The QX50 has a technological marvel under the hood. The 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder is the first ever with variable compression ratios, meaning that it will fundamentally change the way it operates to meet the conditions it is facing. Cruising around town or on the highway? The engine will adjust to be more fuel friendly. Feeling a little feisty? The engine will adjust to give you a bit more power. Most who buy this car will probably never realize this witchcraft, and most sales people won't bother fully explaining the benefits, but it's cool nonetheless.
In other departments, the QX50 has moved to a front-wheel drive based platform which is naturally less sporty than rear wheel drive. Similarly, instead of a quick automatic with paddle shifters the new QX50 gets a CVT, which isn't as strange feeling as others that are out there, and there's a "manual" mode that fakes the feel of a standard transmission. The suspension follows the same story with a softer ride that smooths out the road with a tad of body roll in the corners. That's okay though, because the QX50 is supposed to be a bit more focused on comfort, kind of in the same vein of the Lexus RX 350. It's supposed to coddle you in a harsh world, not cut its way through it, and it does it's job well.