2014 Infiniti QX50 Performance

8.0
Performance

The 2014 Infiniti QX50 is a compact crossover, packing a version of the company's stout 3.7-liter V-6, making 325 horsepower and 267 pound-feet; so as you might guess, it's never short on power.

The rather rev-happy V-6 is matched to an excellent seven-speed automatic transmission, with quick shifts, steering-wheel paddles, and throttle-blip-style rev-matching on downshifts. Overall, the engine and transmission work well together, with an eagerness that's uncommon in this kind of vehicle.

The QX50 doesn't handle quite as well as the larger FX37, but the large V-6 makes it quick.

Handling and body control aren't quite as great as those of the Q50 sedan (formerly G37) on which the QX50 is based, but they're impressive for a crossover, and steering weighting and feedback are far better than what you'll find in other such vehicles. Four-wheel disc brakes stop the QX50 with sport-sedan decisiveness, and there's no excess dive or body motion despite being a bit higher off the ground. We've found that versions with the optional all-wheel drive system don't feel quite as inspired; they don't handle with quite the level of awesome precision as rear-wheel-drive models, and they're a bit slower and thirstier to boot.

Ride quality is good here--firm but compliant--and the independent suspension hits the ideal balance of smoothness and athleticism. Our ongoing complaint here--as with much of Infiniti's lineup from the past several years--is that there's way too much engine noise in the cabin for a luxury vehicle. You hear it reassuringly when you're accelerating, but you hear it when you'd rather not, too.

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