New & Used Infiniti QX50: In Depth
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The Infiniti QX50 made its debut almost a decade ago as the EX35, later becoming the EX37 when it received a larger engine. Now, as the result of a wholesale change in Infiniti's naming strategy, it has become the QX50. It is a compact luxury crossover vehicle with wide-ranging competition, including the Acura RDX, Audi Q5, BMW X3, Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, Lincoln MKC, Mercedes-Benz GLK/GLC-Class and Volvo XC60.
The QX50, Infiniti's littlest crossover, is basically a wagon version of a sports sedan, with a taller roof and stubby rear, and is one of few in its segment to be based on a rear-drive model. Like its rivals, the QX50 isn't really meant for off-roading as much as it is set up for inclement weather and mall parking lots, and it's also not cavernous inside. Unlike some of them, however, it favors driver involvement over other considerations.
That's been the case until the 2016 model year when Infiniti adopts a new version of the QX50 — a version initially built for China, and one with about three inches more wheelbase for much better rear-seat space.
All Infiniti models received new names for 2014. There's some logic in the naming now, once you get beyond the initial confusion. All Infiniti crossovers have been given "QX" labels, and all sedans and coupes have received the "Q" prefix. Those letters are followed by a two-digit number in multiples of ten that reflects the relative place in the lineup. Despite the renaming, the QX50 is largely the same vehicle that was most recently sold as the EX37.
As a result of an engine change for 2013, the EX went from its old EX35 badge to the EX37 name. A newer, 325-hp, 3.7-liter V-6 replaced the previous car's 297-hp, 3.5-liter V-6. That same basic version is still sold today, although now under the QX50 nameplate. The engine continues to be paired with a smooth, quick-shifting seven-speed automatic that comes with steering-wheel shift paddles and can blip the throttle to rev-match downshifts.
Handling and body control aren't quite as great as those of the Q50 sedan (formerly the G37) on which the QX50 is based, but they're impressive for a crossover, and steering weight and feedback are far better than what you'll find in other such vehicles. But fuel economy remains low—even for those who expect it in exchange for the very snappy powertrain performance; EPA ratings are just 17 mpg city, 24 highway with all-wheel drive, or 17/25 with rear-wheel drive, which is considerably thirstier than most of the alternatives.
The QX50 is already a compact vehicle, but the sleek roofline and performance-oriented layout compound matters inside. While front-seat space is great—the feeling is airy, with supportive seats and plenty of legroom and headroom—the back seat is tight, almost claustrophobic, and if you have taller occupants in front you'll be trading off nearly all the knee space and legroom. The taper of the roofline toward the back severely limits cargo usability, too. It can also make it difficult to see out the rear, especially with second-row occupants' heads in the way.
Infiniti sells the QX50 in four models: base QX50, QX50 AWD, QX50 Journey, and QX50 Journey AWD. Standard equipment includes leather seating, push-button start, a power-folding second row, a moonroof, a universal garage-door opener, power steering-column adjustment, and heated front seats. The technology package includes advanced features like an Active Blind Spot Warning system, an Around View Monitor, Lane Departure Prevention, Intelligent Cruise Control, Distance Control Assist, and Intelligent Brake Assist with Forward Collision Warning.
The 2016 QX50 is very similar to the current model. It gets a wheelbase stretch as standard, something offered on the model in China for some time. Although not an all-new generation, this size increase and other tweaks should bring the QX50 back to relevancy, addressing the problem of its tight cabin. Both rear- and all-wheel-drive models will receive an increase in ground clearance, which should make the QX50's crossover intentions a bit more clear at a glance. Trim levels will include Premium, Premium Plus, Deluxe Touring, and Technology.