It may wear a different badge on its tailgate, but familiar elements like an agile rear-wheel-drive platform and a strong V6 mean the 'ute remains the sports car of compact luxury crossovers. While it entails a few compromises compared to rivals - chief among them slightly cramped rear seats and unimpressive cargo space - buyers looking for a practical but fun all-weather vehicle will find much to like.
The QX50 was refreshed for the most recent model year. The most significant changes are a stretch in wheelbase (and accompanying increase in rear leg room) and an exterior overhaul, bringing it more in line with the styling pioneered by the overhauled Q50 sedan. Infiniti also simplified its trim and packages, opting for a more streamlined configuration experience.
The QX50 rides on a modernized version of the Q40 sports sedan's athletic architecture. These underpinnings help the crossover feel like a smaller, lower vehicle in turns, despite a ride that's quite comfortable even overly poorly maintained roads.
Power comes from a carry-over 3.7-liter V6 that produces 325 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque. With the help of a seven-speed automatic transmission, the mill is powerful enough to propel the QX50 from zero-to-60 mph in around six seconds while still returning 17 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway in rear-wheel-drive form.
An optional all-wheel-drive system prepares the crossover for the worst the four seasons can throw at it while only reducing city mileage by a single mpg.
Outside, the QX50's sleek styling reflects its sporty nature. Highlights include Infiniti's corporate double-arch grille, L-shaped headlights and abbreviated front and rear overhangs. The price for the small size and expanded rear passenger compartment is a cargo hold that's smaller than most competing crossovers. At 18.6 cubic feet, the main cargo space is respectable, but the 47.4 cubes available with the rear seats folded down is significantly less than some rivals offer.
While not enormous, the QX50's cabin is quite well furnished. Soft-touch materials and premium leather are used generously throughout, and the well-designed front seats should allow people of all shapes and sizes to ride in comfort up front.
Trim Level Breakdown
The QX50 is offered in two trim levels—QX50 and QX50 AWD.
The entry-level QX50 trim comes standard with leather upholstery, Bluetooth connectivity, dual-zone automatic climate control, power-adjustable front seats, a six-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo system with a USB input and SiriusXM radio, a rear-view camera a seven-inch driver information display and 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels.
If you're looking to upgrade, Infiniti offers four different option packages for the QX50 (up from three previously).
The first step up is the Premium package, which adds BOSE premium audio with two subwoofers, advanced climate control, two-position driver's seat memory, reverse-tilt side mirrors and a power tilt/telescoping steering column.
The newest addition is the Premium Plus package, which adds navigation, Infiniti's "Around View" 360-degree camera system and front/rear parking sensors.
The Deluxe Touring package includes upgraded wheels (19"), HID headlights, adaptive front lighting, power driver's seat lumbar support, an 8-way power driver's seat, power folding rear seats and a premium stitched meter hood.
The Technology Package adds lane departure warning with lane departure prevention, intelligent cruise control (from zero to cruise speed), distance control assist, intelligent brake assist with forward collision warning and blind spot monitoring.
The QX50 comes standard with Nissan's fluid finish paint technology. The technology allows for minor scratches in the EX's clearcoat to disappear in hours or days thanks to an elastic resin that flows back into shape after being damaged.
All QX50 models come standard with dual front, front side and full-length side curtain airbags in addition to traction and stability and controls systems.
A number of optional safety systems are available as part of the Technology Package (detailed above)