on the market, even the vaunted Toyota 4Runner.
The other reason that drivers won't care about the QX4's mechanical similarities to the Pathfinder is because the QX4 doesn't look at all like the truck that it's based on. Dramatically different front and rear end styling render this SUV unique among a segment famous for look-alike products. Our staff offers mixed opinions about the QX4's styling, but none of us would call it conventional. This may be good or bad, depending on the amount of attention that you like to draw to yourself, but at least you can rest assured that you won't see the freeways cluttered with them on your daily commute.
The QX4's interior is quite comfortable, with supportive seats, excellent ergonomics (for a truck), good visibility and an easy step in. As befits a $40,000 vehicle, the materials are first-rate and the fit and finish is excellent. Additionally, Infiniti has made optioning the vehicle easy; there are only five non-standard equipment items to choose from the order sheet.