2015 QX50 New Car Test Drive
The Infiniti QX50 is a crossover SUV previously known as the EX37. Based on the architecture used by Nissan Z sports car and Infiniti Q60 coupe, the QX50 is sort of a cross between a wagon and a coupe but slightly taller. Whatever you call it, the Infiniti QX50 strikes a nice balance between sportiness and luxury.
The Infiniti QX50 comes with a 3.7-liter V6, 7-speed automatic transmission, fully independent suspension and rear-wheel drive. Rear-wheel drive and the powerful V6 gives it a sporty character and it feels more car-like underway than most crossovers.
This vehicle was last redesigned for the 2008 model year when it was dubbed the EX35. The headlights were reshaped for 2010 and the 3.5-liter V6 engine was replaced by a 3.7 engine. The nomenclature was switched over to QX50 for 2014.
QX50 can seat five, but we found it much more comfortable with four. The cabin boasts rich, soft-touch materials and a stylish design. All of the controls are within easy reach.
Room up front is good, but taller drivers will want more headroom, especially if they opt for a moonroof. The back seats offer decent room, but it's tight when the front seats are all the way back. Both rows are easy to enter and exit, thanks to a relatively low ride height, higher than that of a sedan, but not as high as that of most SUVs.
Cargo room is plentiful thanks to the hatchback design, though many SUVs offer more space. A power-folding second row eases the process of loading items in the back, and they can be brought back up from the driver's seat, handy when pulling up to the curb to pick up passengers.
The 3.7-liter V6 makes 325 horsepower and is mated to the 7-speed automatic transmission that has a manual shiftgate (but no paddle shifters). It accelerates from a standstill quickly and offers strong passing response at highway speeds. Fuel economy is an EPA-estimated 17/25 mpg City/Highway.
The QX50 comes with a choice of rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. The AWD is meant for on-road use and is beneficial in foul weather. QX50 AWD is EPA-rated at 17/24 mpg City/Highway.
The QX50 drives like a sedan with a slightly elevated ride height. Handling is responsive, and the brakes and steering feel natural and inspire confidence. The QX50 rides smoothly, not as firm as the Acura RDX and a bit less driver-focused than the BMW X3.
The Around View Monitor shows obstacles 360 degrees around the vehicle, making it easier to maneuver in tight quarters. The QX50 also comes with Distance Control Assistant. There's a hard drive available with 9.3 gigabytes of storage for music files. The Lane Departure Prevention system enhances safety by lightly applying the brakes on one side to steer the vehicle back into its lane should it start crossing lane lines, for example, if you fall asleep. Infiniti Personal Assistant offers 24-hour access to live concierge services.
The 2014 Infiniti QX50 is available in four models: QX50, QX50 AWD, QX50 Journey and QX50 AWD Journey. The AWD models feature Infiniti's Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system. Rear-wheel drive is standard. All models come with a 325-horsepower 3.7-liter V6 and 7-speed automatic transmission with a manual shiftgate.
QX50 and QX50 AWD come with dual-zone automatic climate control with rear heat and air conditioning vents, leather-appointed seating, aluminum trim, eight-way power driver seat with manual lumbar adjustment, four-way power passenger seat, 60/40 split second-row seat, manual tilt/telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel, remote keyless entry and starting, trip computer, six-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo with auxiliary input and USB port, XM satellite radio, rear camera, and P225/55R18 all-season tires on aluminum wheels. AWD versions have heated front seats.
QX50 Journey and QX50 AWD Journey add a power slide/tilt glass sunroof, power tilt/telescoping steering column, Bluetooth, Maple wood interior trim, and heated front seats. Options for Journey include a Premium Package ($3050) with voice-recognition navigation with XM traffic/weather/Zagat guide, 9.3-gb Music Box, Bluetooth streaming audio, Bose 11-speaker audio system, Around View Monitor with front/rear park sensors, and upgraded climate control with Plasmacluster air purifier. Deluxe Touring package ($2,400) adds 19-inch alloy wheels and 245/45R19 tires, adaptive xenon headlights, driver memory system, entry/exit assist, reverse tilt mirrors, two-way power driver's seat lumbar support, driver's seat coat hanger, eight-way power passenger's seat, power up-folding second-row seats, HomeLink, and a stitched dash top. Technology package ($2,750) adds lane departure warning and lane departure prevention, intelligent cruise control, distance control assist, intelligent brake assist with forward collision warning, and blind spot warning.
Safety features that come standard on all models include dual front airbags, seat-mounted front-side airbags, front and rear side-curtain airbags, brake-activated pre-crash seatbelts, LATCH child seat anchors, active front headrests, traction control, electronic stability control, ABS with brake assist and electronic brake-force distribution, and rearview monitor.