Is Infiniti reliable? An honest assessment of the luxury brand

Infiniti are one of the lesser known vehicle manufacturers here in the UK, but across the pond and all over the world, they are an extremely popular brand.

The luxury division of Japanese manufacturer Nissan, Infiniti officially started selling vehicles in 1989 in North America. Now, they are sold in several countries across the world.

Because they are a branch of Nissan, you would think that they are just as reliable as Nissan cars if not more reliable as they are a luxury brand. But, is this the case?

In this article, we look at whether Infiniti are reliable, and compare their reliability to their main rivals.

Are Infiniti cars reliable?

There’s been a few mixed reviews when it comes to Infiniti’s reliability. J.D Power give Infiniti a four out of five for overall dependability. This puts it at above average. That said, when we look at some of the reports for the individual models, there are mixed results. It should be noted here that we are looking at many American reliability reports. The reason for this is that there simply aren’t that many Infiniti’s on the roads in the UK. The reports won’t be hugely different, of course, but it should be noted. For example, the 2011 Infiniti M37 has a predicted dependability rating of just 2 out of 5 but the 2010 Infiniti FX35 has scored full marks for predicted dependability.

This is backed up by other reports. Consumer Reports marked the Infiniti Q50 as one of the least reliable luxury cars on the market back in 2014. They reported that it was 127% less reliable than the average. It has also been reported that there were two recalls for the Q50 on the hybrid variant. This was for the electric power assist system and the passenger occupant airbags. However, in 2016, they put the Infiniti Q70 in the top five most reliable models. They also ranked Infiniti as 8th out of 29 car brands for reliability. They also named the Infiniti Q70 as the most reliable car in the Luxury Midsize/Large Car category.

If we look at the driver reviews on carbuyer for the Q70, the reviews are mainly positive. There are some that have had problems with the car but others who have ranked it five stars overall, stating there have been no problems. Looking at carcomplaints, it seems that the 2014 Q50 has received the most complaints, with problems with the master cylinder and premature tyre wear being the main issues.

In conclusion, it looks like we can’t judge Infiniti’s reliability as a whole and that it is hugely down to each individual model. While it’s not uncommon for car brands to have more reliable models than others, to have one car that is the least reliable and another that is the most reliable makes it difficult to judge a brand’s reliability.

Why are the results so mixed?

It’s hard to say why the results are so mixed, in all honesty. However, we are going to try and dissect why Infiniti are considered both really reliable and really unreliable.

Infiniti are a premium brand, which means that their models come with more modern technology than other brands, including possibly their parent company Nissan. While this is great for drivers who want more tech in their cars, it can mean that they run into problems further down the line. This is backed up by reports of problems with Infiniti’s InTouch infotainment system. Typical problems included system lock ups and screen freezes.

This is not uncommon, particularly with new luxury cars. As we said, this new technology sounds great on paper, but can be problematic further down the line.

Another reason why this might contribute to unreliability is that components of infotainment systems can be difficult to fix, and therefore quite costly and time consuming. This can bring down the overall reliability score.

So, that might explain why the Q50 has been said to be unreliable. But, why is the Q70 reliable?

There have been no Q70 recalls since 2012, which would naturally contribute to their reliability. They have also been around a lot longer. The first Q70 was released back in 2007. This means that we have a better idea of how reliable these cars are and be able to better predict how reliable they are in the future.

Also, the new Q70 comes with a four-year/60,000 mile warranty bumper-to-bumper, a six year/70,000 warranty for the powertrain and the hybrid-related components are covered by an eight-year/100,000 mile warranty. This will bring the reliability score up hugely because it shows that Infiniti have faith in their latest model.

Common Infiniti problems

While the two models are vastly different when it comes to dependability, there are some common problems that they share. It’s important to know these common problems so you know what to look for should you want to buy a second-hand Infiniti. Some of these problems include;

  • Steering rack leaking
    • This has been reported at around 60,000 miles and can be quite costly to fix.
  • Transmission failure
    • Issues with the transmission haven’t really occurred until the 70,000 mile mark.

However, those are the only common problems we can find with Infiniti. If you are looking at a second hand Infiniti then we would advise you ask about the problems listed above before you choose to buy.

Infiniti vs. Lexus vs. Audi

Infiniti are a luxury brand, so it’s only fair that we compare how reliable they are to some of their rivals. In this case, we are comparing them to Lexus and Audi.

You might say that comparing them to Lexus is slightly unfair, as everyone knows that Lexus are top when it comes to dependability. They continuously smash every reliability table, consistently knocking all other brands out the park. If you want a luxury car that is also reliable, then there is no question as to whether you should get a Lexus. AutoExpress put Lexus in first place for most reliable used cars, and the J.D Power Vehicle Dependability Study put Lexus at the top for long-term reliability. Unfortunately, neither Infiniti nor Audi can compete when it comes to this Japanese car manufacturer.

But what about Audi? Germany are famed for their ability to produce the most popular premium cars on the planet, but how does Audi stack up in terms of reliability? There has been quite a lot of debate when it comes to Audi’s reliability. AutoExpress have ranked Audi 23rd out of 32nd for reliability, and WarrantyWise ranked them 28th out of 36 for reliability.

That said, the ConsumerReports placed Infiniti 8th for reliability and put Audi 4th. Coming in 1st place was, of course, Lexus. So while Audi have been known to be pretty unreliable, there are some reports that argue otherwise. So where does that leave Infiniti? It leaves them somewhere in the middle. If you want a luxury car that is also hugely reliable then you will want to look at a Lexus. If you are after a badge, then an Audi comes with heaps of prestige and history. But, if you are happy with a luxury car that is also pretty reliable and looks good, then there is nothing to stop you looking at Infiniti. In conclusion, there is much debate about whether Infiniti are reliable. The Q50 has been named the most unreliable luxury car on the market, but the Q70 has been named the most reliable. The Q50 has had reports of problems with its infotainment system and other recalls, and the Q70 has not had a recall since the 2012 model. When you compare it to some of its rivals, Audi and Lexus, then it is placed somewhere in the middle. Lexus are the most reliable premium brand out there whereas Audi are not famed for their longevity. So if you are looking for a luxury car that is well built, affordable and is pretty reliable, then there is no reason why you shouldn’t look at an Infiniti, particularly a Q70. 

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