INFINITI BRINGS SPORT TO ITS QX50
To suggest that the small/midsize segment of the luxury sports utility market is competitive is quite an understatement. This is the two-row family conveyance that put the Lexus brand on the map, allowed Porsche to diversify into the broader market and is pretty much what you’ll see in most public parking spaces. My neighborhood is a classic example where often two from the category occupy a nearby two-car garage.
In the 2024 model year, Nissan’s luxury brand INFINITI offers four SUVs in its lineup and its two QX models, the QX50 and QX55 aim directly at this two-row, five passenger segment. The QX50 offers a traditional SUV roofline while the QX55 roof sweeps down as it travels rearward to create a fastback or coupe appearance. The rest of the specifications are pretty much identical except for sacrificing a bit of cargo storage height in the rear of the swoopy QX55.
Our QX50 review vehicle was delivered in Sport trim, blacking out all the bright chrome and a feature that coordinated nicely with the rich Graphite Shadow paint. And inside the sporting fun continued with Monaco Red semi-aniline leather seat inserts as well as contrasting center console accents. And 20-inch gloss black wheels with a machine finish completed the newly aggressive demeanor.
As a luxury brand, INFINITI has kept its focus rather narrow compared to some of its vaunted rivals who offer a vehicle in every niche from compact to super-size. So the bad news might be that INFINITI has few bragging rights available for sales volume. On the other hand, it’s easier to find your QX50 in the parking lot. And isn’t a bit of exclusivity part of the joy of owning a luxury vehicle?
One of the QX50’s strengths in the category is a good balance of power and fuel economy. INFINITI’s innovative 2.0-liter engine uses a unique variable compression ratio scheme that delivers 268-horsepower and delivers the ponies through a novel constantly variable transmission (CVT) that it calls XTRONIC. The novelty comes from the transmission’s ability to act like it’s shifting (even paddle shifters are supplied) and not like a gearbox that seems to always be slipping. In short, it feels natural and helps deliver a combined 25-miles-per-gallon fuel economy.
Around town and on the road, the QX50 is a solid, competent vehicle that’s really quite nimble for its size. Visibility is first-rate and the cabin quiet enough to enjoy the Bose 12-speaker sound system. The instrument layout includes a large tachometer and speedometer along with fuel level and engine temperature in customary places and over in the center stack two screens display entertainment and HVAC control. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are easily set up if that’s your traveling style.
INFINITI has added Premium Care, a cost-free maintenance program that includes oil changes, tire rotation and most everything but gas fillups for three years. And the four-year warranty is extended to 60,000-miles along with a six-year, 70,000-mile drivetrain warranty. Only Genesis can top that attribute with its industry-leading warranty coverage and its GV70 model is a worthy rival to consider. Other major competitors in the $50,000 range include the Mercedes-Benz GLC300 and Acura’s RDX.
THE FINE PRINT
2024 INFINITI QX50 Sport
TYPE: Front-engine, all-wheel-drive
ENGINE: 2.0-liter Turbo I-4
HORSEPOWER: 268 @ 5,600 RPM
TORQUE: 280 lb.ft. @ 4,800 RPM
BASE PRICE: $51,050
AS TESTED: $53,240
FUEL CONSUMPTION: 22 city, 28 highway, 25 combined