Select a year
- Highs Handsome on the outside and the inside, lots of room for people and cargo, very comfy front seats.
- Lows Innovative engine has ordinary traits, transmission contributes to noisiness, unintuitive infotainment layout.
- Verdict The QX50 meets most of the segment's luxury requirements, but its engine isn't all that revolutionary.
The 2022 Infiniti QX50 blends beautiful bodywork with an innovative interior in a compact luxury crossover package. Unfortunately, Infiniti's variable-compression turbocharged four-cylinder (VC-Turbo for short) doesn't live up to its promise of better fuel economy and notable performance. Alternatives such as the Audi Q5 and the Mercedes-Benz GLC300 are quicker and similarly thrifty at the pump. At least the QX50 succeeds as one of the more stylish entries in its segment, with an interior that's as spacious as it is luxurious. Still, we'll quibble about the dual-screen layout of its infotainment system and the noisiness caused by its gearless automatic transmission. While the 2022 QX50 is a worthy upgrade from, say, a Nissan Rogue, it's not on the same level as the majority of its upper-class classmates.
Where This Vehicle Ranks
What's New for 2022?
The 2022 QX50 adds more standard features and updated visual options. Every model now comes with wireless Apple CarPlay and Infiniti's suite of driver assists. The latter includes adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, and lane-keeping assist. Along with a newly available appearance package, select trim levels receive interior enhancements.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
We think the mid-level Essential is the best choice. Those who want all-wheel drive will have to dole out another $2000. There's also a decent amount of standard equipment, including a 360-degree camera system, heated front seats, front parking sensors, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and more. Upgrading from the lesser Luxe model unlocks more options, too. We think the Convenience package is worth selecting since it ups the luxury quotient with a power-adjustable steering column, a heated steering wheel, leather upholstery, and enhanced memory settings.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Every QX50 is powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that uses variable compression—called VC-Turbo. The engine makes 268 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque and pairs with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) that directs power to either the front or all four wheels. The engine seamlessly swaps between high compression during steady cruising and low compression during hard acceleration. While it never exhilarates when the pedal hits the metal, only those seeking a seriously quick crossover will be disappointed. Unfortunately, the engine is loud under heavy throttle, and the CVT makes this worse, especially around town. The Infiniti prioritizes comfort and luxury, with a compliant ride that is composed on rough roads and smooth on the highway. Passengers are also well isolated from choppy sections of road. The steering feedback is balanced, and it firms up in the selectable Dynamic and Dynamic+ steering modes. While the steering wheel provides little communication with the road surface, it has accurate reactions and light effort. Unfortunately, the Infiniti's soft brake pedal operates inconsistently. This leads to more than one shoddy stop in rush-hour traffic where the QX50's nose dives forward under heavy braking. Still, it only needed a competitive 164 feet to stop from 70 mph in our emergency-braking test.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
Despite a so-called revolutionary engine touted as maximizing power and fuel economy, our test vehicle was less efficient than advertised during real-world testing. The front-wheel-drive QX50 is rated at 23 mpg city and 29 highway; the all-wheel-drive version has estimates of 22 mpg city and 28 highway. All these estimates align with the similarly equipped BMW X3 and Volvo XC60, but that's disappointing when you consider the VC-Turbo engine is intended to be more efficient than traditional alternatives. Likewise, the last all-wheel-drive QX50 we tested on our 75-mph fuel-economy route—part of our extensive testing regimen—fell short of its highway estimate and returned 27 mpg in the real world. For more information about the QX50's fuel economy, visit the EPA's website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Inside, the QX50 can be fitted with quilted leather seats, wood interior trim, and a faux-suede headliner. However, these upscale appointments are available only on the most expensive model. Still, every QX50 has a comfortable and quiet cabin that includes a spacious second row with reclining seatbacks that have so far been the highlight of the 2019 QX50 in our long-term test fleet. The QX50 has 31 cubic feet behind the back seat and up to 65 cubes with the 60/40 split-folding rear bench folded flat. We managed to fit nine carry-on suitcases with the seats up and 22 with them down. Both results were two more than the X3 held. While our top-of-the-line test vehicle had the motion-activated power liftgate, none of the lower trims has this useful feature.
Infotainment and Connectivity
The dual-touchscreen infotainment system will bother some more than others. We also were annoyed that the heated steering wheel and custom drive-mode settings are only accessible through this interface. While we appreciated the familiar volume knob, the rotary controller on the center console only operates the top screen. Every model has Android Auto, wireless Apple CarPlay, and a subscription-based Wi-Fi hotspot. A 16-speaker Bose audio system and mobile hotspot are also optional. Our test vehicle did have several power points, with three USB ports up front and multiple 12-volt outlets, including one in the cargo area.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Every QX50 has a host of standard driver-assistance technology that includes lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist. For more information about the Infiniti's crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking
- Standard blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert
- Standard adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go technology
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Although many luxury brands offer complimentary scheduled maintenance, Infiniti does not. It does provide competitive limited and powertrain warranties, along with four years of roadside assistance.
- Limited warranty covers four years or 60,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers six years or 70,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance
front-engine, front- or all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door hatchback
turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve 2.0 liter inline-4, aluminum block and head, port and direct fuel injection, 268hp, 280 lb-ft
continuously variable automatic with manual shifting mode
Wheelbase: 110.2 in
Length: 184.7 in
Width: 74.9 in
Height: 66.0 in
Passenger volume: 102-104 cu ft
Cargo volume: 31 cu ft
Curb weight (C/D est): 4000-4150 lb
PERFORMANCE (C/D EST)
Zero to 60 mph: 6.4-6.7 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 17.2-17.6 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 15.0-15.3 sec
Top speed: 140 mph
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/city/highway: 26-27/24/30-31 mpg
2019 Infiniti QX50 Essential AWD
• 268-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4, CVT, 4187 lb, base/as-tested price: $46,145/$55,700
Zero to 60 mph: 6.5 sec
Standing 1/4-mile: 15.1 sec @ 94 mph
Top speed (drag limited): 141 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 164 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.86 g
C/D observed fuel economy: 19 mpg
C/D 75-mph highway fuel economy: 27 mpg