With many choices in the compact luxury crossover segment, Infiniti's QX50 sets itself apart with a powerful standard engine, sporty handling, and useful technology features.
The QX50 first arrived on the market back in 2008 as the EX; last year saw the compact crossover receive its first major update when it went under the scalpel for freshened styling, a slightly raised ride height, and a wheelbase stretch that provided four additional inches of rear-seat legroom. For 2017, the QX50 carries over unchanged other than the addition of a new paint colour: Majestic White Pearl.
The QX50 is available exclusively with a 3.7-litre V6 engine. The naturally aspirated mill is pure old-school - no direct fuel injection, no turbos - but it's a something of a powerhouse, developing 320 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque. That's significantly more than the standard four-cylinder turbo engines in use on rival vehicles which are similarly priced to the QX50. The QX50 is thirstier than its rivals, with a city fuel economy rating of 13.7 L/100 km and 9.8 highway.
The QX50 uses a seven-speed automatic transmission with a manual mode and an electronically controlled all-wheel-drive system that can send up to 50 percent of the engine's torque to the front wheels. The system defaults to a rear-biased power distribution for a sportier feel.
When it was launched, the EX was a technological tour de force. It boasted the world's first 360-degree parking camera, lane-keeping assist, and a laser-based cruise control system with distance control alert at a time when these features were still on the drawing board at rival firms. While other brands have caught up and moved ahead with more advanced and refined versions of these technologies, the QX50 is very much up to date, capitalizing on the EX's innovations.
That said, certain aspects of the QX50 are starting to look dated, particular its in-car entertainment and interior, which haven't changed much since the vehicle launched. Leather and wood trim are standard, and the dashboard is available with stitched trim for a more upscale feel, but the graphics on the standard 7.0-inch display lag behind the times, and while Bluetooth phone is standard, Bluetooth streaming audio is optional. CarPlay and Android Auto are not available.
While the QX50 now offers a good amount of rear-seat legroom, its cargo hold is on the small side; its trunk is wide and shallow. A 60/40 split-folding rear seat is standard, with a convenient power-operated seat return an option.
A new QX50 is expected for 2018 inspired by the QX Sport Concept Car and will also be the first production vehicle to feature a variable compression ratio engine. With this, Infiniti's tradition of cutting-edge models will be restored.
For the present, the QX50 has a starting price of $38,900.
This vehicle has not yet been reviewed