Infiniti is Nissan's premium, luxury brand. In other words, the vehicle models they design and develop are geared towards consumers looking to add a touch of opulence to their everyday ride, while those looking for a truly tough and hearty off road vehicle opt for the Nissan Armada or Pathfinder. As such, for those wishing to add some basic off roading to their weekend drives within a more luxurious vehicle, Infiniti has just what you're looking for: The QX80, QX50, QX60, G35, and Q60. Remember, this is by no means a definitive list. After all, what one driver expects from an off road excursion can be quite different from another. For instance, back in the day, many enjoyed the Infiniti FX35. However, by the time the FX35 developed into the QX70 sales flopped, and the model was scrapped. Here, we'll be concentrating on those off road Infiniti models that became fan favorites, such as the G35 and the QX80.
QX80: Infiniti's Answer to the Nissan Armada
Just recently, an Infiniti QX80 had some extra pump and push added to its design in order to make it competition ready for the Rebelle Rally. The Rebelle Rally is an all female, off road competition that takes drivers on a 1200 mile trek on some pretty tough desert terrain. starting at Lake Tahoe and ending at the Imperial Sand Dunes. But what about the average QX80 consumer? While the actual race used a modified version of the QX80, practice sessions used a standard unmodified QX80, which was found to be just as capable. One of the standout factors is the QX80's 4 wheel drive system, comprised of three modes. The first is Auto mode, the second is 4 wheel drive high and last but not least, 4 wheel drive low. When in Automatic mode, the QX80 will automatically correct itself if it detects wheel slippage. Know that the models sold in the U.S. do not have rock mode programming. However, models outside the states do come with rock mode programming, which results in better traction and faster response time.
QX50: Classic Infiniti Crossover Handling
This crossover from Infiniti comes with a variable compression turbo engine. In fact, it's the world's very first VC-Turbo 4 cylinder engine. What makes this 2.0 Liter engine stand out, is that it will make automatic adjustments in order to provide you with the best off road or on-highway experience possible. Keep in mind that the Infiniti QX50 comes in two variations, The QX50 PURE has front wheel drive only, with no Intelligent All Wheel Drive available. The QX50 PURE All Wheel Drive comes with the Intelligent All Wheel Drive feature, which is more suited for basic off road adventures.
Driving Sports TV did an off road review of the QX50 in the Cascade Mountains. They found the suspension more than capable when handing rough terrain. The front suspension uses MacPherson struts with coil springs, with the rear employing a multi-link stabilizer bar. Together, both provided passengers with a comfortable off road ride. When it came to their rock climbing test, the QX50 did fairly well. In other words, it did what it says it can do. So, if you're searching for a luxury SUV that can handle basic off road trails, while providing both driver and passengers with a comfortable ride, the QX50 might be for you.
QX60: All Wheel Drive Crossover Luxury with Spacious Interior
The 2020 Infiniti model QX60 Luxe All Wheel Drive Crossover handles off road terrain reasonably well. It comes with a 3.5 Liter, 295 HP, 24 valve V6 engine AWD drivetrain and Infiniti's own Intelligent All Wheel Drive feature. This model is the perfect choice for families who might enjoy a camping excursion now and then, as this three row crossover offers up to 76.2 cubic feet of cargo space. That, along with it's motion activated liftgate means you've plenty of space for passengers and their camping equipment, bikes, etc. While it's evident that the 2020 model will perform well, the QX60 has a history of performing well in off road conditions. Just ask the Fast Lane Car guys, as they take a 2015 model QX60 out for some off road fun in the snow.
G35: Classic Power, Handling and Styling
The G35 model is one that is a keen favorite with off road Infiniti fans. However, if you've watched some online videos and were impressed with its off road performance, know that you'll have to hit the used car ads in order to find this one, as it's been discontinued. Even so, it's still a much sought after Infiniti model due to its overall performance. To Illustrate this fact, the guys from Smoked Out Garage dared to take their Infiniti G35 through a pretty tortuous forest trail. When all was said and done, they drove their G35 through water, mud, snow and ice. Even they were surprised at just how well their G35 handled. That's not the end of it. Fans of the Infiniti G35 often get together to show off their vehicles prowess on various terrain via snow/mud drifting. Needless to say, the G35 takes it all in stride. Definitely an Infiniti model to take note of if you're looking for a fast, sporty auto that can handle some off road trails.
Q60: Perfect Choice for Those Looking for a Sporty Design
Not everyone wants to drive a SUV or crossover. Some prefer the more streamlined contour of a sport coup. In fact, you might not consider the Q60 an off road Infiniti model. However, the folks at TFLoffroad took the Infiniti Q60 on a rallycross track, and it did surprisingly well. The Q60 comes in six models. If you're looking to do some off road driving, then it's the Infiniti Red Sport 400 All Wheel Drive coup you should consider. This model carries a herd of 400 horses under its hood, all waiting for a chance to mow through a forest trail. This version also has a 3.0 Liter V6 twin turbocharged, 24 valve engine and Intelligent All Wheel Drive feature.
When it comes right down to it, there's an off road Infiniti model to fit most consumers needs and desires. If you're looking to spend some off road family time biking and camping, then it's the spacious QX60. If you're looking for a luxury workhorse with a maximum towing capacity of around 8,500 pounds, then the QX80 is for you. Finally, if doing some mud/snow drifting or spinning a donut or two in thick, wet mud while looking sporty doing it, then it's the Q60 Red Sport 400. Of course, let's not forget one of the best Infiniti's made to handle a little off road fun, the much admired G35. Last but not least, be mindful when taking any Infiniti off the beaten path, as certain models may have clearance issues since both bumpers and running boards tend to go low.
Written by Benjamin Smith
Read more posts by Benjamin Smith