While some compact crossovers have become enormously popular, there hasn’t yet been a breakout model in the luxury field. Infiniti hopes to change that with its QX50.
For Infiniti, the QX50 is really the old EX crossover with a new name. This model was first revealed in 2013, and the first models sold were 2014 models, although it was basically the same model as the 2007 EX. Now two years into the new model year and name, the 2016 QX50 gets a bit of a makeover with new exterior styling and a longer wheelbase to improve rear legroom.
In both cases, these are hits with no complaints on the sharp exterior styling nor rear legroom. However, other areas could use some focus.
For example, the interior could use another refresh. The material quality, the instrument panel and the button-filled center stack all fall short next to rivals like the Acura RDX, which features a much simpler and more polished interior setup.
From the numerous buttons found on the center stack to the the deep cup holders which feel out of place, it feels like the QX50 isn’t up to par with other offerings.
Driving the QX50 raises another question. Infiniti built the QX50 with a firm suspension, and the 3.7-liter V6 cranks out 325 horsepower. It’s fun to drive, with strong acceleration and sports-car like handling.
However, if you are hoping for a comfortable ride, which is usually a given in a luxury car, then you are in for a shock.
I was consistently surprised at how the suspension reacted to potholes, road vibrations and overall highway driving comfort. Unless the road was smooth and freshly paved, I was usually in for a bumpy ride.
Finally, the 3.7-liter V6 is loud, and the EPA estimated MPG of 17/24/20 city/highway/combined is disappointing, particularly with a 7-speed automatic transmission.
Overall, the exterior is a winner, the interior is a miss and the suspension and engine seems misplaced. While I can’t fault Infiniti for trying something new, it is clear the market has not embraced the QX50, as it is currently outsold 3-1 over the Honda RDX. Maybe the 2016 version will sell better. If it doesn’t, we wouldn’t be surprised to see some powertrain and suspension revisions.
Note: while I wasn’t a big fan of this crossover, our own John Goreham found it very likable. Click here to see how much different our impressions were of this SUV.
Model: 2016 Infiniti QX50
Engine: 3.7L V6
Transmission: 7-speed automatic
- Technology Package: (Intelligent cruise control, blind spot warning, lane departure warning and prevention distance control assist), intelligent break assist with forward collision warning, aluminum pedals) $2,750
- Deluxe Touring Package: (19-inch split 5-spoke wheels, high intensity discharge xenon headlights, adaptive front lighting system with auto-leveling headlights, 8-way power passenger’s front seat, 2-way power drivers seat, coat hanger on driver’s seat headrest, power up-folding second-row seats, premium stitching on meter hood) $2,400
- Illuminated Kick Plates: $440
- Premium Package: (Bose 11-speaker audio system, advanced climate control system, dual occupant memory system, entry/exit assist for driver’s seat and steering wheel, outside mirrors with reverse tilt-down, maple interior accents, power tilt/telescopic steering column, aluminum roof rails) $500
- Premium Plus Package: (Infiniti navigation system, 7-inch VGA color touch-screen display, Around view monitor with front and rear sonar system, XM navtraffic and navweather with real-time traffic and weather, streaming audio via bluetooth) $2,000
Price as tested: $43,535 with $995 destination fee
- Exterior styling
- Sporty suspension when desired
- Interior styling
- Powertrain performance
- Ride comfort