MSRP
$36,650
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2019 Infiniti QX50 Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 6.5

The 2019 Infiniti QX50 features a turbo-four engine that moves this luxury compact SUV with ease. It's mated to a continuously variable automatic transmission that works extremely well. Ride quality is generally excellent, but many class rivals have superior handling.

  • Overall performance is good but not neck-snapping, matching the expectations you'd have for a 268-horsepower SUV." -- Left Lane News
  • As far as the car's casual acceleration and remarkably numb electronic steering, they're only weak points if you're comparing this to a Porsche Macan or an actual sports car. But, yeah, if an engaging driving experience is what you're after this is not your ride." -- Jalopnik
  • Don't get us wrong, the QX50 is perfectly competent — it's an exceedingly quiet and comfortable cruiser. However, it's no longer the driver-pleasing machine its predecessor was." -- Autoblog

Acceleration and Power

The QX50 comes with a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine that puts out 268 horsepower. The engine is new for 2019, and it's known as the VC-Turbo. The VC stands for variable compression, which means that the engine will adjust its compression ratio on the fly to optimize power and efficiency. According to Infiniti, this is the first production-ready variable compression engine in any vehicle in the world. The engine is mated to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).

Despite the fancy-sounding technology, the QX50's engine doesn't feel any different from a regular turbo-four. It has ample power for moving this small SUV, and acceleration is fine for pulling away from a stoplight or getting around that slowpoke on the highway. There's a hint of turbo lag at times, but not enough to ruin your day. This Infiniti's CVT is outstanding, but it doesn't unlock the engine's potential the way a dual-clutch transmission might.

The QX50 gets great fuel economy. It earns an EPA-estimated 24 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. Those are some of the best ratings in the class.

  • "By that I mean it feels like most every other turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. It's peppy enough to offer satisfying acceleration and passing power, with only a few instances of turbo lag off the line. This normalcy isn't a bad thing. The fact that this engine can have so much going on under the hood yet still feel normal seems like a success." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • But as far as performance goes, the engine's pretty modest. Matting the gas pedal off a stoplight doesn't do much besides make noise. Trying to find power on an aggressive corner exit isn't all that rewarding either. That said, the QX50 does surge to passing speed with plenty of competence as long as it has some momentum." -- Jalopnik
  • As mentioned previously, the CVT is better than most, but still not as satisfactory as a dual-clutch transmission or a traditional automatic. The programmed shift points feel unexpectedly sharp and decisive, an improvement over the frequently mushy simulated gear ratios other CVTs employ to hit-and-miss success. This imparts a sportiness frequently lacking in CVT-equipped vehicles." -- New York Daily News

Handling and Braking

While the previous generation QX50 was relatively fun to drive, the redesigned 2019 edition loses much of that allure. It can seem overmatched on roads with many sharp curves, and the steering feels detached. This comfort-oriented QX50 delivers a quiet, supple ride. Additionally, the brakes are sturdy.

Front-wheel drive comes standard in the QX50, and all-wheel drive is available. Direct Adaptive Steering (DAS) is also available. Infiniti's DAS system is a steer-by-wire system designed to make steering more responsive and thus make the vehicle more maneuverable.

  • "Handling has also been muted for the latest QX50. Whereas the old QX50 was actually fun on a twisty road, the new one feels out of its element. The 2019 QX50 doesn't exhibit any kind of excessive body lean or pronounced understeer, but it just feels unhappy when pushed even to modest levels. Even though the 2019 QX50 is lighter, it feels heavier and less willing to dance." -- Left Lane News
  • That's not to say the car is bad to drive. Riding in it is really quite pleasant. It's just calm and collected to the point of near total numbness." -- Jalopnik
  • Matched with a softly sprung suspension, the driving experience is more of a wafting experience. In cornering, you can feel its mass shifting awkwardly as it exhibits an overall reluctance to hustle. Where the chassis shines is in its ability to absorb surface irregularities, cushioning occupants from even the slightest on-road protuberances. It's quieter than a cocoon too, a combo that's sure to put any little ones to sleep, if not the driver." -- Autoblog
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2019 Infiniti QX50

MSRP: $36,650 - $45,450

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