New tech all around. The 2020 INFINITI QX50 follows the rest of the market in adding ever more technology. Infotainment and vehicle functions are now controlled via two touchscreens, which are flashy if not entirely intuitive.
We’re more convinced by newly standard safety tech. Automatic emergency braking works in both the front and rear and 2020 brings newly-standard blind-spot monitoring and lane departure warning.
Also new are two trims adding to the top of the lineup: Sensory and Autograph. INFINITI takes the tech further in these trims with ProPilot Assist, a partially autonomous system that centers the crossover in its lane and keeps it clear of traffic ahead.
Commuters will surely be grateful, but the system may not be quite as exclusive as INFINITI would like you to think – it's also available on its cousin, the Nissan Rogue. With the Rogue, buyers only have to spend $29,465 to equip one with ProPilot Assist.
Innovative, yet ordinary. Under the hood of the QX50 is an engine that must be the result of countless engineering hours. It changes its compression ratio and displacement to maximize performance and efficiency. According to INFINITI, the system is the result of more than 20 years of work.
For its size (2.0 liters) the engine returns solid power and efficiency. Its 268 horsepower is more than most competitors, and an EPA-estimated 26 miles per gallon combined is respectable if not exceptional.
The packaging isn’t half bad, either – the QX50’s hood is unusual without looking forced, and we like the chrome kink in the window trim. For drivers who wish to stand out from staid luxury badges, the QX50 is a good way to do it.
But in spite of its sporty demeanor and impressive engineering, the QX50 never feels special. The optional steer-by-wire system is remarkable in its own right, and it feels natural enough, but the overall driving experience is mundane.
Space, support, and silence. Inside, the QX50 continues to impress. Passenger space is generous, and the QX50’s 38.7 inches of rear legroom beats key rivals like the BMW X3.
We’re even more smitten with the front seats, which are built with high-density foam backs. They’re excellent for road trips, and power-adjustment comes standard. Leather upholstery doesn’t, but it’s on the options list.
Trip-worthiness is further improved by a Bose noise-cancellation system, which is standard on every QX50. The tech all but erases road-noise, making the cabin a serene place to spend time.
Even the cargo space is strong, with 31 cubic feet behind the seats. That’s more than either the X3 or the Audi Q5, and it improves to nearly 65 cubic feet with the seats down.
Frugal to fancy. With its two new trims, the QX50 line now covers a wide range of nearly $17,000. Most buyers will find a comfortable place in the roster, although few options come cheap.
Luckily, the QX50 is equipped well enough in base trims. Interior materials are quality, and the impression is let down only by a clunky infotainment system. Software updates may help, but until then, Apple CarPlay or Android Auto (both included) may be better options.
Some of the QX50’s better features – like ProPilot Assist – are only available on the top trims. As more competitors make their safety tech available or standard, that’s a frustrating choice.
The upper trims are certainly luxurious, boasting semi-aniline leather, suede-like trim, and open-pore wood. But they push the price well above $50,000, which dampens the appeal.
Final thoughts. If the 2020 INFINITI QX50 sins, it’s by failing to distinguish itself. All the engineering in the world won’t make a difference if drivers can’t feel it under their foot or see it at the pump. Clunky infotainment is softened by smartphone compatibility, but in a segment this competitive, it pays to be polished.
All the same, the QX50 shouldn’t be overlooked against the luxury establishment. The interior and exterior compete with the best of them. The tech is newly modern, and the base model starts at a good value. Finding the right trim may take careful shopping, but for many buyers, the QX50 will be worth the effort.
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