Built by Nissan following the EX model and akin to the Skyline Crossover, the Infiniti QX50 lives up to its luxury crossover SUV title. It has a unibody construction like most crossovers hence it’s more of a high volume car and not really intended to be an off-road vehicle. Still, that suited our needs just fine and for our 300-mile test drive trip from Boulder to our adventure in Canon City. Infiniti QX50 was first introduced at the Nanjing Auto Show in 2013 but was not available in the US until an updated version announced in 2015 for the 2016 model year. The production version of the second generation was introduced in 2017 at the Los Angeles Auto show as a 2019 model year. There was no 2018 model year for the QX50.
Our test vehicle, the Essential AWD trim, is the top of three trim options available (the others being Pure and Luxe) and starts at $43,350. Ours in particular came at a base price of $45,150 and had a number of extras to bring the total to $59,085.
While other reviews knock the QX50 it for its handling, we didn’t have any problem with it. Sure, it may not have the deep precision test drivers look for when careening around a test track or when trying to go as fast as possible twisting along a mountain road—it’s not a sports car after all. Still, the 2.0L turbocharged gasoline engine with Nissan’s VC-T variable compression ratio system was peppy, fun, and easy to drive either just hum-drumming along the Interstate or while getting a little playful on country highways. Also of note, we didn’t have much weight in the vehicle, just my wife, myself, and minimal luggage for the (glorious) three day trip without kids.
The two-row QX50 has a good amount of room for five people and gear. In fact, it has more cargo space than most others of its class with over 31 cubic feet behind the second row and more than 60 cubic feet when the rear 60/40 split seats are folded down to provide a nice flat surface for packing. Another great thing about the rear cargo space is the 12 volt plug is recessed behind the wheel well so having something plugged in while driving won’t impede too much with the larger cargo area.
The front two seats are extremely comfortable and the white leather contributed nicely to the premium interior materials used for a very luxurious look and feel. The rear seats have 38.7 inches of legroom which is comfortable for most and totally fine for our 2- and 5-year-olds in their car seats. At 74.9 inches wide and with the interior styling, fitting three adults in the rear seat is a bit tight. Or, as we try to do sometimes is fit an adult between the two kids’ safety seats—also a squeeze.
The Essential trim includes the “towing package” which just means it has a hitch and the plug for trailer lights. But there is no mention of the towing capacity specifically—so be cautious of that if you need to tow something. Nevertheless, that hitch will work just fine for adding a bike rack.
The roof rails have a very specific fit to add crossbars, so it won’t fit generic strap on bars, which eliminates some compatibility.
At an EPA combined rating of 26 mpg (24 city /31 hwy), it’s one of the most fuel efficient vehicles of its class. It has a 16 gallon fuel tank which usually provides about a 400-mile range. We had about a quarter tank upon our return of our 300-mile trip, which included having some luggage and a drive through the mountains (though, not up any steep passes, pushes into the wind, or other gas mileage impediments).
With the Essential AWD trim, the list of amenities is very long, so go check it out at the dealer site to see what’s important to you. Standout for us were the full length (Panoramic, by Infiniti terms) sliding glass moonroof and the rear seat sun shades—ironic since our test trip for this vehicle was without our kiddos. We also liked the in-floor storage that made for a tidy way to store the tire changing tools. Though, the irony of that configuration is if you’re on a big road trip and have the rear cargo storage full of gear, you may have to take a bunch of it out to get to the tools to change the tire. Still, it’s a nice space to keep other rarely-needed, but nice-to-have-along emergency supplies.
Shapely leather heated and cooled seats, tri-zone automatic climate control, suede leather trim touch points, ergonomically placed components like the shifter, cup holders, along with various buttons and controls made this vehicle for a very comfortable ride. It’s also a very quiet vehicle thanks to the motor and good sound dampening to minimize road noise.
As mentioned above, it was ironic that our test trip was without kiddos considering how very family friendly the QX50 is. Elements like the panoramic moonroof so kids can see up steep cliff sides when traveling in the mountains, the retractable sunshades for the rear windows, and the two easy to access sets of LATCH anchors for kid seats means your nuggets will have less to bother them on long road trips and those contribute to happy passengers.