- Attractive design
- Loaded with safety features
- High-tech engine
- Decent value in some trims
- Frustrating infotainment
- Engine tech worth it?
- Quirky options packages
- Expensive top trim
features & specs
The 2020 Infiniti QX50 is an appealing, high-tech crossover SUV.
The trick turbocharged engine tucked under the hood of the swoopy 2020 Infiniti QX50 could pave the way forward for gasoline engines, but its importance may be lost on drivers who find more appeal in the crossover’s swoopy lines, comfortable interior, and advanced safety gear.
We rate the 2020 QX50 at 6.5 out of 10, and this year’s version is even more appealing thanks to newly standard blind-spot and lane-departure warnings plus an updated two-screen infotainment system. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
The QX50 is offered in a wide variety of trim levels that read more like types of conditioner: Pure, Luxe, Essential, Sensory, and Autograph. The luxury crossover has a 2.0-liter turbo-4 that uses tremendous brainpower to vary displacement in an effort to save fuel. Though no match for hybrids, the 25-mpg combined rating is reasonable given the 268-horsepower rating. A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) shuttles power to the front or all four wheels. Tuned more for comfort than performance, the QX50 is a soft-riding cruiser, though the advanced steering system on higher-trim versions hints at more performance potential.
The QX50 has a plush, spacious interior that offers good room for passengers and looks suitably dressy in high-trim versions.
Two additional trim levels this year help stretch the 2020 QX50 from around $40,000 to start to upward of $60,000 fully equipped. Infiniti offers a slew of stress-reducing driving aids on costlier versions that help keep the car centered in its lane and away from traffic ahead. For commuters, the features may be worth the hefty cost.
For most of us, we’re not sure they offset the so-so infotainment software, though at least Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility are standard fare on all versions of the QX50.
2020 INFINITI QX50
The handsome 2020 Infiniti QX50 has nice lines inside and out.
Styling alone may be a good enough reason to buy a 2020 Infiniti QX50. From its large grille to its sculpted curves and its alluring chrome “kink” in the roofline, the 2020 QX50 earns a 6 out of 10 on our scale.
The crossover’s sheet metal has a flowing, organic appearance that works well with the chrome trim around the window line and grille. There’s not a conventional curve or angle on the QX50, and that’s just fine to our eyes.
Inside, it’s not as much of a thriller. The double-screen layout is inelegant, though it’s offset by the attractive wood trim, quilted leather, and interesting hues available on some trim levels. Spend some time configuring your dream QX50 as the automaker offers a large number of options. Unfortunately, the nicest digs—semi-aniline leather, open-pore wood, and blue suede-like material—are restricted to the costly QX50 Autograph for which Infiniti asks upward of $56,000.
2020 INFINITI QX50
An impressive turbo-4 engine doesn’t offset an otherwise mundane driving experience in the 2020 Infiniti QX50.
Most drivers won’t realize just how much sorcery is going on under the 2020 Infiniti QX50’s hood. The crossover features a high-tech turbo-4 that could prove prophetic for gas engines moving forward, but its uniqueness is lost in an otherwise perfectly acceptable but not enlightening driving experience.
We rate the 2020 QX50 at 6 out of 10, with a point above average awarded to the 2.0-liter turbo-4.
On paper, the engine’s 268 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque are good but not unusually impressive for an engine of this size. What makes the little turbo-4 unique is that it can vary engine compression on the go, which translates to better performance and better fuel economy than an engine of this size ought to provide. The engine delivers good around-town grunt, though the snappy throttle may require some acclimation. The standard CVT works in the background to keep engine revs low to save fuel while simultaneously allowing for eager jumps into the power band when called upon. A manual mode imitates eight forward gears, and we suspect most drivers will be happy enough with its quiet, unobtrusive operation.
The QX50’s optional steer-by-wire steering is similarly innovative, though again it may be lost on the typical crossover SUV buyer. There’s no direct connection between the steering wheel and the front wheels, and the result is a nice, natural feel that works well with the softly-sprung suspension. We don’t have enough wheel time in a QX50 without the steer-by-wire system to draw judgement there, but we’ll update this space when we know more.
The system is called Direct Adaptive Steering in Infiniti-speak, and it’s optional on the Sensory trim and standard on the Autograph.
2020 INFINITI QX50
Comfort & Quality
The plush 2020 Infiniti QX50 has a nice cabin, especially on high-trim versions.
A quiet cabin with good space for passengers elevates the 2020 Infiniti QX50 to a 7 out of 10 score.
Front-seat passengers have thrones with unusually comfortable high-density foam backs and bases that have proven relaxing for longer road trips. Power adjustment is standard up front, while heating and cooling is optional.
Rear-seat riders have a decent 38.7 inches of leg room, which is better than some rivals. Infiniti doesn’t specify the same fancy cushioning out back that it does up front, but climbing aboard is easy and head room is decent. Synthetic leather is standard, while two grades of real hides are optional.
Cargo room is just OK at about 31 cubic feet with the rear seat upright and 64.4 cubes with row two folded down.
More impressive is what’s not there: road noise. A standard Bose noise-cancellation system does for the cabin what the company’s headphones do for pilots.
2020 INFINITI QX50
The 2020 Infiniti QX50 has performed well in crash tests, and it offers good safety gear.
We're still waiting for full crash-test results, but the QX50 is an 8 before they're all in. That's because federal testers gave it a five-star overall score, every crossover comes with automatic emergency braking, and good driver-assistance features are available.
All QX50s come standard with automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, rear automatic braking, blind-spot monitors, lane-departure warnings, automatic high-beam headlights, and rear cross-traffic alerts. Active lane control and adaptive cruise control are optional on the QX50 Essential and are standard on higher trims.
A system called ProPilot Assist can be had on higher-trim QX50s, and it’s worthwhile for drivers who find themselves in heavy traffic on a regular basis. The system helps keep the crossover centered in its lane and away from cars ahead, and it can reduce fatigue during a grueling commute. It’d be nice to see the tech more widely available, especially since it’s standard for around $30,000 on Infiniti parent Nissan’s Rogue.
2020 INFINITI QX50
The 2020 Infiniti QX50 is offered in a wide lineup, though you’ll want to study features closely to figure out which version works for you.
Infiniti offers five trim levels on its 2020 QX50, which is an unusually wide range not matched by most rivals. However, the 2020 Infiniti QX50 doesn’t offer many options, and the automaker bundles features some buyers might want in versions that may bust their budgets.
We rate the lineup at 7 out of 10 on account of the good level of standard features and the bright, large screen, though there’s more than meets the eye here.
The base QX50 Pure lives up to its name with active safety features, synthetic leather trim on its power-adjustable front seats, dual 8.0- and 7.0-inch screens on its center stack, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, Bluetooth, and other features we expect out of a $38,300 crossover SUV (add $2,000 for all-wheel drive).
That’s a good starting point, but if you want adaptive cruise control or the ProPilot Assist suite of driver aids, the QX50 Essential at upward of $45,000 beckons. It also adds a moonroof, heated front seats, and a few other features, though adaptive cruise is part of a $800 package.
At the top of the lineup, the QX50 Autograph features soft leather hides, real wood trim, 20-inch wheels, ProPilot Assist, and a whole gaggle of other features, as it should for more than $60,000 once you’ve ticked every option box.
Infiniti’s dual-screen controls can be a chore to sort through, especially while on the go.
2020 INFINITI QX50
The 2020 Infiniti QX50 is fairly frugal in real-world use.
The 2020 Infiniti QX50 is relatively fuel-efficient for a five-seat crossover.
The 22 mpg city, 28 highway, 25 combined score for a QX50 with all-wheel drive is good given the available power. Opting for front-wheel drive ups the combined score to 26 mpg and the highway score to 29 mpg.
Despite all the powertrain wizardry, the 2020 QX50 is on par with all-wheel-drive rivals. All versions of the QX50 are designed to run on premium.