Nissan and its Infiniti division will never settle for second best especially for their first attempt in penetrating the SUV industry. Using the S-U-V principle of STYLE, UTILITY, and VERSATILITY as its guide, Infiniti successfully released its very first sports utility vehicle, the Infiniti QX. The Infiniti QX, which was exclusively sold in North America beginning 1997, belongs to the mid-size category of SUVs. It spawned three generations of luxurious SUVs, which certainly captured the hearts of both Nissan and Infiniti patrons. First in the QX line of first-class SUVs is the first generation Infiniti QX4. This particular model sealed the deal in making Infiniti a legitimate SUV manufacturer.
Six years of pure SUV goodness: QX4 (1997-2003)
The QX4 introduced the Infiniti QX line in 1997. It was an offshoot of the Nissan Pathfinder and was released to compete with Acura’s SLX and Lexus’ LX 450. QX4 got its name from its four-wheel-drive feature. This generation lasted for six years, and it produced a Japanese counterpart known as the Nissan Terrano Regulus.
The QX4 edge
One of the things that put the QX4 above its competitors is the high-technology four-wheel-drive system known as the ATTESA E-TS. It also has a more luxurious interior and a superb off-road capability. Its ability to drive through all kinds of terrains became possible not only because of its low-range four-wheel-drive system but also through its 8.3 inches of ground clearance and body-on-frame structure.
The millennium makeover
The much-awaited upgrade for the 1997 version of the QX4 came in 2001. The first generation QX received a brand-new V6 engine from the VQ series, which increased its meager 168 horsepower to a whopping 240 horsepower. From 3.3 liters, the displacement was raised to 3.5 liters. The QX4’s timing belt and ignition distributor were ditched and replaced with the more reliable timing chain and individual coil ignition system.
Apart from the engine upgrade, the QX4’s appearance was also improved through an interior and exterior style modification. The interior received a new dash board, while the exterior got a 17-inch alloy wheel and Xenon HID-powered headlamps. A rear-wheel drive option was also made available in the same year.
The last stretch
When 2002 came, the QX4 adapted a cruise control feature. It shared the Intelligent Cruise Control feature developed by Nissan with Infiniti’s Q45 sedan. Aside from this, the 2002 model also received an upgraded audio system. Rear-seat video entertainment in VCR or DVD forms also became an option.
The 2003 version of Infiniti QX4 got a boost in the safety department with the curtain-type side airbags. Formerly available only in the Premium package, the driver-seat memory system, leather or wood grain steering wheel equipped with audio controls, and the 17-inch wheels became standard features. Power moon-roof, heated seats, and VCR or DVD rear-seat entertainment system were offered as options.
The gracious farewell
QX4’s six years of providing first-class SUV experience ended in 2003 when Infiniti decided to halt its production. The last batch of QX4s was made in November of the year 2002. Its position in terms of value was claimed by the FX35 or 45 Crossover SUV. Meanwhile, the QX tradition continued through the bigger QX56, which debuted in 2004.