2018 INFINITI Q70 Hybrid Review

2018 INFINITI Q70 Hybrid Overview

Hybrid powertrains are typically designed for one of two functions: boosting fuel economy or providing extra performance. In the case of the INFINITI Q70 Hybrid, it’s the latter. For 2018, INFINITI is changing the naming structure for trims and option packages across its lineup, and the solitary Q70 Hybrid trim is now named the “Luxe.”

The 2018 Q70 Hybrid doesn’t look too different from its gas-powered Q70 sibling. Both models come with a distinct front grille, a creased hood, flowing side lines, and a short rear deck. The only differentiating clues are the “Hybrid” badges on the front fenders and a distinctive set of 18-inch wheels. Additionally, INFINITI doesn’t offer a long-wheelbase variant of the Q70 Hybrid.

Under the Q70 Hybrid’s skin is INFINITI’S Direct Response Hybrid system, which is comprised of a 3.5-liter V6 engine, a 50-kW electric motor, and a lithium-ion battery pack. Total output is rated at 360 hp, and INFINITI claims that the Hybrid model can travel up to 1.2 miles on electric power alone if you have a very light foot. Reviewers note that the powertrain delivers very quick acceleration, with mostly seamless transitions between electric and hybrid power. The smoothness of these transitions can be attributed to the twin-clutch setup on the 7-speed automatic transmission. EPA fuel-economy figures stand at 28 mpg city, 33 highway, and 30 combined, which are just 1 mpg lower in each category than those of the Lexus GS 450h.

Handling for the Q70 Hybrid is superior to that of the standard Q70. The car feels planted and doesn’t exhibit much body roll, thanks in part to the extra weight of the battery pack. According to reviewers, the ride feels quite smooth, with most bumps ironed out. Unlike the regular Q70, however, the Hybrid model does not offer a Sport package with a retuned suspension and bigger wheels.

Stepping inside the Q70 Hybrid’s cabin is a pleasant experience. Materials are what you would expect in a luxury vehicle, with plenty of leather, wood trim, and soft plastics. Those sitting up front are cozily encircled by a wrap-around dashboard, and rear passengers receive a decent amount of head- and legroom. Trunk space, however, is quite small due to the lithium-ion battery pack, measuring just 11.3 cubic feet.

Despite its premium appointments, the Q70 Hybrid is severely lacking in technology features. INFINITI hasn’t updated the Q70 Hybrid’s infotainment system since it was known as the M35h back in 2013. The 8-inch square screen isn’t as vibrant or easy to read as those of competitors, and the infotainment system itself has a dated interface and lacks newer features such as Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. Reviewers note that the voice-recognition system is also difficult to use and requires very precise commands.

In terms of safety, the Q70 Hybrid comes equipped with a full set of airbags, stability and traction control, and a reversing camera. Exclusive to the Hybrid is warning sound system that alerts pedestrians to the vehicle when running in electric mode. An available ProActive package adds automatic emergency braking, forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning and prevention, blind-spot warning, and adaptive cruise control. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) named the Q70 a Top Safety Pick for 2017, while the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) awarded the 2018 Q70 Hybrid a 4-star rating in the frontal and rollover crash tests.

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