This week I bring you the all-new 2019 Infiniti QX50: an eye-catching mid-size luxury SUV that will impress your neighbors, keep your family close in the confines of its plush cabin, and put you at the helm of an engineering marvel with a brand new engine twenty-years in the making under the hood.
All-New 2019 Infiniti QX50
Riding on a new platform, the redesigned 2019 Infiniti QX50 is wider and taller than the previous generation. The 5-passenger SUV is roomier as well. My test vehicle is the range-topping Essential trim with available AWD. The lineup also includes Pure and Luxe trims, and all trims offer front- or Infinit’s Intelligent All-Wheel Drive.
Elegant and sophisticated, with sleek sculpting on the sides, the QX50 is a decidedly modern take on the traditional luxury SUV that’s bound to get you noticed whether it’s in the valet or carpool lane. My tester is a gorgeous Majestic White ($500) with 20-inch wheels, aluminum roof rails, unique cube design LED headlights (and an adaptive front lighting system.)
But the real wow moment comes when you open the door.
You’re greeted with a gorgeous, spacious cabin filled with rich, luxe textures. The fit and finish on my test model’s Autograph Package are impeccable. There is no shortage of open-pore maple wood or aluminum trim, along with rich brown leather, and blue microsuede trim on the door panels and center console.
Gorgeous white quilted leather seats with 2-way power lumbar support are extremely comfortable and offer the best ventilation I’ve come across, the perfect remedy for the summer heat.
Two pinch-touchscreens take over the center console area. An 8-inch at the top for navigation (with painfully prehistoric-looking map graphics) and rearview camera. A lower 7-inch houses the InTouch infotainment system with apps, climate control, and entertainment options. Along with steering-wheel-mounted controls, there’s a control knob on the center console. While it struck me as small, it was easy to use. While it’s nice to see 4 USB ports, Apple Carplay and Android Auto aren’t available. The voice recognition works ok, but you do have to really follow certain prompts more so than in other systems I’ve tested recently.
The QX50 is roomy in front and back, and the rear seats slide and recline. It’s a 60/40 split with more cargo space in the trunk than its predecessor.
My model includes a panoramic sunroof, Tri-Zone Automatic Climate Control system, motion activated liftgate, rain sensing wipers, as well as an electric parking brake. The optional Bose Performance Series premium audio system delivered great sound.
The best new technology in the new QX50 is under the hood. That’s where you find the world’s first variable compression engine. Dubbed the VC-Turbo, and mated to a Continuously Variable Transmission, it delivers 268-horses and 280 pound-feet of torque.
So why should buyers care? Well, the VC-Turbo, which replaces the outgoing V6, varies compression in such a way as to increase fuel economy a whopping 35%. (If you want a great tech explainer, check out this Popular Mechanics article.) The 2019 model boasts 26-27 mpg versus the outgoing model’s 20 combined. However, according to my vehicle information display, I was averaging 23 mpg. Note that the VC engine drinks Premium fuel.
Performance, Ride, and Handling
This is my second time behind the wheel of the new QX50. (The first was a single lap around a track earlier this year.) So my first real-world driving experience provided a much better feel for city and highway driving. Like before, I was impressed with the VC-Turbo’s quick off the line acceleration with little turbo lag. You can select between Standard, Eco, Personal and my favorite, Sport mode.
The QX50 isn’t an SUV for driving enthusiasts looking for a sporty ride. It surprised me with more of a truck-like ride, probably because it feels bigger than it really is. The drive was easy-going and comfortable with light, responsive steering. And it was impressively quiet in the cabin in terms of road and wind noise. Any occasional noise complaints can be attributed to the CVT, but Infiniti did a great job with soundproofing with the help of active noise cancellation technology.
Safety and Driver’s Assistance
Kudos to Infiniti for making Automatic Emergency Braking and Forward Collision Warning standard across the lineup. Blind Spot Monitoring also comes standard on the Luxe and Essential. I was most impressed with Back-Up Collision Intervention, which literally stops the car in its tracks. My test vehicle comes with the optional ProPILOT Assist with semi-autonomous steering assistance, Intelligent Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keep Assist, and a Head-Up Display.
Packages and Pricing
My test model included the $7,500 Sensory Package which includes a memory driver’s seat, power tilt, and telescopic, heated steering wheel, motion activated liftgate and rear-side window sunshades. The cabin’s Autograph Package tacked on another $2,000. Add in all the extra driver’s assistance features and it adds another $2,550 to the bottom line. So while a base model starts just over $36,000 things heads upwards over $55,000 when loaded with all the frills.