The Infiniti QX50 returns as an all-new model for 2019 after briefly disappearing for the 2018 model year. It hardly looks like its former self with an updated exterior, a vastly improved interior, and a new engine that’s the first of its kind in the industry.
This five-person crossover needed a facelift, and Infiniti obliged in every way. The exterior, though not daring, is sportier and more aggressive, keeping it in step with the rest of the Infiniti lineup. There are LED headlights that give it the look of a coupe, along with matching LED taillights in back. The overall impression is one of understated luxury.
Inside, the changes are more dramatic with improvements all around. The QX50 feels like a luxury crossover with high-quality materials and plenty of soft-touch surfaces. There are open-pore wood and aluminum trims, striking available colors, and laser hole-cut stitch pattern leather designed to follow the curves of interior surfaces.
Dual-zone automatic climate control is standard with the option for tri-zone control to make rear passengers more comfortable. There’s also an available panoramic sunroof to keep the interior open and bright, along with an available Bose audio system with 16 speakers tuned specifically for the QX50.
Seating is comfortable with supportive front seats with good adjustability as well as a sliding bench seat for the second row. Being able to slide that second row forward and back makes the QX50 a uniquely adaptable crossover. Simply slide it forward to increase rear cargo capacity, or slide it back so rear passengers can stretch their legs and lounge.
The QX50 offers up to 64.4 cubic feet of cargo capacity when the rear seats are folded and the convenience of a motion-activated liftgate. There’s also under-floor storage that’s perfect for storing smaller items or precious cargo you want to keep away from prying eyes.
Infiniti added storage compartments up front, too. There’s space at the bottom of the center console for a couple of smartphones, a wallet, and cupholders big enough to fit 32-ounce drinks. Door storage is large enough to hold a 1.5-liter bottle.
Power for the QX50 comes from a 2.0-liter VC-Turbo 4-cylinder engine with 268 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque paired to a continuously variable automatic transmission. It is the world’s first variable compression ratio engine in a production car. This unique technology allows for optimum fuel efficiency without sacrificing power. It’s not something you actively notice, but the technology works in the background to provide quick, seamless power delivery.
Handling is good with very little body roll, which is often a problem with crossovers. The QX50 is controlled and easy to drive without being numb. You can tailor your drive experience by toggling through the Drive Mode Selector and choosing either Standard, Eco, Sport, or Personal modes to adjust shift points, steering effort, and torque output to your preferences.
The QX50 features the latest in driver-assistance features like ProPilot Assist. This isn’t self-driving technology, but rather a taste of what it may be like one day. It activates simply by pressing a button on the steering wheel and setting your speed with cruise control. The car will then manage your steering, brakes, and speed, but you must keep your hands on the wheel. If you let go of the wheel for too long, then the system sends out audible and visual warnings. Continue to ignore the warnings, and the QX50 flips on its hazards and brings the car to a stop.
The Infiniti QX50 is available in three trim levels starting with Pure at $36,550. Moving up the trims is the Luxe at $39,400 and Essential at $43,350. You can get all three trims with all-wheel drive for an extra $1,800. The 2019 Infiniti QX50 is due in dealerships this spring.