Vehicle Spotlight: 2019 Infiniti QX50 Brings Luxury Performance to the Plebs

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Starting at just $36,550, the 2019 Infiniti QX50 sells under tags like affordable luxury, and crossover you can count on. The company, known for producing pretty, performative vehicles even goes for the hard, proletariat sell. “Every inch, every feature, and every innovation has been carefully designed to inspire, enhance and fulfill your inherent potential.” Okay, now is it me, or does that sound like a line from the villain in the movie Robots? “Only a year’s salary for your ‘upgrade!’” But to be fair, this is a fair price for the alt-luxury producer, and the QX50 has some pretty impressive features to help it meet those expectations.

As far as competitors are concerned, “The new crossover enters a growing and massive segment in which it will face tough competition from established players such as the Acura RDX, Audi Q5, BMW X3, Cadillac XT5, Lexus NX, Mercedes-Benz GLC, and Porsche Macan,” said Car and Driver. That said, the 2019 Infiniti QX50 runs with a pack of luxury SUVs that so often imitate each other’s styles and sensibilities, it becomes difficult to differentiate between them. The Audi Q5 and the BMW X3 (to name a few) are some of the top dogs, but the QX50 manages to outshine them in one key area.

Meet… Innovation

What makes the 2019 Infiniti QX50 so spectacular, and now makes it potential leader of the pack, is its powertrain. Infiniti has incorporated a variable-compression-ratio turbocharged engine, which has already proven worthy of the investment. Because like we said, when it comes to performance: Infiniti does not skimp.

Capable of 268 horsepower and generating 280 lb-ft of torque, the QX50 sets a standard for innovation in the powertrain, while ensuring that if you are going to pay for a vehicle such as this, then you’re going to be able to “zip” around. Well, with as much zip as possible for a crossover/SUV that doesn’t carry a Lambo or Bentley badge. With a zero-to-sixty of 6.2 and a top speed eclipsing 130 mph, there is reason to believe that the luxury SUV does not have to be your rich neighbor’s grocery-getter. It has an identity all its own and can now be reasonably purchased by the domestic and free spirits alike.

Points of Conflict

Safety definitely contributes to the bang-for-your-buck nature of the 2019 Infiniti QX50. Standard with the badge is a front collision monitoring system as well as driver assist. But that does not mean everyone enjoys the way it handles. The steering to many is awkward, not aligning with the sleek design of the exterior. Because it can be hard to handle, a look-alike competitor like the Cadillac XT5 or the Lexus NX can swoop in and fill that void. This is hopefully something Infiniti will look to patch in the future.

That said, the QX50 certainly walks the walk in terms of aesthetics. The D-Pillar shape, and flared hood give it an understood seriousness before one steps into it. The interior is of quality as well, but it is quaint. There appear to be minimal updates in the navigation and infotainment department. Many tech-oriented reviewers are left frustrated with an outdated, clunky, and seemingly superfluous dual-screen system. But you might not care as much when riding as comfortably as the QX50 accommodates. Passengers can enjoy any trip in quilted leather seats and microsuede paneling (although these are only with top trim). What does come standard is the option of wood trim interior features sure to rev up the elegance. The cabin is also extremely spacious. Four passengers have ample leg room, both in the front and the back thanks to a sliding back bench.

Worth It? You Be the Judge

While the innovative powertrain is impressive and lends itself to the overall performance of the vehicle, it’s not the kind that demands attention. How you see that as a consumer is entirely up to you— driving in class, yet doing so unassumingly, OR paying for tech that you can’t flaunt by revving the engine.

As it turns out, the ultimate pitch of the 2019 Infiniti QX50 as affordable luxury is not a misnomer, nor is it a malicious sales tactic to seduce the middle class. The price simply gets you the minimum amount of luxury in a vehicle segment that is flat out exploding. If you want the QX50 to be extraordinary, it’ll likely run you closer to a $60K tag. And while that is still not outrageous, automakers will only be dumping more into producing luxury crossovers, which might make pulling the trigger worth the wait.

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