What is the QX50?
A luxury car without the luxury price tag is the automotive Holy Grail, and that's exactly what the Infiniti QX50 promises. The base model costs just a little more than fully loaded non-luxury compact SUVs and comes with an extensive list of standard features. It's also one of the roomier vehicles in this class, has tons of cargo room and rides comfortably. On paper, the QX50 appears to offer the same benefits as other luxury vehicles for a fraction of the price.
As is often the case with Infiniti, the execution falls short of standards set by rivals. The QX50's variable-compression engine, for instance, is an impressive technological achievement but fails to deliver above-average acceleration or fuel economy. The continuously variable automatic transmission, or CVT, is also inconsistent in its power delivery, so it can be hard to judge how far to press the accelerator to achieve the desired effect. Touch it too lightly, and the engine doesn't respond at all. A little more pressure, and the QX50 quickly surges forward. This is not the vehicle for stop-and-go traffic. We also find the dual-screen infotainment system cumbersome to use.
While the QX50 has its merits, the driving experience it delivers is unrefined. Other budget-friendly options such as the Genesis GV70 and Acura RDX are generally better, and the German triumvirate of Mercedes-Benz GLC, BMW X3 and Audi Q5 aren't significantly more expensive. We think these vehicles exemplify the traits luxury buyers have come to expect, while the QX50 feels a little undercooked.