2019 Infiniti QX50: Monthly Update for August 2018
by Dan Frio, Staff Writer
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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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