2019 Infiniti QX50 Road Test

What's It Like To Live With For 20,000 Miles?

INFINITI QX50 2019
Miles DrivenAverage MPG
18,47421.1

Test Highlights

  • Sharp lines and style gave it more flair than most midsize SUVs
  • Semi-automated driving tech came in handy on commutes
  • Engine was mostly gutless and mismatched to transmission
  • We never got close to EPA-rated fuel economy

Wrap-Up

What We Got
Whenever an automaker overhauls a significant model in its portfolio, we're keen to spend some time with the new issue, especially when the model hasn't changed in a decade.

The Infiniti QX50 model name has only been around since 2014, but the car itself was essentially unchanged since its debut in 2008 as the EX35 (a name later shortened to simply EX).

The 2019 QX50 represented the first real overhaul for Infiniti's midsize SUV. The original model stood apart from its competitors by trading utility — smaller size, less cargo space — for sportier handling and performance. With a V6 engine and rear-wheel or all-wheel drive, the EX was the SUV cousin to Infiniti's G35 sport sedan. It wasn't the first choice if you needed maximum space, but it was one of the better picks for an SUV that could still chop it up on a winding road.

For 2019, the redesigned QX50 moved away from its sporty roots onto a new front-wheel-drive platform that offered more cabin space. It boasted a turbo four-cylinder engine that promised V6 power with four-cylinder fuel economy using a new technology called variable compression. And Infiniti's new semi-automated driving features, such as stop-and-go adaptive cruise control and self-steering, were also included in the new QX.

It sounded like the right time to spend some miles with the new SUV. So we took one, a top-trim Essential model with most of the options, on loan for a year from Infiniti. Following are some highlights — and lowlights — of our time with the 2019 QX50.

Performance

2019 Infiniti QX50

  • "At 9,000 feet of elevation, the QX50 is completely gutless. Power delivery is late and extremely underwhelming. The turbo four-cylinder simply doesn't have what it takes to pull a quick passing maneuver or pull itself up a long grade quickly. Sport mode on the continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) doesn't help. All it seems to do is make the throttle response jerky at low speeds." — Travis Langness, reviews editor


  • "The steering in the QX50 is shockingly bad. It's light and floaty in turns, but that's not the worst of it. On-center, the feel is rubbery and loose, but the response is quick and darty. It's really easy to get into a situation where you're just constantly correcting. You don't get any sense of this SUV's heft or what's going on with the wheels." — Will Kaufman, content strategist and news editor


  • "Interesting ride and handling here. On the good side, the QX50's 'gross body motion' — the way the car body itself moves above the springs over long waves and swales in the road — is excellent. On the one hand, there's no float. On the other, there's no feeling of it being overly tied down. Springs and shocks are just right for the uneven roads in the Pacific Northwest. This trait carries over into cornering behavior through long, fast sweepers. There isn't a lot of roll, and what roll does occur is measured, not floppy. The steering feels good here, too, with accuracy and nice effort buildup to help the driver feel confident about what's going on.

    "But small impacts feel brittle, almost 'crispy,' and cracks and seams are easily felt. The motion of the suspension under the springs and body isn't well-tamed. It could be the shock valving isn't quite right at these more abrupt wheel speeds, but I'm inclined to blame the tires. These are very low-profile tires, which aren't good for absorption of the small stuff to begin with, but they're also run-flat tires, which is worse. The reinforcement necessary to offer zero pressure support makes the sidewalls of such tires as hard and non-conforming as rocks." — Dan Edmunds, director, vehicle evaluation

2019 Infiniti QX50

  • "Just want to put it on the record that I don't mind the QX50's powertrain. There's been some kvetching about both the CVT automatic and the character of the turbocharged four-cylinder engine, but I think Infiniti's engineers have made the best of things here. Unlike our long-term Accord, for example — also a CVT automatic/turbo-four machine — the QX50 instantly responds when you put your foot in it, serving up zesty acceleration with only a modest delay.

    "And although I cannot agree with our friends at Car and Driver that there is 'a delightfully rorty, almost Italianate sound as the engine approaches its 6,000-rpm redline,' I also don't mind listening to it when it's working hard. For the record, I'm about as big a CVT automatic hater as you'll find, so it's not often I come across a CVT automatic-based powertrain that I don't actively dislike. But the QX50 passes muster. I could live with it. Coming from me, that's high praise." — Josh Sadlier, director, content strategy

MPG

2019 Infiniti QX50

  • "Wow. The real-world fuel economy of our QX50 is a major disappointment. I just finished about 900 miles of driving over the Thanksgiving holiday week and ran the numbers. The result after three fill-ups of almost all highway driving was a middling 23.3 mpg. That's not even equal to the EPA's 24 mpg estimate for city driving. How can this thing be so far off? I think we got pretty similar fuel economy with our long-term Jaguar F-Pace, and that had 340 hp compared to the QX50's 268 hp." — Brent Romans, senior editor, written content


  • "I worked hard to get the best mpg I could from this thing. I set the cruise at 67 or 68 mph (depending on my mood), had a strong tailwind for half of the trip's distance (no wind for the other half), drove all freeway miles except for rest stops and one roadside food stop, had a slight overall downhill trend, and even managed more than 450 miles of range once. Yet only got 29.4 actual mpg. Highway rating is 30.

    "I've exceeded other cars' highway ratings without taking as much care as I did here. And yet the QX50 still fell short. This mpg rating feels like a pipe dream, which is weird considering the laundry list of engine tech, the accursed CVT automatic and premium fuel. Not impressed." — Dan Edmunds

Comfort

2019 Infiniti QX50

  • "I do like our QX50's driver's seat for its comfort. I adjusted it a few weeks ago and have barely moved it since. I'm able to drive long distances, no problem, but should note that the head restraint is canted forward a fair degree. I can see how some drivers would find it annoying." — Brent Romans


  • "I have a lot of issues with both the QX50's seats and seating position. The very aggressive headrests, low armrests and gauge cluster, relatively close pedals, and lumbar support that aligns with my tailbone when I sit up straight meant that the only way I was comfortable on my 1,000-mile round trip was by sitting in perhaps the most awkward position I've yet encountered. It also seriously impacted my visibility, requiring me to move the seat back far enough that the front and side pillars were blocking important sight lines." — Will Kaufman


  • "Here's something else I've been puzzling over: How could Nissan's luxury division screw up these seats this badly? Seat comfort is something Nissan does well, basically across the board. The Murano, Pathfinder and Rogue all have comfortable seats. I would sit in any of those for 1,000 miles without hesitation. So where did things go wrong?" — Will Kaufman

Cargo Space

2019 Infiniti QX50

  • "There's a good amount of space inside the QX50, enough for all my camping gear anyway. But it's only 1 cubic foot larger than our long-term Mazda CX-5 and 9 cubes less than our long-term Honda CR-V. And the Infiniti doesn't feel that much nicer inside than a topped-out CX-5 or CR-V. For $10K less, I'd go with the less luxurious, more spacious crossovers in this case." — Travis Langness

Interior

2019 Infiniti QX50

  • "Not sure what Infiniti was thinking with the mismatched wood trim. Both the colors and grain pattern clash, comparing the wood trim on the door and what's on the dash. I'm no interior designer, but I know I'd be disappointed if this were my car." — Jonathan Elfalan, senior manager, vehicle testing


  • "The QX50 doesn't get any fancier than our test car. We've got the Sensory package, which adds, amongst a bunch of other features, upgraded leather upholstery, maple wood trim and the simulated-suede headliner. On top of that, the Autograph package brings white leather, special quilted stitching and the blue simulated-suede accents.

    "At first I wasn't sold on it all. It seemed like too many different materials and colors. Plus, white leather isn't great considering I've got two dirt magnets (i.e., children). But the more time I spend with the QX50, the more I like it. It's different and stylish." — Brent Romans


  • "This interior is totally wrong for a road trip, mainly because cabin storage is pitiful. There's a lot of style here but no functional space. There are two cupholders between the seats, with a tiny bin just in front with two USB ports. That's it. And that bin isn't even big enough for any phone." — Dan Edmunds


  • "This car looks great with an expressive yet dignified exterior. It shows well in white, too. Friends and family all gave positive remarks on the exterior. The seats are super comfy, too. The interior makes a big, exuberant first impression. Some liked its kitchen-sink approach to interior materials (blue suede, white leather, wood trim, brown dash); others thought it was a bit garish.

    "While initially impressive, the interior design doesn't stand up to closer inspection. You'll find stitching that doesn't line up, and you'll wonder why the wood trim on the door is silver and the wood trim on the dash is brown. Why don't they match?" — Carlos Lago, manager, feature content

Audio and Technology

  • "Definitely appreciate Infiniti's approach to its camera game. Whether you want a wide-angle view to the rear, a look to the sides or a look at what's ahead of the front bumper, the surround-view cam offers it. And it offers it on demand, not only when you're in reverse. It's a thoughtful feature for a car that costs premium dollars, one that should help you avoid paint repairs up front or on the sides. Resolution isn't stellar given the displays in some competitors, but it does the job without looking like standard-def." — Dan Frio, reviews editor

2019 Infiniti QX50

  • "Infiniti's active driver assist system, dubbed ProPilot Assist, works well in stop-and-go traffic, but it's not perfect. Like many systems, it confirms your attention to the road by sensing if you're touching the steering wheel or not. But unlike systems from other manufacturers that have a fairly high sensitivity, the Infiniti requires you to fight against the self-centering system to let the car know you're still there. It's annoying to the point where I found myself frequently disabling the active steering functionality." — Calvin Kim, vehicle test engineer


  • "Nissan/Infiniti's automation tech is not bad. It's certainly competitive in the mainstream class, if a bit behind in the luxury class. I appreciated having it in the QX50 for a recent long drive, but it was a bit too cautious and slow to respond to be useful when traffic got heavy. It's still a system I trust when conditions are normal, though." — Will Kaufman

Miscellaneous

  • "Even though the QX50 is almost 8 inches shorter than the (two-row) Lexus RX, driving it always gets me thinking about the Lexus. Infiniti is straddling segments here, hoping that the QX50 can fend off size-class rivals such as the BMW X3 while also giving the RX something to think about.

    "Would I recommend the QX50 to an RX shopper? Yeah, I think I would. Like the RX, it's got plenty of passenger room in both seating rows, and it actually has more cargo space despite its shorter body. The interior is convincingly luxurious, too. To top it off, the QX50's base price undercuts the RX 350's by about $7,000. I like this Infiniti more than I thought I would, and I bet a lot of RX fans would say the same thing after a test drive." — Josh Sadlier


  • "This engine's sound is also off-putting and very much not luxury or premium. Mooing every time the engine revs is my new favorite pastime. Factor this with subpar fuel economy and I come away thinking this newfangled variable compression turbo engine is a downgrade compared to the Nissan Murano's V6-CVT automatic combo." — Brent Romans

2019 Infiniti QX50

  • "It had been a long while since I'd driven the QX50 and I'd forgotten how easily it slips out of Drive into Neutral. Apparently, my arm brushed against the gear shift while I was fiddling with the radio. More than a few times on my drive, I needed to take off when the light turned green and found myself in the no-go zone." — Kathleen Clonts, copy chief

Maintenance & Repairs
Regular Maintenance

2019 Infiniti QX50

  • "Our QX50 recently cleared 7,500 miles on its odometer, and that meant it was time for its first scheduled maintenance service. I headed to my local Infiniti dealership, Infiniti Fresno. This service included an oil change, tire rotation and inspection.

    "The inspection revealed conflicting reports about the cranking power of our QX50's battery. A full hour-long battery test would be necessary to know for sure. In the interest of time, I decided to skip it and told the service writer that we'd come back should we notice any problems. The service was professional and quick, and the final tally came to $145.26." — Brent Romans


  • "I took our QX50 in for its 15,000-mile scheduled service. Like the 7,500-mile service covered in our November 2018 update, this one called for an oil change, tire rotation and inspection. Also like that last service, I took the QX50 to my local Infiniti dealer in Fresno.

    "The service adviser was friendly, and I was in and out in about 90 minutes. The final bill came to $125.11.

    "Interestingly, the adviser said that during the inspection the technician noticed the QX50's cabin air filter was dirty. OK, not a big deal, right? Well, because our QX50 has the optional Sensory package, it has the upgraded climate control system with the Plasmacluster air purifier.

    "At least at this dealership, this system's air filter is a special-order part. It'd take three days to arrive and would cost about $300 to install, my adviser said. Not wanting to come back or spend $300, I politely declined. But at some point, we, or a future owner, will need to do this." — Brent Romans

Service Campaigns:
None.

Fuel Economy and Resale Value

Observed Fuel Economy:
Despite the promise of Infiniti's new variable compression engine technology, the QX50's fuel economy was wildly disappointing. After more than 18,000 miles, the QX50 returned 21.1 mpg combined. Most full-size trucks can do that, or better. The QX50's EPA rating of 26 mpg combined (24 city/30 highway) suggests that the Infiniti does better in a strictly controlled laboratory test than it does out in the real world of traffic, grades and open roads.

Our best yield from a single tank of fuel was 29.4 mpg, which was respectably close to the highway rating. Our worst fill came in at 14.7 mpg. We did manage to wring 452 miles from a single tank, however, so there's some benefit to having the QX50 on a long road trip.

Average lifetime mpg: 21.1
EPA mpg rating: 26 combined (24 city/30 highway)
Best fill mpg: 29.4
Best range: 452.9 miles
Final odometer: 18,474 miles

Resale and Depreciation:
Our long-term QX50 was as topped-out as it gets, ringing in with an MSRP of $55,200 and a destination charge of $995, for a total of $56,195. After more than 18,000 miles, the QX50's True Market Value is $39,521. That's about the price you could expect to get if you were to sell it to a private party. That's a loss of $16,674, or about 29.6%, which is significantly higher than our fleet average of around 20% depreciation.

Edmunds TMV Calculator

Summing Up

Pros:
Bold style, good handling and useful semi-automated driving technology make the QX50 a good choice for commuting and occasionally stretching its legs on an open, winding road.

Cons:
Combination of underpowered engine and elastic-like transmission made the QX50 a non-starter for most of our staff. Poor steering feel didn't help, either. And given the QX50's touted new engine technology, fuel economy was a major disappointment.

Bottom Line:
The redesigned QX50 came from a sporty legacy that made it one of the more entertaining SUVs you could buy. Little of that legacy remains, and today's QX50 is a letdown on many levels.

Total Body Repair Costs: None
Total Routine Maintenance Costs: $270.37
Additional Maintenance Costs: None
Warranty Repairs: 0
Non-Warranty Repairs: 0
Scheduled Dealer Visits: 2
Unscheduled Dealer Visits: 0
Days Out of Service: 0
Breakdowns Stranding Driver: 0
Best Fuel Economy: 29.4 mpg
Worst Fuel Economy: 14.7 mpg
Average Fuel Economy: 21.1 mpg
Best Range: 452.9 miles
True Market Value at Service End: $39,521
Depreciation: 29.6%
Final Odometer Reading: 18,474 miles

The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.


Monthly Update for June 2019

Where Did We Drive It?
The sun has set on our 2019 Infiniti QX50. By the time you read this, it will be on its way back to Infiniti. Few of us will miss it. We'll have a complete wrap-up to follow. But first, here's a summary of our last stints behind the wheel in June.

There were no long trips for the QX50 in June, just a small sum of local miles. We found some further objections to the SUV's ride comfort and interior details. But we also gave it some props for its ProPilot semi-automated driving features, which are probably its most redeeming qualities. The QX50 came to market with two significant technologies: the fancy-ish variable compression turbocharged engine, designed to deliver four-cylinder fuel economy with six-cylinder power, and the ProPilot self-driving features.

What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
In June, we added 748 miles, filled up three times, and used 38.2 gallons of 91 octane. That kind of action yielded 19.5 mpg combined for the month, which is a terrible note to end on. But it's also indicative of how the QX50 doesn't like stop-and-go city miles. That's about 2.5 mpg off the combined rating and nearly 5 mpg shy of the city rating. Yikes.

Poor as they were, June's averages didn't move the needle on any of the lifetime averages.

Average lifetime mpg: 21.1
EPA mpg rating: 26 combined (24 city/30 highway)
Best fill mpg: 29.4
Best range: 452.9 miles
Current odometer: 18,474 miles

Maintenance and Upkeep
None.

Logbook Highlights

Performance
"The QX50 is not a very pleasant vehicle to drive. Acceleration can be touchy, and the steering is light and totally artificial. Combine that with a vehicle whose handling limits feel relatively low, and you have something that's awkward to drive at best. It sucks the fun out of a good road and makes city driving more of a chore than it needs to be." — Will Kaufman, content strategist and news editor

• • • • • • • • •

"The QX50's ride is downright objectionable, far too busy and harsh on California's mixed road surfaces. Combined with the significant levels of cabin noise on the freeway, the QX50 feels cheap in action." — Will Kaufman

2019 Infiniti QX50

Interior
"At this point, adding negative comments about the QX50 feels like I'm piling on, but I can't help myself. Example: the driver door's armrest. Why does my arm keep slipping off of it? It feels like it's angled slightly downward, and the slick upholstery doesn't help either. It's also a bit too far away for comfortable leaning. This detail is more important than you might think — a well-executed driver-door armrest can help create an engaging cockpit-like feel, as in many BMWs, for example.

"Speaking of which, the X3 starts at about $5,000 more than the QX50, but its more focused driving environment is just one reason I wouldn't hesitate to make the stretch." —  Josh Sadlier, senior manager, content strategy

Technology
"Nissan/Infiniti's automation tech is not bad. It's certainly competitive in the mainstream class, if a bit behind in the luxury class. I appreciated having it in the QX50 for a recent long drive, but it was a bit too cautious and slow to respond to be useful when traffic got heavy. It's still a system I trust when conditions are normal, though." — Will Kaufman


Monthly Update for May 2019

Where Did We Drive It?
Our 2019 Infiniti QX50 got a workout in May, relative to most of the other inaction it's seen while in our garage. We drove it more than 1,500 miles, thanks largely to the efforts of Fresno Bureau Chief Brent Romans and News Editor Will Kaufman.

Brent kept the QX active around the highways of Central California, while Will drove it up to our state capital, ostensibly to lobby for better seating and a better powertrain — better everything, really — on behalf of the QX. We try to find things to like about the Infiniti; Kaufman notes the QX50's ability to climb one of our local mountain grades without breaking a sweat, for example. But as Facebook says, it's complicated.

What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
In May, we added 1,720 miles, filled up six times, and used 75.3 gallons of 91 octane. That kind of action yielded 22.8 mpg combined for the month, which makes the QX look positively hybrid-like compared to prior months. However, it barely moved the needle on the lifetime average, climbing just 0.1 mpg but climbing nonetheless.

We also managed 348 miles on a single tank, one of the higher results of our test so far.

Average lifetime mpg: 21.1
EPA mpg rating: 26 combined (24 city/30 highway)
Best fill mpg: 29.4
Best range: 452.9 miles
Current odometer: 15,737 miles

Maintenance and Upkeep
"I took our QX50 in for its 15,000-mile scheduled service. Like the 7,500-mile service covered in our November 2018 update, this one called for an oil change, tire rotation and inspection. Also like that last service, I took the QX50 to my local Infiniti dealer in Fresno.

"The service adviser was friendly, and I was in and out in about 90 minutes. The final bill came to $125.11.

"Interestingly, the adviser said that during the inspection the technician noticed the QX50's cabin air filter was dirty. OK, not a big deal, right? Well, because our QX50 has the optional Sensory package, it has the upgraded climate control system with the Plasmacluster air purifier. At least at this dealership, this system's air filter is a special-order part. It'd take three days to arrive and would cost about $300 to install, my adviser said.

"Not wanting to come back or spend $300, I politely declined. But at some point we, or a future owner, will need to do this." — Brent Romans, senior editor, written content

2019 Infiniti QX50

Logbook Highlights

Performance
"I've tried a couple of different techniques to get around our QX50's well-documented problems with its gas pedal sensitivity and responsiveness. The first was to use the Sport mode, which makes our QX50 less laggy when accelerating from a stop, so that's good. But once the vehicle's at cruising speed, Sport mode keeps the engine's rpm higher than I like.

"I also tried using the manual shift mode and shift paddles all the time to see if I could get a more linear throttle response. Result: Ehh, sort of. There's still some variable surging going on even though the CVT automatic is supposed to be holding a fixed gear ratio. Plus, I quickly got tired of using the paddles.

"Overall, I've just gone back to using the standard drive mode and living with the QX50's powertrain issues." — Brent Romans

• • • • • • • • • •

"Giving credit where credit's due: The QX50's powertrain managed the Tejon Pass (a steep climb and descent north of L.A. on Interstate 5) easily. The CVT automatic kept the engine in the powerband, so there was no awkwardness or hunting around [for the best ratio] on the uphill portion, and the engine provided enough engine braking on the downhill that we didn't need the brakes much at all." — Will Kaufman, content strategist and news editor

Interior
"Some of my co-workers have previously commented that the QX50's interior looks nice but doesn't stand up to closer inspection. It's a fair criticism. However, I give Infiniti credit for trying something different with the color and material scheme. It's a distinctive look for a luxury SUV, and that counts for something." — Brent Romans

2019 Infiniti QX50

Comfort
"I have a lot of issues with both the QX50's seats and seating position. The very aggressive headrests, low armrests and gauge cluster, relatively close pedals, and lumbar support that aligns with my tailbone when I sit up straight meant that the only way I was comfortable on my 1,000-mile round trip was by sitting in perhaps the most awkward position I've yet encountered. It also seriously impacted my visibility, requiring me to move the seat back far enough that the front and side pillars were blocking important sight lines." — Will Kaufman

2019 Infiniti QX50

"Here's something else I've been puzzling over: How could Nissan's luxury division screw up these seats this badly? Seat comfort is something Nissan does well, basically across the board. The Murano, Pathfinder and Rogue all have comfortable seats. I would sit in any of those for 1,000 miles without hesitation. So where did things go wrong?"

Technology
"The QX50 launched with infotainment tech that was a generation behind its competitors, and recent strides made by other luxury brands (Mercedes' MBUX, anyone?) make it feel positively archaic in function, execution and usability.

"How can the Bose system in a Mazda CX-5 sound so much better than the Bose system in our Infiniti? It seems odd. They're the same brand, and the Infiniti has a pretty big price premium over the CX-5. Yet in terms of quality, my experience has been that the CX-5 provides noticeably better sound quality." — Will Kaufman

MPG
"The whole point of Infiniti's fancy-pants variable compression turbo motor and CVT automatic pairing is to improve fuel economy. But on an entire tank of freeway-only miles, I averaged just 23.8 mpg. That's a massive shortfall from the EPA estimate of 30 mpg freeway. Should I check for a fuel leak?" — Will Kaufman

Miscellaneous
"I was at my local Infiniti dealership and about to head home after getting the QX50 serviced when another customer approached me. She was waiting to get her QX80 SUV serviced but wanted to see our QX50 up close. 'It's so pretty!' she said, checking out the styling and then looking inside.

"Argh. I agreed with her assessment — the QX50's styling is its best attribute — but was conflicted about whether to say anything about our editorial team's experience. It would have seemed quite strange for me, this apparent QX50 owner getting his vehicle serviced, to blurt out: 'Don't buy one!'

"It turned out she was happy with her QX80 and wasn't planning on getting a QX50. Whew! Long and possibly awkward conversation averted. But the whole experience summed up my feelings about our QX50. I want to like it. The styling stands out, and the engine technology is cool in theory. But there are just too many other things holding this SUV back right now." — Brent Romans

2019 Infiniti QX50


Monthly Update for April 2019

Where Did We Drive It?
Our long-term QX50 is a case of get while the gettin's good. After a healthy dose of mileage in March, the Infiniti got back to its usual groove in April — which is to say it did a lot of hanging around town and in the garage. We drove it just 600 miles, mostly to get home at night and back to the office the next day.

The QX50 still looks great, still one of the sharper designs out there among sporty, near-luxury SUVs. But poor transmission calibration and overly artificial steering feel make for a not-good driving experience, and no one really wants to drive the thing. It's still useful for moderate cargo loads: clearing out the garage, bringing things home from the big-box store, a large Craigslist find, maybe. But that's about the only redeeming quality we're finding with the QX these days.

What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
In April, we added 607 miles and filled up just twice with 29 gallons. That yielded a monthly fuel economy average of 20.9, which was a decrease of 0.7 mpg from the March average. March fuel economy was a bit of an aberration, though, as it was aided by some extended highway miles.

The dip in fuel economy didn't move the lifetime average any. It's still holding steady at 21 mpg combined.

Average lifetime mpg: 21
EPA mpg rating: 26 combined (24 city/30 highway)
Best fill mpg: 29.4
Best range: 452.9 miles
Current odometer: 15,737 miles

Maintenance and Upkeep
None.

Logbook Highlights

Performance
"Good lawd. It's been months since I last drove the QX50. This thing's drivability is worse than I remembered. This issue has probably been beaten to death, but the initial throttle tip-in from a stop is waaaay too jumpy. Yet when you're moving, its responses are tepid and rubber band-y. Give it a good dose of right foot from a roll and nothing happens for a beat or three. Then, when it's too late, it finally gives you way too much acceleration. It's an agonizing, frustrating mess of power delivery." — Jason Kavanagh, senior vehicle test engineer

"Let's talk QX50 steering. On-center feel is almost nonexistent; it's overboosted most of the time and the feel is overly synthetic. It's a pretty quick ratio, though. The QX50's steering combined with its terrible power delivery make this car/crossover/wagon a nonstarter for me. I simply cannot abide." — Jason Kavanagh

"The steering on the QX50 is so light that you can turn the wheel like there's no resistance. It can be disconcerting, especially at low speeds." — Kathleen Clonts, copy chief

Interior
"The QX50 uses the turn signal/headlight stalk from every other Nissan, but it doesn't have the headlight switch on the end of it. Instead, the carmaker moved it to the dash, probably to emulate other luxury cars, but it didn't even bother to use a different-looking stalk. I wouldn't have thought any less of Infiniti if it had completely reused a Nissan stalk, but now it just seems like an unnecessary attempt to be fancy when you're really not." — Kurt Niebuhr, vehicle test editor

Technology
"The only way to make the dual-screen setup in the QX50 worse (other than adding a third screen) is for one of the screens to become unable to display the correct information. During my 30-minute commute home, the nav screen never managed to load the map. And since I couldn't turn it off, I had that bright blue screen glaring at me for 30 minutes." — Kurt Niebuhr


Monthly Update for March 2019

Where Did We Drive It?
We kept our 2019 Infiniti QX50 close to home in March but managed to stretch its legs quite a bit and add nearly 1,700 miles to the odometer. That might indicate a collective change of heart around here, that maybe we've been too hard on the SUV and have come to appreciate driving it more often.

Alas, no. It was really only through the heroic efforts of our man Lago that we crossed the 1,000-mile threshold. Without the bulk of his travels over the course of a weekend, the Infiniti would have barely registered 500 miles. What can we say? Our staff votes with the signout sheet, and the QX50 has been found wanting.

What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
In March, we added 1,680 miles and filled up six times with 77 gallons. That yielded a monthly fuel economy average of 21.6, which was an increase of 1.6 mpg from the prior month. Carlos' extended highway miles helped nudge that number upward.

But it didn't move the needle on the QX50's lifetime average fuel economy, which held steady at 21 mpg. Now we're up to more than 15,000 miles on the odometer, and it's safe to say this car will come nowhere close to the EPA rating of 26 mpg combined. We guess you'd need to drive it 100 miles a day on a straight Texas rural road at around 56 mph to get something close to the EPA rating. It ain't happening here in Los Angeles.

Average lifetime mpg: 21
EPA mpg rating: 26 combined (24 city/30 highway)
Best fill mpg: 29.4
Best range: 452.9 miles
Current odometer: 15,130 miles

Maintenance and Upkeep
None.

Logbook Highlights

Interior
"I logged slightly less than 1,000 miles this weekend in the QX50. It was my first time at the wheel, and, oh boy.

"Let's start on a positive note. This car looks great with an expressive yet dignified exterior. It shows well in white, too. Friends and family all gave positive remarks on the exterior. The seats are super comfy, too. The interior makes a big, exuberant first impression. Some liked its kitchen-sink approach to interior materials (blue suede, white leather, wood trim, brown dash); others thought it was a bit garish.

"While initially impressive, the interior design doesn't stand up to closer inspection. You'll find stitching that doesn't line up, and you'll wonder why the wood trim on the door is silver and the wood trim on the dash is brown. Why don't they match?

"When you start driving, you hear a rattle from the back seat over every bump. We determined it's from the 60/40-split rear seats. The leather rubs between the 60 and 40 partition, which is incredibly annoying and also worrying due to the increased wear on the seats. The only way we could fix it was by reclining one seat all the way back and leaving the other one straight up." — Carlos Lago, manager, feature content

Performance
"The way the QX50 drives undermines the sophistication of its design. It feels cheap. The engine and transmission are both too slow to respond when you hit the gas pedal, and suddenly they react too quickly. The result is a car that's hard to drive smoothly at low speeds.

"The CVT [automatic] is painfully slow to adjust ratios on steep hills, like the one that leads to my house. I kept feeding in the gas pedal as the QX50 slowly trudged up, refusing to engage a lower gear ratio. It wasn't until I was seemingly at three-quarter throttle that the ratio finally changed. Hard to think how this left the development stage." — Carlos Lago

Technology-Audio
"While the QX50 has extensive advanced safety systems, they're infuriating to use. The blind-spot monitoring and collision mitigation system gave multiple false positives, which resulted in the QX50 applying its brakes suddenly in traffic during lane changes. Not only was this frustrating to me and other drivers, but the unpredictability is also unsafe.

"The adaptive cruise control is clumsy. When it registers another vehicle ahead, it slows down the QX50 slightly before resuming speed. It doesn't matter how quickly the car in front of you is going. Once the QX50 sees it, there's a pause in acceleration. Why?

"Not only that but configuring the drive and safety settings requires navigating through a bizarrely dense series of menus. The layout makes finding a specific setting challenging, and many settings lack a clear explanation." — Carlos Lago


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Monthly Update for February 2019

Where Did We Drive It?
In February, we tooled around close to home but still managed to add more than 1,100 miles to the QX50. That's remarkable considering the near-universal disdain we have for this car now. The engine and transmission combination is just so bad that no one wants to drive it. Driving the QX50 is like making a batch of chocolate chip cookies with spoiled milk.

Which is too bad, because there's a pretty good car behind the erratic powertrain — although even what's left of that shine is beginning to dull as we continue to identify some inexcusable quality issues. The QX is even wearing down Josh, as his normally fair observations and criticisms have devolved into open loathing. Wait until you see what Carlos has to say about it in our next update.

What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
In February, we added 1,130 miles — only slightly more than the month before — and filled up four times, for a total of 56.5 gallons. That yielded a monthly fuel economy average of exactly 20 mpg, which was 0.2 mpg down from January's result. It didn't move the needle a bit on our overall average of 21 mpg, which after 13,500 miles is a buzzkill, to say the least. Let us pause here to restate and consider that the EPA rates this car at 26 mpg combined.

Average lifetime mpg: 21
EPA mpg rating: 26 combined (24 city/30 highway)
Best fill mpg: 29.4
Best range: 452.9 miles
Current odometer: 13,450 miles

Maintenance and Upkeep
None.

Logbook Highlights

Performance
"It had been a long while since I'd driven the QX50 and I'd forgotten how easily it slips out of Drive into Neutral. Apparently, my arm brushed up against the gear shift while I was fiddling with the radio. More than a few times on my drive, I needed to take off when the light turned green and found myself in the no-go zone." — Kathleen Clonts, copy chief

2019 Infiniti QX50

Interior
"I noticed a distinct 'crispy crunch' noise coming from the back, possibly from the back of the sunroof, on my drive to work and it was pretty persistent. I don't know if it's a seal problem or what, but it shouldn't be happening on an almost $60,000 vehicle." — Kathleen Clonts

• "I'm with Kathleen on hearing noises coming from the attic, but while I haven't noticed anything that sounds as if it's originating in the sunroof, the sound of the rear seat's leather rubbing together, which Calvin also identified in an earlier update, is maddening.

"You just can't justify it in a car with these pretensions, not at this kind of mileage and the relatively easy life the QX has lived thus far. If I were the owner, my choices would be to try some leather conditioner and possibly isolate and tighten/fix/weld together whatever bracket might be responsible for the racket. Or I could take it to the dealer and hope those folks can come up with a fix. Poor choices." — Dan Frio, reviews editor

2019 Infiniti QX50

Technology-Audio
"The QX50's Predictive Forward Collision Warning went off at least four times when I was stopped at a light. It would flash for a second or two with a warning to check the surroundings and then disappear. I'd find that seriously annoying if I drove this car every day." — Kathleen Clonts

2019 Infiniti QX50

Miscellaneous
"The QX50 has received its share of criticism since arriving in our garage, and I'm loath to pile on. But despite the fact that Steph Curry endorses this thing (or at least he did some ads for it when it came out), I gotta say, it's just not very inspiring. Acceleration from the turbo-four is strong, but as we've noted repeatedly, the continuously variable automatic transmission saps most of the fun with its imprecise responses.

"The ride isn't exactly supple on well-worn city streets, for which I mostly blame the clodhopper rims and tires. The dual-screen infotainment system was outdated on arrival — remember, this is a new model for 2019. It's an odd vehicle for Steph to pick, because he's exceptional in so many areas, and the QX50 is ... well, I said I didn't want to pile on." — Josh Sadlier, senior manager, content strategy

2019 Infiniti QX50


Monthly Update for January 2019

Where Did We Drive It?
No trips up the Pacific coastline for our 2019 Infiniti QX50 in January. Unlike the extended highway runs we drove in the QX last month, in January we mostly used the SUV to get us between home and office. But like the seat time we had in December, our time behind the wheel in January revealed more disappointments in performance, interior quality and the QX's self-driving technology.

Our lead testing man, Dan Edmunds, takes a quick but deep dive into the QX's suspension tuning deficiencies, while the seats and steering aren't winning any converts. Not everyone is down on the QX, though; editor Josh Sadlier finds the QX's zippy powertrain more satisfying than most of us.

What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
In January, we added 1,127 miles and filled up four times with 55 gallons. That yielded a monthly fuel economy average of 20.2 mpg. That's down significantly from December's result of highway-heavy combined efficiency (23.7 mpg) but about on par with what we've been seeing throughout the test.

Our overall average after 12,320 miles is 21 mpg. The EPA-rated combined rating of 26 mpg seems laughable.

Average lifetime mpg: 21
EPA mpg rating: 26 combined (24 city/30 highway)
Best fill mpg: 29.4
Best range: 452.9 miles
Current odometer: 12,320 miles

Maintenance and Upkeep
None.

Logbook Highlights

Performance
"Still can't believe how they signed off on this powertrain. The engine is extremely uncoordinated in its communication with the transmission. Hard to be smooth when just driving casually. I like the punch it delivers when you need to skirt around the traffic herd, but man, could this thing use a lesson in linearity." — Jonathan Elfalan, manager, vehicle testing

2019 Infiniti QX50

"Just want to put it on the record that I don't mind the QX50's powertrain. There's been some kvetching about both the CVT automatic and the character of the turbocharged four-cylinder engine, but I think Infiniti's engineers have made the best of things here. Unlike our long-term Accord, for example — also a CVT automatic/turbo-four machine — the QX50 instantly responds when you put your foot in it, serving up zesty acceleration with only a modest delay.

"And although I cannot agree with our friends at Car and Driver that there is 'a delightfully rorty, almost Italianate sound as the engine approaches its 6,000-rpm redline,' I also don't mind listening to it when it's working hard. For the record, I'm about as big a CVT automatic hater as you'll find, so it's not often I come across a CVT automatic-based powertrain that I don't actively dislike. But the QX50 passes muster. I could live with it. Coming from me, that's high praise." — Josh Sadlier, senior manager, content strategy

"The steering in the QX50 is shockingly bad. It's light and floaty in turns, but that's not the worst of it. On-center, the feel is rubbery and loose, but the response is quick and darty. It's really easy to get into a situation where you're just constantly correcting. You don't get any sense of this SUV's heft or what's going on with the wheels." — Will Kaufman, content strategist and news editor

2019 Infiniti QX50

"Interesting ride and handling here. On the good side, the QX50's 'gross body motion' (the way the car body itself moves above the springs over long waves and swales in the road) is excellent. On the one hand, there's no float; and on the other, there's no feeling of it being overly tied down. Springs and shocks are just right for the uneven roads in the Pacific Northwest. This trait carries over into cornering behavior through long, fast sweepers. There isn't a lot of roll, and what roll occurs is measured, not floppy. The steering feels good here, too, with accuracy and nice effort buildup to help the driver feel confident about what's going on.

"But small impacts feel brittle, almost 'crispy,' and cracks and seams are easily felt. The motion of the suspension under the springs and body isn't well-tamed. It could be the shock valving isn't quite right at these more abrupt wheel speeds, but I'm inclined to blame the tires. These are very low-profile tires, which aren't good for absorption of the small stuff to begin with, but they're also run-flat tires, which is worse. The reinforcement necessary to offer zero pressure support makes the sidewalls of such tires as hard and non-conforming as rocks. Bad move, Infiniti.

"Also, I don't like the idea of an SUV with no spare at all, even one that's too pretty to take into the wild. Someone will, even if it's just to a remote corner of Death Valley, and they'll have trouble finding an exact replacement within 75-100 miles. And when they do they'll find that these tires cost $310 a piece; that was the best price I could find." — Dan Edmunds, director of vehicle testing

Interior
"It's been a while since I last drove the QX, and I've gotta say, at a little more than 12,000 miles, I'm pretty shocked at the squeaks and groans coming from the car. The rear seats squeak as they rub against each other just going down the road at low speeds. To stop the maddening sound, I slid the passenger-side rear seat forward so the seatbacks wouldn't touch." — Calvin Kim, vehicle test engineer

"The interior design is a strong point, with a variety of colors, textures and shapes that make everything look relatively nice. Unfortunately, I cannot get comfortable in the seat. The aggressive headrest and seatback contour mean I'm leaned forward unless I recline the seat lounger-style. Even then, I wouldn't want to spend more than an hour in that seat." — Will Kaufman

Technology
"Infiniti's active driver assist system, dubbed ProPilot Assist, works well in stop-and-go traffic, but it's not perfect. Like many systems, it confirms your attention to the road by sensing if you're touching the steering wheel or not. But unlike systems from other manufacturers that have a fairly high sensitivity, the Infiniti requires you to fight against the self-centering system to let the car know you're still there. It's annoying to the point where I found myself frequently disabling the active steering functionality." — Calvin Kim

2019 Infiniti QX50


Monthly Update for December 2018

Where Did We Drive It?
Finally some miles! Our 2019 Infiniti QX50 has been pining for long-distance exercise, and in December we obliged. Senior Editor Brent Romans finished up some local driving in Fresno before handing the keys to Dan Edmunds, who piloted the QX from Los Angeles to the Oregon coastline for the Christmas holiday.

But all those miles continued to reveal some of the QX50's fundamental flaws. Brent found it comfortable and large enough for making simple work of holiday packages, big TVs and oversize grocery hauls. But the engine is just falling off everyone's list, and Dan has some sharp words for its abysmal fuel economy.

What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
In December, we added 3,071 miles and filled up 10 times with 129 gallons. That yielded a monthly fuel economy average of 23.7 mpg, which is 1.5 mpg better than our performance the month prior, and was enough to lift the QX50's lifetime average by 1 mpg.

Dan even managed to featherfoot it to a best-yet tank of 29.4 mpg and a best range of 453 miles. Nice achievements, and that best tank is close enough to the EPA's highway fuel economy rating to be commendable. Still, the QX50 is way off its mark and still 5 mpg short of its claimed combined mpg.

Average lifetime mpg: 21
EPA mpg rating: 26 combined (24 city/30 highway)
Best fill mpg: 29.4
Best range: 452.9 miles
Current odometer: 11,194 miles

Maintenance and Upkeep
None.

Logbook Highlights

Performance
"Our QX50 has decent power when you mat the gas. That's about the only good thing I can really say about it. The continuously variable automatic transmission is a big part of the problem. It keeps the engine at low rpm at really light throttle. That can be OK, but often it's not enough to keep up with traffic. Push down a little harder and suddenly you're zinging past 3,000 rpm. Can't it provide something in between?

"This engine's sound is also off-putting and very much not luxury or premium. Mooing every time the engine revs is my new favorite pastime. Factor this with subpar fuel economy and I come away thinking this newfangled variable-compression turbo engine is a downgrade compared to the Nissan Murano's V6-CVT automatic combo." — Brent Romans, senior editor, written content

2019 Infiniti QX50

"Why does this engine require 91 octane when it has this groundbreaking variable compression ratio technology? Shouldn't it be able to adapt to any grade you care to use? Seems bogus." — Dan Edmunds, director, vehicle testing

2019 Infiniti QX50

MPG
"Wow. I don't think this sled is getting anywhere near the advertised fuel economy. I should be going farther between stops and putting in less. I haven't done the math, but I'm not even impressed with the in-car meter readings, which are infamous for exaggerating reality.

"So you're telling me that I've got this groundbreaking variable-displacement motor, I'm tolerating the pathetically poor drivability of a supposedly thrifty CVT automatic, and I'm paying for the required 91 octane premium gas — and it still all adds up to suck? What happened?" — Dan Edmunds

"I worked hard to get the best mpg I could from this thing. I set the cruise at 67 or 68 (depending on my mood), had a strong tailwind for half of the trip's distance (no wind for the other half), drove all freeway miles except for rest stops and one roadside food stop, had a slight overall downhill trend, and even managed more than 450 miles of range once. Yet only got 29.4 actual mpg. Highway rating is 30.

"I've exceeded other cars' highway ratings without taking as much care as I did here. And yet the QX50 still fell short. This mpg rating feels like a pipe dream, which is weird considering the laundry list of engine tech, the accursed CVT automatic and premium fuel. Not impressed." — Dan Edmunds

2019 Infiniti QX50

Comfort
"I do like our QX50's driver's seat for its comfort. I adjusted it a few weeks ago for me and have barely moved it since. I'm able to drive long distances, no problem, but should note that the head restraint is canted forward a fair degree. I can see how some drivers would find it annoying." — Brent Romans

Interior
"You'd expect a luxury SUV to be quiet and the QX50 meets expectations. There's not much in the way of wind or road noise, even when driving at 70-plus mph on the highway. The ride quality is sufficiently smooth, too." — Brent Romans

"This interior is totally wrong for a road trip, mainly because cabin storage is pitiful. There's a lot of style here but no functional space. There are two cupholders between the seats, with a tiny bin just in front with two USB ports. That's it. And that bin isn't even big enough for any phone." — Dan Edmunds

2019 Infiniti QX50

Cargo Space
"I've loaded up our QX50 with a bunch of stuff the past few weeks and have come away impressed each time. Luggage, a brand-new 65-inch TV, Christmas decorations and extra-large grocery runs were all handled without issue. Utility is what makes one think of getting an SUV instead of a sedan." — Brent Romans

Technology
"I'm feeling like an old man driving with his blinker on in the QX50. So far I've caught myself leaving it on four or five times during the long drive to Oregon. I blame the head-up display. I love such displays because everything I need to see is there without glancing down.

"Almost everything. In this car, the turn signal display is not up there with speed, cruise control following distance. It ought to be. The normal impulse to regularly scan the gauges to check my speed is utterly gone with a HUD in the mix. I no longer routinely drop my eyes every few seconds, so it's possible for the winking arrow to go unnoticed, especially since it's also quite small and dim, and its very quiet electronic click can't be heard over the stereo." — Dan Edmunds

"The dual-screen infotainment system is a joke. It uses up a lot of center stack acreage, is hard to use, and doesn't support any smartphone integration such as Apple CarPlay or Android Auto." — Dan Edmunds


Monthly Update for November 2018

Where Did We Drive It?
Our 2019 Infiniti QX50 spent some time in November with our intrepid Senior Editor Brent Romans, driving around the Central California badlands of Fresno. Brent always gets concentrated periods of seat time in our cars and comes away with impressions that form almost mini-ownership anecdotes and insights. It's one thing to form quick-hit passing impressions when you only spend a day or two commuting to the office as most of us typically do. But it's another thing as a car starts revealing its quirks and charms when you drive it every day for a week or more.

One of the QX50's continued quirks, to put it charitably, remains its subpar fuel economy. Although Brent's holiday-heavy mileage returned the best numbers we've seen yet, they're still woefully short of what the QX50 should be achieving.

What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
In November, we added 1,524 miles and filled up five times with 68.7 gallons. Math-gifted readers will see that yields average monthly fuel economy of around 22.2 mpg. That's the best monthly average we've achieved thus far and it helped boost the lifetime average by 0.5 mpg.

But while the additional miles that we drove in November helped boost fuel efficiency, the result still pales compared to its EPA-rated combined mpg number. The Infiniti is even still well off of its city-rated mileage.

Notably, the QX50's onboard fuel meter painted a rosier picture, indicating a monthly average of 23.9 mpg. Nice try.

We hit a milestone early on in November worth mentioning though, resetting the best range target at 333 miles. Brent also had a couple of tanks in the 300s, good returns for a car that has so far been pretty stingy with giving us any kind of distance.

Average lifetime mpg: 20.0
EPA mpg rating: 26 combined (24 city/30 highway)
Best fill mpg: 25.0
Best range: 333 miles
Current odometer: 6,381 miles

Maintenance and Upkeep

2019 Infiniti QX50

Brent took the QX50 in for its first service and recalls it thus:

"Our QX50 recently cleared 7,500 miles on its odometer, and that meant it was time for its first scheduled maintenance service. I headed to my local Infiniti dealership, Infiniti Fresno. This service included an oil change, a tire rotation and an inspection.

"The inspection revealed conflicting reports about the cranking power of our QX50's battery. A full hour-long battery test would be necessary to know for sure. In the interest of time, I decided to skip it and told the service writer that we'd come back should we notice any problems. The service was professional and quick, and the final tally came to $145.26."

Logbook Highlights

MPG
"Wow. The real-world fuel economy of our QX50 is a major disappointment. I just finished about 900 miles of driving over the Thanksgiving holiday week and ran the numbers. The result after thee fill-ups of almost all highway driving was a middling 23.3 mpg. That's not even equal to the EPA's 24 mpg estimate for city driving. How can this thing be so far off? I think we got pretty similar fuel economy with our long-term Jaguar F-Pace, and that had 340 hp compared to the QX50's 268 hp." — Brent Romans, senior editor

2019 Infiniti QX50

Interior
"The heated steering wheel feature in our QX50 is oddly ineffective. Turn it on and the wheel barely warms up. It's also an inconsistent heating; some parts of the steering wheel still stay cold. Thankfully, the front seat heaters work a lot better." —  Brent Romans

2019 Infiniti QX50

"Going to reaffirm what colleague Kathleen mentioned in an earlier post about the QX's gear selector moving too easily from Drive to Neutral. Happened to me a handful of times. All it takes is one well-placed unintentional brush when you're going to for the dial controller/button array next to it, or even just casually resting your palm on it. Really needs a more solid detent or resistance before determining that you do in fact wish to decouple the engine and transmission." — Dan Frio, reviews editor

2019 Infiniti QX50

"The QX50 doesn't get any fancier than our test car. We've got the Sensory package, which adds, amongst a bunch of other features, upgraded leather upholstery, maple wood trim and the simulated suede headliner. On top of that, the Autograph package with its white leather, special quilted stitching and the blue simulated suede accents.

"At first I wasn't sold on it all. It seemed like too many different materials and colors. Plus, white leather isn't great considering I've got two dirt magnets (i.e., children). But the more time I've spent with the QX50, the more I like it. It's different and stylish." — Brent Romans

Technology-Audio
"The infotainment system is one of this vehicle's notable drawbacks. It works OK, but its graphical resolution, fonts and processing speeds aren't good enough for a 2019 luxury vehicle. It's more Nissan-grade. No Apple CarPlay or Android Auto smartphone integration is a bummer, too. — Brent Romans

"Definitely appreciate Infiniti's approach to its camera game. Whether you want a wide-angle view to the rear, a look to the sides, or a look at what's ahead of the front bumper, the surround-view cam offers it, and offers it on demand, not only when you're in reverse. It's a thoughtful feature for a car that costs premium dollars, one that should help you avoid paint repairs up front or on the sides. Resolution isn't stellar given the displays in some competitors, but it does the job without looking like standard-def." — Dan Frio

2019 Infiniti QX50


Monthly Update for October 2018

Where Did We Drive It?
It's not getting better for our 2019 Infiniti QX50. We're a third of the way through our long-term test, and it seems that fewer of our editors are interested in driving it. In October, the Infiniti stuck firmly within the confines of Los Angeles commutes, barely covering more than 500 miles.

Although we're actually almost on our mileage pace for this point in the test — we aim to average 1,700 miles per month, and we're at around 1,600 miles with the QX50 — it's a misleading stat. More than 40 percent of the Infiniti's current miles were piled on in August, most of them on an epic Rocky Mountain road trip. We've averaged fewer than 700 miles the last two months.

We continue to have a heavy volume of short-term test cars coming through the office, which means cars like the QX50 sometimes end up sitting in the garage overnight. But there's something else going on. We noticed some interior quality issues this month, but that's usually not enough for people to balk at it. There's a general murmur that the engine, transmission and steering are just deeply out of sync, making the QX simply not that enjoyable to drive. We'll see how things shake out as the holidays approach, out-of-town road trips are planned, and impressions are formed with longer seat time.

What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
In October, we added just 746 miles, filling up four times with 43 gallons. That adds up to 18 mpg, nearly a full point lower than our September result, which also dropped our lifetime average fuel economy by 0.7 mpg.

The QX50's own fuel economy meter was a bit conservative this month, recording itself achieving an average of 17.6 mpg.

We're nearly 6,500 miles into the long-term test and lifetime fuel economy is 19.5 mpg. Again, that's not even in the ballpark for the EPA estimate for city driving, let alone combined fuel economy. As we noted last month, it's still early in the test and still light on miles, but it's not looking promising.

Average lifetime mpg: 19.5
EPA mpg rating: 26 combined (24 city/30 highway)
Best fill mpg: 25
Best range: 309.4 miles
Current odometer: 6,381 miles

Maintenance and Upkeep
No maintenance for our QX50 in October, but we did get wind of a recall action. Nissan/Infiniti is recalling certain 2019 QX50 models for an issue that causes the trim cover to separate unexpectedly from the passenger-side knee airbag module, rather than split at a seam as designed. The recall states this situation is limited to "the event of a crash in very cold temperatures," something we don't have much cause to worry about in Southern California.

We don't know yet if our car is affected — only 1,671 units are — but since ski season is around the corner and our all-wheel-drive QX50 will likely find itself in some cold temps, we plan to have it looked at pronto.

Logbook Highlights

Interior

2019 Infiniti QX50

"Not sure what Infiniti was thinking with the mismatched wood trim. Both the colors and grain pattern clash, comparing the wood trim on the door and what's on the dash. I'm no interior designer, but I know I'd be disappointed if this were my car." — Jonathan Elfalan, road test manager

2019 Infiniti QX50

"The little tab that opens the retractable cover for one of the storage bins detached in my hand. I think it may have already been broken. Once again, at this price I'd expect a higher level of build quality. Hopefully, it's covered under warranty." — Jonathan Elfalan

2019 Infiniti QX50

2019 Infiniti QX50


Monthly Update for September 2018

Where Did We Drive It?
Oh, dear. This doesn't bode well. Just a few months into its stint in our garage and our 2019 Infiniti QX50 barely covered 700 miles of local driving. Are we already really that indifferent to this new Infiniti and its clever new engine technology? It would appear so just by looking at the stat sheet.

But data can lie. Fact is, we've had a remarkable run of test cars in and out of the office lately, cars that come in for short testing periods then leave. These cars get driven out of necessity, leaving our long-termers quiet and forlorn. Many of us have also been spending a lot of time on airplanes.

We'll see how the fall shapes up, but I'd like to think the QX50 is simply biding its time to show us what it can do. Editor Josh spent some time at the wheel and thinks the QX stacks up nicely with its primary Japanese rival. Those are qualities we'll be looking for in a Southern California luxury SUV.

What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
In September, we added just 703 miles. Overall fuel economy continues to disappoint, however; we averaged just 18.9 mpg for the month, which is one full point less than our August result. The QX50's own fuel economy meter was a bit better-calibrated this month: It recorded itself achieving 18.7 mpg.

We're only about 5,000 miles into this test, but our overall fuel economy is 20.2 mpg. That's not even close to the EPA estimate for city driving, let alone the estimate for combined mpg. It's early yet, but still a worry — the QX50 shouldn't be this far off its numbers, even this early.

Average lifetime mpg: 20.2
EPA mpg rating: 26 combined (24 city/30 highway)
Best fill mpg: 25.0
Best range: 309.4 miles
Current odometer: 5,693 miles

Maintenance and Upkeep
None.

2019 Infiniti QX50

Logbook Highlights

Performance
"Even though the QX50 is almost 8 inches shorter than the (two-row) Lexus RX, driving it always gets me thinking about the Lexus. Infiniti is straddling segments here, hoping that the QX50 can fend off size-class rivals like the BMW X3 while also giving the RX something to think about.

"Would I recommend the QX50 to an RX shopper? Yeah, I think I would. Like the RX, it's got plenty of passenger room in both seating rows, and it actually has more cargo space despite its shorter body. The interior is convincingly luxurious, too. To top it off, the QX50's base price undercuts the RX 350's by about $7,000. I like this Infiniti more than I thought I would, and I bet a lot of RX fans would say the same thing after a test drive." — Josh Sadlier, senior manager, content strategy

2019 Infiniti QX50


Monthly Update for August 2018

Where Did We Drive It?
Our 2019 Infiniti QX50 finally stretched its legs in August, its first real month of service in the long-term fleet. We added the redesigned crossover in early July, putting on some break-in miles for much of the month. In late July and into August, a few members of the team drove it home and drove it around town, but it was editor Travis Langness who racked up the first batch of big miles with a 2,000-mile trip to Colorado.

Nissan's new variable compression four-cylinder engine found in the QX50 wasn't too impressive at Rocky Mountain altitude, nor were some of the QX's other comfort and safety features. Travis' initial impressions don't bode well for accruing road-trip mileage. On the other hand, some driver aids came in handy during our local driving and, common to Infinitis, the interior fit and finish punches above its weight.

What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
In August, we added 2,682 miles, most of them with Langness at the wheel. Overall fuel economy for the month was disappointing, though. We used 132 gallons of premium fuel, yet the QX50 returned just 20.5 mpg combined. Look below and you'll see that's well off the mark of the EPA estimate. We can chalk this up, for now, to excessive grade climbs and thin Colorado air that forced the turbocharged four-cylinder to work harder than it would have to in a controlled EPA test. Still, it's worrying; that's a large gap.

For the record, the QX50 thought it was doing a bit better, giving itself an efficiency score of 22.3 mpg (taken from the onboard mpg meter).

Average lifetime mpg: 20.4
EPA mpg rating: 26 combined (24 city/30 highway)
Best fill mpg: 25.0
Best range: 309.4 miles
Current odometer: 4,989 miles

Maintenance and Upkeep
None.

2019 Infiniti QX50

Logbook Highlights

Performance
"At 9,000 feet of elevation, the QX50 is completely gutless. Power delivery is late and extremely underwhelming. The turbo four-cylinder simply doesn't have what it takes to pull a quick passing maneuver or pull itself up a long grade quickly. Sport mode on the continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) doesn't help. All it seems to do is make the throttle response jerky at low speeds." — Travis Langness, staff writer

"The Edmunds QX50 review mentions inconsistent power delivery from the CVT automatic. I've noticed this as well, but I have a workaround. If you're light on the accelerator, the CVT automatic won't surge and the acceleration will feel more linear. It's a slight learning curve, but once I got the hang of it, the transmission felt fairly unobtrusive." — Ron Montoya, senior consumer advice editor

"Eco mode in the car is extremely sluggish, even for an economy mode. Sport mode is great but feels like it's trying too hard. The transmission is a little sloppy and not predictable." — Amy Silliman, production manager

Interior
"The overall interior is very nicely finished but feels like there might be too much color going on with the navy blue, light tan, silverwood and so on. Doesn't feel like there's a lot of continuity with the color scheme, texture and style inside the car. That's not to say it looks bad; it still looks very nice, but I feel a disconnect." — Amy Silliman

Comfort
"The QX50's forward-angled headrests are terrible. Either you're bending your neck forward to allow for an upright seating position, or you have to angle the seat way far back to avoid neck pain. The seat bottoms and bolstering are both good, but this headrest is a deal-breaker for me." — Travis Langness

Cargo Space
"There's a good amount of space inside the QX50, enough for all my camping gear anyway, but it's only 1 cubic foot larger than our long-term Mazda CX-5 and 9 cubes less than our long-term Honda CR-V. And the Infiniti doesn't feel that much nicer inside than a topped-out CX-5 or CR-V. For $10K less, I'd go with the less luxurious, more spacious crossovers in this case." — Travis Langness

2019 Infiniti QX50

Technology-Audio
"The QX50 is the Goldilocks size of crossovers for city traffic — not too big and surprisingly easy to maneuver through crowded side streets. The sculpted hood makes it a bit difficult to pinpoint the front of the car, but the parking sensors are super helpful. The pedestrian detection even worked when the car was stopped at a light and a person walked close to the front of the car." — Kathleen Clonts, copy chief

"The dual-screen infotainment format isn't working for me. I wasn't a fan of Acura's similar system and Infiniti doesn't necessarily improve on it. You interact mostly with the lower screen, but it feels too far below the driver's line of sight. The top screen is for navigation only, but I'm far more likely to change audio sources and radio stations than use the nav system on a daily basis. If it were up to me, I'd make it a single screen. But if it had to be a dual screen, I'd switch the positions of the two." — Ron Montoya

"The adaptive cruise control is prone to multiple false alerts. In one 2,000-mile weekend, I experienced at least a dozen false alerts when passing in and out of shadows, going around corners or changing lanes on the highway. The QX's only response is to mash the brakes, sometimes very aggressively. This is a system I'd skip entirely." — Travis Langness

2019 Infiniti QX50


Introduction

Infiniti has had something of an identity crisis with its SUVs and crossovers. On one end is both the behemoth QX80, a luxo-barge that makes an Escalade looked underdressed, and the smaller, seven-passenger QX70. Like Howlin' Wolf, they're built for comfort, not speed.

On the other end, you've got the diminutive QX30, a tall, zippy crossover that handles like a Mini and offers mini passenger space, and now the newly redesigned 2019 Infiniti QX50. While it's a stretch to call the QX50 a sporty SUV like its predecessor, the EX, it's a predictable and competent machine. It won't let you down, but it probably won't inspire you to attack twisting open roads either.

Unsurprising, given that the QX50 has moved to an all-new platform and abandoned the sportier chassis that underpinned the model for nearly a decade. Instead, the QX50 moves to a new chassis, one built around a front-wheel-drive configuration, which allows more cabin room and better packaging.

But it's not the increased passenger and cargo space or upgraded materials and tech that piqued our interest. Rather, it's the stuff packaged beneath the hood that's of real interest to us.

What Did We Buy?
This new second-generation QX50 represents a comprehensive overhaul from its predecessor. Although Infiniti officially debuted the QX50 name in 2014, the SUV hasn't changed much from the model that debuted in 2008 as the EX35. (The name was shortened to simply EX in 2011.)

That all changes with this new front-wheel-drive chassis and a new 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that Infiniti calls VC-Turbo. VC stands for variable compression and, as it sounds, it enables the engine to vary its compression ratio rather than operating at a fixed value.

An additional link attached to each piston's connecting rod allows changes to the distance that the piston rises in its cylinder, providing for real-time compression ratio changes ranging from 8:1 to 14:1. So it runs more efficiently during cruising and relies less on fuel enrichment — common in turbo engines — during high-performance acceleration. In principle, its fuel economy should be less sensitive to driving style than other turbo engines.

Variable compression represents a significant achievement on the internal combustion engine timeline, but will we like it? We already have our doubts — not with the engine, but rather the ropey continuously variable automatic transmission that it's lashed to. We've noticed some awkwardness in the CVT automatic's responses, and our gut instinct is that this transmission is masking the engine's potential. Maybe we'll come to terms with it in a year.

What Options Does It Have?
Whenever possible, we try to get the most fully featured trim level so we can explore and report on everything the model can offer. That's the case here: We've taken delivery of the top-trim 2019 Infiniti QX50 Essential AWD, with a base price of $45,150.

Feature highlights include 19-inch wheels, LED headlights, a panoramic sunroof, leather upholstery, navigation, a surround-view camera, three-zone climate control, heated side mirrors, front and rear parking sensors, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking.

We checked off the Sensory package ($7,500), which adds 20-inch wheels, adaptive headlights, enhanced climate control (with a cabin air cleaner), premium leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, a heated and power-adjustable steering wheel, a simulated-suede headliner, ambient cabin lighting, and driver-position memory settings.

From there we also opted for the ProAssist and ProActive packages. The ProAssist package ($550) bundles backup collision intervention (which automatically applies brakes if a collision seems likely while reversing), rear cross-traffic alert, distance control alert, and adaptive cruise control.

The ProActive package is a bigger-ticket item ($2,000) but adds several features to the driver safety bundle, including blind-spot intervention (which can make steering corrections to avoid a lane-changing collision), lane keeping assist, upgraded adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go function, and steering assist. Those last few features enable the QX50 with semiautonomous driving capability. Other useful features include automatic high beams, a head-up display and a self-parking system.

All in, the Infiniti QX50 would have cost $55,200, plus a destination charge of $995. So figure $56,195. It would have cost us that, but it didn't. Infiniti lent us the car for the year.

Why We Got It
Another midsize crossover? Yes. But stifle your yawns for a minute — this new QX50 actually has a few things going on.

First, it's a ground-up overhaul replacing a platform that survived nearly a decade and three name changes. That promises improvements in ride comfort as well as in passenger and cargo space. Second, the QX50 features significant new engine technology, probably the most considerable leap in internal combustion engine design since direct injection.

We're also curious about the ProPilot Assist technologies. We've enjoyed this battery of driver aids in our Nissan Leaf EV, where its semiautonomous nature helps make our challenging stop-and-go commutes a little less fatiguing. Will these features fare as well in the larger SUV?

Finally, since we already drove the subcompact QX30 for a year, we figured it was time to try the next rung up on the ladder. The QX30 was small and fun, with sharp handling and an engine and transmission sourced from Mercedes-Benz that gave it plenty of life. It even came in a color that got people talking, for better or worse. Our new QX50 won't generate any such controversies.

Follow its progress during our long-term road test for our latest thoughts and impressions of this 2019 Infiniti QX50.

The manufacturer provided this vehicle for the purpose of evaluation.

Dan Frio, staff writer