Automotive

2019 Infiniti QX50 Review

Road Trip to Parksville, Vancouver Island

By: Candy Chung

Infiniti QX50 is an important product for Infiniti as they expect to sell a lot of them.  There are so many new technologies packed into this QX50 and the most talked about is the world’s first Variable Compression Turbo engine.  It took Infiniti 20 years to develop this ground-breaking engine.  Without getting into too much detail, this VC turbo engine can actually mechanically change the compression ratio between 14:1 (for maximum fuel efficiency) and 8:1 (for maximum performance).  It’s a really cool technology and a lot of car enthusiasts are excited about it.  The goal of this new engine is to deliver the best of both worlds – fuel efficiency and sporty performance.  Is it an achievement? Or is it a let-down?  Continue to read my story to find out!

Looks

The 2019 all-new QX50 is an elegant, beautiful and luxurious looking SUV.  The clever use of chrome and curves in the exterior gives it a luxurious appearance.  It is not flashy but it grabs people’s attention.  In fact, when I drove this vehicle to pick up my aunt at the airport, the first comment she made was ‘wow, such a nice car’.  My mother also commented that the QX50 feels and looks more luxurious and spacious than Acura’s RDX which I reviewed earlier in the year.

Interior

My tester has the Sensory package which includes premium grade leather, black Ultrasuede and open pore Maple Wood along with Bose 16 speakers system.  It is one of the nicest cabins I’ve reviewed so far.  I love the fact that Infiniti doesn’t have to do anything flashy or gimmicky in the cabin to make you feel luxurious.  It’s all in the quality of the materials and craftsmanship.  I’m usually not a big fan of suede because I think it gets dirty rather easily but this black Ultrasuede gives the cabin texture; it’s a nice change from the piano gloss black used in many new vehicles.

Interior space is a delightful change from the previous generation.  The car has grown in almost every dimension; thus, there is more legroom and shoulder room in the front and in the back.  The trunk sees the biggest improvement.  It is now class-leading in terms of trunk space.  My tester came with electronic switch to fold the rear seats.  Of course the lift gate is power operated and height-adjustable.

Road Trip

BC Ferries Vacation was offering a buy two nights and get one night free package earlier this year and I took advantage of the promotion and went to Parksville, Vancouver Island.  I loved the trunk space as it was easy to fit suitcases and bags.  There is also under floor storage which I used to put items out of sight. My toddler sat comfortably in his car seat but my 5’10 husband complained a bit about the back seats being on the small side and lacked thigh support for him.  I was very comfortable in the driver’s seat and appreciated the luxury features like heated steering wheel, head up display, heated and ventilated front seats and surround view cameras plus blind spot monitoring.  Unfortunately there is no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.  An Infiniti representative informed me that the QX50 will be getting them soon.

Driving Impressions

It’s a bit of a mixed bag here. While the ground-breaking VC-turbo engine produces a healthy 268-hp and 280 lb-ft of torque, the transmission mated to this engine is a shift by wire CVT. CVTs are not known for performance and this one is no exception. It seems to be ‘sorting itself out’ at low speeds for some reasons. The sound from the engine / transmission is also not the nicest. It has the typical CVT drone sound. On the contrary, at higher or cruising speeds, the QX50 drives just fine. It’s quiet, comfortable and powerful, too. The steering is a bit numb but it’s easy to drive around town. The brakes are linear and responsive. There are several drive modes, such as Sport, Eco, Standard and Individual. I usually choose Individual which I can select the engine/transmission and steering response.
What the QX50 does exceptionally well is the driving position and tight turning radius. You sit relatively low to the ground for an SUV and the visibility out front is excellent. QX50 doesn’t drive too differently from a sedan, which is a good thing. For fuel economy, I was able to achieve about 11L/100km.

Verdict

After putting 500km on the QX50, I’ve come to really appreciate this vehicle and what it offers.  It isn’t as sporty as say Acura RDX, but it doesn’t have to be.  The Infiniti QX50 offers an excellent package of premium appearance, high-quality cabin, plenty of space and a very comfortable ride. Starting from $44,490, the 2019 Infiniti QX50 is available at the dealerships now.

 

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