What can you do when complaints are heard about a too-snug back seat? INFINITI took the direct approach with its QX50 crossover SUV, adopting a longer body for the 2016 model year. In a class not known for accomplished road behavior, the QX50 also comes across as nimbly athletic, performing with impressive eagerness.

Pricing and Equipment

Starting at $34,450 (plus $995 destination charge), the rear-wheel drive QX50 contains a 3.7-liter V6 that generates 325 horsepower, teaming with a seven-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is available as an alternative to rear-drive.

Standard equipment includes:

  • Rearview camera
  • Heated, leather-appointed seats
  • Moonroof
  • Pushbutton start
  • Universal garage door opener
  • Power driver's seat
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control
  • Six-speaker audio
  • 18-inch alloy wheels

A Premium package adds Bose 11-speaker audio, memory seating, maple wood trim, and roof rails. The Premium Plus package adds navigation, surround-view cameras, and parking sensors. The Deluxe Touring package provides 19-inch wheels, a power-folding second-row seat, and adaptive front lights. Finally, the Technology package adds lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assistance, adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning/automatic braking, and blind-spot monitoring.

Performance Pros

  • Rev-matching adds a throttle “blip” to transmission downshifts, helping to quicken responses and boost acceleration potential.
  • The V6 and seven-speed automatic transmission are well-matched.
  • A smooth ride, helped by a comparatively long wheelbase, is complemented by handling that’s reminiscent of a sport sedan. In fact, the QX50 is built on the same chassis as INFINITI’s Q50 sedan. Steering delivers genuine road feedback, too.

Performance Cons

  • Fuel-efficiency is nothing to boast about. With either front-drive or all-wheel drive, it’s EPA-estimated at a mere 17 mpg in city driving and 24 mpg on the highway.
  • For a luxury vehicle, the engine becomes distressingly loud and unrefined when pushed hard.
  • Paddle shifters are not provided, and it's a tough reach to the shift lever to change gears manually.

Interior Pros

INFINITI QX50 Interior
  • Front seats are roomy and nicely-shaped, with enough side bolstering to keep occupants secure on curvy roads. Seat cushions are somewhat short, but provide great thigh support. Headroom is adequate, and leg space fine.
  • In stark contrast to the pre-2016 model, the latest QX50 excels in back-seat space and comfort, with greater knee/toe room and good head space. Adding 3.2 inches to the body made a considerable difference. In the center, however, you find the usual hard, tall perch; plus a floor hump to get past.
  • Easy entry/exit. All of a sudden, you're inside without a struggle. The interior has a spacious feel, and the doors feel solid.

Interior Cons

  • Visibility is restricted by the QX50's shapely rear end, making the optional surround-view cameras especially useful. Also, cargo space behind the seat isn't very large.
  • Steering column fails to extend enough out from the dashboard as it telescopes.
  • Heated power front seats are standard, but INFINITI offers no seat ventilation or power tailgate, even as an option. Also, the navigation system looks more dated than rival setups, with a lower-resolution appearance.

The Most Pleasant Surprise

Not everyone might care for the cockpit layout, but the QX50's sharply-slanted windshield produces a huge expanse of dashboard top. Flowing cockpit-style, it wraps around the driver and extends into each door. Controls are familiar from other INFINITI QX models. We also liked the round knobs used for the radio and climate control.

The Least Pleasant Surprise

A couple of minor points here. Putting the windshield base so far from the driver means it’s a very long reach if any loose item should wind up stuck there. The video screen is small, though recessed and high-mounted. Visibility over the left shoulder is a bit constricted.

The Bottom Line

Until 2016, the QX50 was one of the least useful crossovers, due to its cramped rear seat. Now, after extending the body by 3.2 inches, it’s way more desirable. Abundantly equipped, highlighted by fine leather and wood, the QX50 has an elegant, sophisticated look that’s low-key and tasteful.