Spending time with the Infiniti QX50 AWD is clearly different from driving most other SUV or Crossover. As engine technology improves, the engines themselves seem to be shrinking. New for 2019, is Infiniti’s turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. It’s not like a typical 2.0T, though. Different in most ways, it now features variable compression along with turbocharging for a change of compression from 8.0:1 to a high of 14.0:1. Because of all the black magic going on inside your engine, it actually grows in displacement from 1971 cc (14:1) to 1997 cc (8:1). More amazing is that this engine does it without the addition of engine balance shafts. Constantly working dynamic engine mounts help to isolate vibrations from reaching inside the cabin for a positively sublime ride.
The transverse-mounted engine is doing its part to motivate the QX50 forward with full-time AWD. An eight-speed automatic transmission gives drivers the option to let the system shift on the fly or let them change gears by the steering wheel-mounted paddle shift levers. That way, you can channel your inner Daniel Ricciardo of the Renault / Infiniti Formula 1 team. Console mounted controls let the driver select the style and approach to driving, ranging from comfort, ECO, Sport and more. 0-60 mph will come on in 6.2-seconds.
It’s a right-sized crossover with all-wheel-drive that manages to better its competition from BMW and Audi by a single mile per gallon. That puts it at 22 city/28 highway for a combined average, according to the EPA of 25 mpg. Sure it’s not a win by a giant leap, but a win is a win, even by one mile.
From a design standpoint, the Infiniti QX50 AWD model we tested featured a “honey, I shrunk the QX60” vibe. The lightning bolt-style chrome striping on the D-pillar is once again familiar here, as are the LED daylight running lights that shine the way forward in the darkness, and in light. The traditional barrel-shaped Infiniti grille returns here and looks like it belongs, once again.
Sitting inside the QX50’s interior brings to mind older designs as well as those found in much more expensive vehicles. Buy the “Essential” trim model and you will experience a full-on luxury experience. This package includes pleated and ventilated seating that appears as though it came from those high-dollar British luxury cars. The steering wheel is fully adjustable, making proper fit a breeze, while the rear seat can slide fore and aft for extra legroom as needed. The end result makes it easy for up to four six-footers in front and rear seat positions.
Those same four-passengers can take advantage of luggage space in the “way-back” that is large enough to hold up to four carry-on suitcases for a weekend getaway. While you are on your way, you’ll take advantage of the Infiniti InTouch services for direct navigation, not to mention a system that includes a Bose Performance Audio system with Active Noise Cancellation for an ultra-quiet ride. If we had a peeve, it would be with the somewhat dated look of icons appearing in the two display screens showing audio and climate controls.
But that’s not to say the QX50 is old school. There are examples of the latest technology by way of the Forward Emergency Braking (FEB) with pedestrian detection. Predictive Forward Collision Warning “reads the road” a couple of cars ahead of your QX50, bringing you to a complete stop before an accident can occur. And around view monitoring lets you “see” around your QX50, in case there is a pet or a rugrat in your blind spot.
Going further, our test model included the ProACTIVE package, complete with ProPILOT assist with backup collision intervention (BCI), Distance Control Assist (DCA), Intelligent Cruise Control (ICC) with full speed range and hold, Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Lane Departure Prevention (LDP), and Direct Adaptive Steering (DAS). Combined, they provide a relatively stress-free ride which actually has the QX50 “reading the road” and gently steering the CUV through curves on the interstate and other divided highways.
Selecting the ProPilot button on the lower right of the steering wheel will engage the system. Set it by pushing the “SET” button on the Intelligent Cruise Control, and adjust the trailing distance according to your comfort level. Once the system is completely engaged, you will hear a chime that signals the system is on. At that point, the QX50 will steer, slow, accelerate, stop, and correct your bad habits. But if you take your hands off the wheel for an extended time, the entire system will shut off causing you to take control of the wheel and throttle once again. It’s just a couple of steps away from total automation. The future is almost now! Read more about it at www.napleton.news
Automation aside, the other highlight of the QX50 in addition to its good looks and intelligent drive system is the VC-T 2.0-liter engine. This tour de force powering the Infiniti QX50 AWD is the future, with its 268 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque. It’s an engine that clearly shows you don’t have to go big or go home.
Infiniti QX50 Specifications
Type: Five-passenger, five-door crossover CUV
Engine: 2.0-liter Turbocharged engine with Variable Compression
Power: 268 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
Torque: 280 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm
Fuel Delivery: Direct Injection and Port Injection
Drive: Front or Intelligent All-Wheel-Drive
Transmission: Continuously variable with manual shifting and Rev Matching
Suspension Front: MacPherson struts with twin-tube shocks and stabilizer bar
Suspension Rear: Independent Multilink rear suspension with stabilizer bar
Steering: Engine Speed Sensitive Variable Assist
Length: 184.7 inches
Wheelbase: 110.2 inches
Width: 74.9 inches
Height: 66 inches
Min Ground Clr. 8.6 inches
Cargo Volume Seat Up: 31.1 cubic feet
Cargo Volume Seat Folded: 64.4 cubic feet
Curb Weight: 4026 pounds
EPA Fuel Economy: 23 city/28 highway/25 mpg combined.