Redesigned, Refined: This Classic Luxury Crossover Just Got a Little Better
Normally I’m excited when a car has a complete redesign. That typically means a refined exterior look and a more modern edge and upgraded materials, details and technology. And, buying the first model year of a redesign can be a good investment: it looks new for longer than buying the last year or two of the outgoing design (though this can often result in a great deal when dealers want to replace old inventory with new.)
So I was curious, if a little wary, to see the redesigned 2019 Infiniti QX50.
Who This Car is For:
- Singles, couples or small families
- Buyers who want a luxury car
- Buyers who like the higher ground clearance and flexible cargo space of an SUV
- Buyers who need all-wheel drive
- Buyers who drive long distances and will benefit from the semi-autonomous Pro Pilot Assist
- Buyers who want an SUV but better fuel economy than most
- Drivers who want the reliability of Infiniti, the luxury arm of Nissan
What This Car Costs
Infiniti has streamlined the trim levels of its models. The base model is called Pure, mid-level is called Luxe, and the top of the line is called Essential. From there, buyers can add a few options, including the top of the line Sensory Package which is what encompasses the gorgeous quilted leather interior that I loved so much.
- Pure FWD (front wheel drive): $36,550
- Luxe FWD: $49,400
- Essential FWD: $43,350
- For all-wheel drive, add $1,800 to Pure and Essential; $2,800 to Luxe
- Heated seats (Luxe and Essential): Add $550
- ProAssist (Luxe and Essential): Add $550
- Sensory package (Essential only): Add $7,500 + ProAssist ($550)
Phew! The New Design Doesn’t Undermine Its Lovely Bones
Including the rolling lines of the hood that you see from the driver’s seat. In many cars you don’t really see the hood. In others, you get a peek at it. In the QX50 you see the sinuous ruffle of the hood and fenders. And, you get to look at your paint, another unique and special thing. In most cars if you really love the paint color, you’re disappointed that you rarely get to look at it. Not in the QX50. You get to look at that color all day long.
That this view is preserved was a surprise; from the outside, the hood lines look much more sculpted and less rounded than the last model design. So it was a true delight to hop in and see that the view from the driver’s seat hasn’t changed.
A Sleek, More Modern Look, Inside and Out
On the outside I love that the QX50 feels more modern, though the front end now takes on a shape that can be confused with competitors; maybe that’s aerodynamics at work.
Also on the front end, the QX50 has a solid badge plaque rather than the bracelet-like chrome ring seen on prior models (the jewelry-like badge is the same on the liftgate, though).
The exterior still carries over some of Infiniti’s defining details, such as the distinct rear windows, the sleek steely-eyed look of the headlights and the sloping roofline that adds to the SUV’s aerodynamic shape.
On the inside premium details are seen throughout, from the panoramic sun roof and head up display to the suede covered arm rests and accents, rough-hewn woodgrain trim that begs to be touched, chrome accents that lend just a bit of bling and leather covered zero gravity seats (read: comfortable!) and surfaces that lend a refined, quiet sensibility.
The top of the line model, the QX50 Essential with the Sensory package takes it all up a notch with quilted leather, ultra suede trim details and adaptive LED headlights. It’s like driving a Chanel handbag.
Technology That Sets New Standards —and Does a Lot of the Work For You
There’s been a lot of excitement over Nissan’s Pro Pilot Assist, a nearly autonomous drive mode that adapts the car’s speed to traffic and keeps it between the lines on the highway. You can set your speed and then relax your hands, though you can’t take them off the wheel. If you do, the car will start to slow until it comes to a complete stop.
Infiniti has put this system—comprised of several other technologies that it developed over the last 20 years—into the QX50 (it’s also available in the Nissan Rogue). Pro Pilot Assist compliments the blind spot warning, cross traffic warning, emergency braking and more. Here’s a short video of the technologies and when they were developed by Infiniti:
Ever wonder how safety tech features came to be? Here's a timeline of features developed by Infiniti. They rolled out the first, adaptive cruise control, in 1999!
Posted by A Girls Guide to Cars on Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Did Someone Say Better MPG??? Yes, Up to 35% Better
Another technology that Infiniti has been focused on is the VC Turbo, or variable compression turbo, which creates a more efficient burn rate of your fuel by only burning what is needed based on the amount of acceleration and the drive mode you’re in.
This, paired with the turbo, means that Infiniti has been able to squeeze up to 35% more efficiency, getting about 30 MPG on the highway and 26 in the city with little sacrifice in performance (though lead-footed drivers will likely still see lead-footed fuel economy).
So, How Does this Car Drive, Anyway?
The QX50 offers several drive modes, including Eco, which did exactly what you might expect, dialing back the power quite a bit. However, in normal, sport or a customized setting, the turbo-charged 268 horsepower was perfectly fine and fun. Even on a steep hill the Infiniti had no trouble pulling away from the intersection, and thankfully the automatic hill hold kept us from rolling backward; it was all quite seamless and easy.
Once on the highway the QX50 was a good companion; the zero gravity seats were comfy, the ProPilot Assist took the stress out of speed and steering, and the VCTurbo kept us humming along. All so I could enjoy the beautiful and distinct view of the QX50’s hoodline as it framed the California coast.
What We Listened to in the QX50
My drive partner Emme was not particular about music, so I got to pick some of my favorite tunes to listen to on the Bose audio system ?. Here’s what I thought sounded really great:
Disclosure: I was Infiniti’s guest for this test drive; travel and accommodations were provided but all opinions are my own.