Back in 2007, Nissan’s luxury arm, Infiniti, introduced a new crossover, and called it the EX35. It was the world’s first production vehicle to feature an around-view camera monitoring system, which to this day is truly impressive technology.
Then, in 2014, when the company was being run by the moronic, Johan “the branding destroyer” de Nyscchen, who did what he always does – change the model naming structure within the company, the EX35 became the QX50.
For the 2019 model year, Infiniti has given us an all new QX50 model, which has replaced its grunty V6 engine for a variable compression turbocharged motor – another world first for a production vehicle. Question is, is it any good?
Well, I got to find that out when I visited Calgary, Alberta recently, and borrowed one through Media Fleets Canada, to see what’s it really like!
Styling: I always quite liked the look of the old EX35, and while I wasn’t very sure about the new QX50 upon first seeing it, the more time I spent with it, the more the looks grew on me. The Hermosa Blue paint on my tester really did help make it look rather attractive, especially against the rocky mountain backdrop.
Interior: You don’t need an attractive backdrop to make the interior look good, because it manages to do that all on its own. This new QX50 has already won some prestigious awards for its interior design and quality, and it is not hard to see why – this truly is a wonderful place to spend time in, especially if you’re going to be on the road a lot.
The seats are comfortable, there is plenty of room, front and back, plus the luggage area is plentiful. You get all the features you’d expect from a vehicle of this sort, and most of them are easy to figure out. The dual-screen infotainment system does require a little getting used to, but once you’ve figured it out, it is actually quite good.
All in all, the interior of the new QX50 scores top marks.
Powertrain: Only one engine is currently offered with the QX50, and it is a very clever one!
Under the hood lies a 2.0L four-cylinder engine that features a variable compression turbocharger – that’s a world first. The idea is, the engine can change its compression ratio based on the type of driving you’re doing, so it can be relaxed and economical when cruising, and offer big power when you need it!
Max output is 268 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. Power is fed to all-wheels via a CVT automatic transmission, which is a shame, because no CVT is the ideal transmission in any vehicle, and certainly not suited for anything with performance.
Performance: Ahh… performance… what can the QX50 deliver?
Well, the run from 0 to 100 km/h is over in about 6.7 seconds, and it’ll apparently top out at 225 km/h. Not bad, but the thing is, it’ll never really encourage you to drive it in a sporty manner, thanks to its whining Continuously Variable Transmission.
Driving Dynamics: Transmission woes aside, the new QX50 is fairly good. The ride and handling is actually very good, and this variable compression turbocharged engine shows a lot of promise – can only imagine how it’ll do if paired to a fast dual-clutch gearbox.
As you’d expect, the suspension setting is tuned more for softness than firmness, and electronic power steering systems are never the ones to give great feel – but, when cruising on the highway, just turn on its adaptive cruise control and ProPILOT Assist system, and the vehicle pretty much drives itself. It might not be what one should call an autonomous vehicle, but it manages to stay in its lane and react to situations better than most.
So, while not a vehicle for driving enthusiasts, but the 2019 QX50 will serve the rest just fine.
Fuel Economy: I didn’t get to do my usual fuel economy test with this vehicle, so will just state figures published by the manufacturer – which are, 7.8L/100km on the highway, and 10.0L/100km in the city. That’s not bad for a vehicle of this size, but you do have to keep in mind that it will only drink premium fuel, so filling up won’t be cheap!
Pricing: The base QX50 is yours from $44,490 while the top of the line model will set you back $57,990. Compared to its German rivals, the QX50 is a better deal, but not a bargain.
Verdict: The 2019 Infiniti QX50 looks good, has a wonderful interior, drives fine, drinks premium, and is priced fairly well. As mentioned before, it won’t win over driving enthusiasts, but it will impress just about everyone else!