The QX50 is now the smallest of Infiniti's SUV offerings, positioned below the three-row QX60 and QX80 models in size and price. Infiniti introduced the current, second-generation model for the 2019 model year with the automaker's novel variable compression engine. The QX50 competes in a crowded and competitive segment of compact luxury SUVs led by the Volvo XC60, Lincoln Corsair, and Acura RDX.
For 2022, Infiniti is releasing a coupe-like version of the QX50 dubbed the QX55. You can find everything we know about the upcoming model here.
Since the QX50 returned to the compact luxury SUV segment for 2019, we've become intimately familiar with the stylish model. It was evaluated as part of our 2019 SUV of the Year competition, and we spent a year with an AWD QX50 Essential. What we found is that although the QX50 excels in some areas, the Infiniti ultimately falls behind in such a competitive space.
Most notable is the QX50's engine, a variable compression turbo-four capable of raising or lowering its compression ratio on the fly for improved efficiency or performance. Although the engine provides decent performance, the poor tuning of the CVT ruins the experience with inconsistent responses, bungee cord acceleration, and unimpressive real world fuel economy numbers.
The infotainment system was a source of frustration, too. In our experience, the system was slow to respond, glitchy, and too complex for its own good. Even spending a year with it, we never figured out how to efficiently navigate the interface. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility were added for 2020 and help mitigate the issue a bit.
We did find positive aspects of this compact soft-roader. It's an exceedingly comfortable vehicle—in terms of material quality, spaciousness, and ride quality—in ways that make the QX50 an excellent road trip companion. We went so far as to call it "a La-Z-Boy with wheels" and the car's grand touring appeal is only enhanced by Infiniti's impressive ProPilot semi-autonomous driving tech.
So the QX50 is comfortable, clever, and quiet (even more so, now that acoustic front side glass is standard on all trims). It's also poorly tuned and too complex for its own good. Although it's not a bad SUV, the segment is packed with better-driving, more intuitive, well-rounded options.
Every QX50 uses a 2.0-liter turbo-four mated to a CVT automatic. The industry-exclusive variable compression engine develops 268 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque, and it helps the QX50 hustle to 60 mph in 6.3 seconds. FWD is standard and AWD is available on every trim. Fuel economy numbers read 22-23/28-29 mpg city/highway, with FWD models holding a slight advantage.
The QX50 earns a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA, with near-flawless crash ratings and a four-star rollover evaluation. It hasn't been fully evaluated by the IIHS but it earned Good scores in two crashworthiness tests, a Superior front crash prevention rating, and Acceptable or Marginal ratings for the two headlight options.
Infiniti added a standard collection of active safety features for 2020, including blind-spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert, and automatic high beams. For 2021, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, and ProPilot Assist semi-autonomous driving tech are included on QX50 Luxe models and above.
Cargo capacity is on the higher end of the segment, with 31.1-31.4 cubic feet of space behind the rear seat (depending on whether the example includes a moonroof) and 64.4-65.1 cubic feet with the seats folded down. Front legroom is a little tight at 39.6 inches and rear legroom is on the more generous side of adequate at 38.7 inches.
Every QX50 features Infiniti's dual-screen infotainment system, which was updated for 2020. The upper and lower touchscreens measure 8.0 and 7.0 inches, respectively, and smartphone mirroring via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is standard on all models. A head-up display is included on higher trims. Six-speaker audio is standard, but audiophiles can opt for a 16-speaker Bose setup.