“2019 Infiniti QX50 Essential AWD”
New QX50 Showcases World-first technologies
The all-new 2019 Infiniti QX50 steps up to the plate with a most compelling design based on an entirely new platform that provides a heightened level of versatility, functionality and efficient performance in the form of a luxury mid-size crossover.
This latest Infiniti QX50 comes in three levels of trim: the QX50 Pure; Luxe; and Essential. Pricing ranges from $36,550 to $45,150 and all are available in either FWD or Infiniti’s Intelligent All-Wheel Drive. There are eight available packages: Premium Audio, ProASSIST Package, ProACTIVE Package, Heated Seats, Premium Heat Package, Tow Package, Autograph Package and Sensory Package. All models closely follow the interpretation of the design influence of the QX50 Concept and QX Sport Inspiration, displaying an aerodynamic exterior that reflects the distinctive “Powerful Elegance” of Infiniti’s design language and signature styling cues found in their crossover lineup. Note: My test vehicle for the Global Test Drive program was a pre-production fully loaded Essential AWD that rang up to $57,200. The exterior was finished in Liquid Platinum and came with a Graphite-toned interior. The Destination and Handling charge is $995.
The big news is in the powertrain – the power source for the new QX50 comes from the world’s first production-ready Variable Compression ratio engine, representing a breakthrough in combustion engine design. It is a 2.0-liter, DOHC, 16-valve, VC turbocharged inline 4-cylinder engine with Direct Injection + Port Injection that produces 268 horsepower at 5,600 rpm while developing 280 pound feet of torque in a range from 1,600 to 4,800 rpm. The VC-Turbo engine adjusts its compression ratio optimizing power and efficiency by combining the power of a 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline engine with the torque and efficiency of a four-cylinder diesel engine. Energy is transmitted to the driving wheels via a standard Xtronic Continously Variable Transmission (CVT) with manual shift mode and Downshift Rev Matching.
In terms of its visual exterior appeal, this latest Infiniti QX50 is characterized by its sculpted flowing character lines and bold, muscular proportions. The familial double-arch grille is wider and leads off in an elevated position with no gaps between the grille and long clamshell hood. The QX50 also adopts Infiniti’s signature LED headlight design, where the horizontal light signature cuts across the projector similar in execution to the headlamps from the Infiniti Q60 sports coupe.
The QX50’s overall visual character showcases a degree of athleticism, while retaining balanced body proportions. Character lines are formed by sharp, rolled-edge creases in the bodywork, achieved by deep-sculpting manufacturing methods. The clamshell hood flows into the character lines running along the sides of the vehicle, creating a sharp angle. These same deep-stamping production methods also enable the creation of an integrated door design, resulting in an almost-seamless connection between the door glass and metal. Integrated door handles allow the deep character line to continue in an uninterrupted fashion.
Infiniti’s signature crescent-cut D-pillar extends the visual length of the roof line, as the rear pillar arcs forward, emphasizing motion even when the car is stationary. The bumpers and wheel arches feature air slits, inlets and outlets to assist the efficient flow of air. The drag coefficient is improved by six percent compared to the previous-generation QX50.
Slipping into the cabin, the interior of the QX50 is focused on space and functionality with a heaping helping of hand-crafted luxuriousness. It is clearly driver-centric with a sport-inspired performance steering wheel complete with paddle shifters.
The intuitive Human Machine Interface helps to minimize stress for greater comfort on longer journeys. The HMI adopts smartphone-style controls, and each of the two screens can be operated with pinch-in/out operation.
An enhanced greenhouse space is made more flexible by the sliding rear bench seat. The cargo area is 39.0 inches deep with the rear bench all the way back – increasing to 44.9 inches with the seats forward. The trunk volume measures 31.1 cubic feet, with the rear seats in their rear-most position, expanding to 64.4 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down. Rear legroom provides up to 38.7 inches. The trunk will hold three golf bags, or a stroller situated length-wise, with space for additional cargo. Hidden under-floor storage compartments may be used to stow valuables, or wet and muddy gear.
The optional panoramic moonroof stretches from the front row through to the cargo area, visually enhancing interior space, and flooding the interior with natural light.
SUMMARY: With the return of the venerable Infiniti QX50 for the 2019 model year, consumers have yet another choice relative to size. The QX50 falls mid-range in the Infiniti scheme of things. The QX30 may not be big enough and both the QX60 and the Papa Bear-sized QX80 may be intimidating and overwhelming to some.
The 2.0-liter VC turbo four-banger is both smooth and powerful, as well as more efficient than a non VC engine. The CVT transmission, while not a favorite of many gearheads is one of the smoothest on the market, with gear step logic and the ability to switch modes.
The ride quality is akin to an entry-level luxury sedan and the engine speed sensitive variable assist electric power steering delivers a positive feel.
Safety features abound and the innovative ProPilot serves as a semi-autonomous driving assist. It is not a fully self-driving feature.
In the final analysis, the 2019 Infiniti QX50 Essential AWD is an exemplary example of an entry level, mid-size luxury Crossover with few rivals. In any event, it nicely rounds out Infiniti’s Crossover/SUV inventory.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2019 Infiniti QX50 Essential AWD
Base Price: $41,150.
Price as Tested: $57,200.
Engine Type and Size: KR20DDET 2.0-liter, DOHC, 16-valve, turbocharged inline 4-cylinder with Direct Injection + Port Injection
Horsepower (bhp): 268 @ 5,600 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 280 @ 1,600-4,800 rpm
Transmission: Xtronic CVT with manual shift mode and Downshift Rev Matching.
Drive Train: Transversely mounted front engine / Intelligent All-Wheel Drive.
Suspension: Front – MacPherson Strut with aluminum-alloy upper and lower aluminum/steel subframe construction, twin-tube shock absorbers, 27 mm stabilizer bar.
Rear – Independent multi-link with monotube shock absorbers, 22.5 mm stabilizer bar.
Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel ventilated discs with 4- channel/4-sensor/4 wheel ABS, EBD, and BA.
Tires: Bridgestone Ecopia 255/45 R20 mounted on 5-stylized “V”-spoke alloy wheels.
Wheelbase: 110.2 inches
Length Overall: 184.7 inches
Width: 74.9 inches
Height: 66.0 inches
Curb Weight: 3,857 lbs.
Turning Circle: 36.4 ft.
Fuel Capacity: 16.0 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 24 mpg city / 30 mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: 0.32
0 – 60 mph: Not tested
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.