First Impressions: 2019 Infiniti QX50 Essential

2019 Infiniti QX50 Essential

This luxury crossover plays it pretty safe… until it comes to pricing.

By Cherise Threewitt, Contributor, Car-ED.com | October 2018

The Infiniti QX50, a compact crossover, disappeared from the market after 2017. Now it’s back with a full redesign and an interesting new engine. We had the chance to check out a loaded Infiniti QX50 at the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) Fall Rally in early October. Here are our first impressions. 

The QX50 looks good inside and out, and it’s comfortable to drive. The seats are comfortable and easy to adjust. The display is in a nice spot on the dash, which makes it easy to see the navigation system because it’s in the shade. The downside of that is that the infotainment screen is uncomfortably low (below the navigation display) and it sometimes feels like you’re looking too far off the road. Our test vehicle featured a two-tone interior with an unusual color combination of cream and an odd grayish-brown — not our favorite, but easy enough to change. Overall, visibility is good, but the QX50 has a sculpted hood that creeps up into view and can be kind of distracting. Probably something you’d get used to over time, or find a different seating position to compensate.

Infiniti powers the QX50 with an all-new engine, a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with variable compression, paired with a CVT. That means the engine is constantly monitoring the power needed and its efficiency, and can adjust the compression instantly to improve the way it’s running, which increases fuel economy. This engine is rated for 268 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. It’s a peppy engine, though it doesn’t feel any different than a regular turbo engine, and we thought the QX50 had good acceleration. It’s an easy and comfortable vehicle to drive, although it would really benefit from stronger steering feedback and less play in the steering wheel.

The 2019 Infiniti QX50 is available now and has a starting price of $36,550 for the base trim, which is called Pure. Our test car was the top-tier Essential trim, which starts at $43,350, though ours came to $55,280. That is a lot of money for a compact crossover, even a luxury model. The 12 grand worth of upgrades included the Sensory Package (20-inch wheels, heated and cooled front seats, upgraded headlights, hands-free tailgate, various interior trim) and the ProActive and ProAssist groups of active safety and driver assistance features. Somehow, with all that, this test model didn’t even have the optional all-wheel drive (another $1,800). Is it worth it? Well, this is one of those situations where we’d love to drive the base model and see how it compares. For now, we’ll say that if you can live without all the add-ons, the new Infiniti QX50 is definitely worth a look.