By Tony C. Lesesne
The luxury SUV segment has exploded over the last five years. Infiniti wants a piece of the action and is delivering the impressive QX50, a hugely popular mid-size luxury SUV. I am thrilled to take this sleek, sporty vehicle on the streets of Miami and Ft. Lauderdale for the AutoFOCUS Test drive. I’ve got a lot on the agenda that will take me from one side of the region to the other, always in style.
Look at it. You won’t see anything on the streets like this one, although I have debated with a friend who says the QX50 slightly resembles another top brand’s SUV, but he’s trippin. The well devised artistic character lines & sultry curves are sensual and sleek, leading the eyes from front to back and back to front. It combines sharp lines with those flowing curves to arrive at a beautifully designed SUV. The LED headlights are sharp and detailed as well with curved lines that are a standout.
INTERIOR DESIGN & FEATURES
The QX50 interior design and layout shines, with distinct curved lines throughout. The seats, dash, console and doors are distinctively designed and well appointed. Color coordinated comfortable leather bucket seats come with a range of seating positions at the touch of a lever, providing customized comfort on command. That’s vital for people on extreme ends of the scale – I’m tall, needing extra leg room, while shorter people will need to get closer to the steering wheel. The customization allows for your perfect position to drive.
Look up and there’s the sunroof. Wow! What an exceptional view and open air experience with nearly one hundred percent visibility overhead. All around you’ll find generous storage and spaces for the stuff you need and ample charger ports for your phone.
This is a big point for me…the Bose sound system is amazing as always. I loved setting the controls exactly where I wanted them so I could vibe to my Red Hot Chili Peppers live in concert. It sounded like I was actually there. On the dash, there are two easy to operate screens, though they are somewhat different and less impressive than the rest of the interior.
There’s plenty of cargo space, which surprised me. After all, this is a smaller SUV. Lower the rear seats and you’ve got plenty more space to store your lifestyle needs.
The entire QX50 platform is new. The QX50 has the upper hand against 2.0-liter turbo fours in its segment. Its powerful turbocharger and a variable-valve-timing system is a 268-hp four-cylinder. By the way, the VT, and all-wheel drive is optional. But know this, an array of sport and luxury performance technology is packed into this SUV and it shows in the drive quality, handling, especially around curves and sharp turns, in hurried traffic and entering the highway with the torque you need to keep the momentum and flow going. At the peak of its performance range, the QX50 produces about 5,600 rpm and 280 lb-ft of torque from 1,600 to 4,800 rpm. The mileage is better than expected with an estimated 24 mpg city and 30 highway for an all-wheel-drive. The Front-wheel-drive gets a combined 27 mpg, among the tops in its class.
The QX50 is the first production vehicle to come with Infiniti’s VC-Turbo 2.0-liter inline-four. The high 14:1 compression ratio is awesome for low-load, high-mpg driving and the 8:1 ratio produces more power from the turbocharger. The driver can manipulate the engine literally for better performance, adjusting on command and I didn’t detect any turbo lag.
Infiniti’s ProPilot, a Assist system that under certain conditions can steer, brake, and accelerate the vehicle, This is something I had to get the hang of, yet knowing it’s there is reassuring. I appreciate the hard work and innovation that the engineers put into this vehicle. Most people don’t seem to get as excited about using the paddle shifters. I love it, as it really provides an enhance experience.
MY FINAL THOUGHTS
At a price point that starts around 44k, this beautiful SUV is in one of the most competitive segments in all of the automotive environment. But Infiniti has high hopes for the success of the QX50 and they should, considering the amount of features, benefits and upgrades they injected into this vehicle. No it’s not perfect, but it certainly makes a powerful statement that Infinity is up to the challenge of delivering a high-quality luxury SUV to a growing consumer base. The compact-luxury-crossover segment is insanely competitive, and the QX50 is the first production vehicle whose engine will actively vary its compression ratio, so that alone sets this SUV apart.
Imagine the fun driving the Q60
You can get a sneak preview right here of the smaller more aggressive Infiniti Q60. Check out the AutoFOCUS World Youtube page below.