2021 Infiniti QX50

By February 5, 2021

The 2021 Infiniti QX50 is a mid-size luxury crossover with pleasant styling and a luxurious interior. It seats five, and propels itself with a novel turbo-4 engine.

With the 2021 model year comes a flurry of small updates. A wi-fi hotspot, rear side-mounted airbags, and acoustic glass are now standard across the lineup. More driver assist features are included with the Luxe trim. A few new colors and a new blackout appearance package round out the updates.

The QX50 is powered by a trick 2.0-liter turbo-4 that can vary its compression ratio for either performance or efficiency. The system is said to deliver more power from less displacement. The EPA rates the front-wheel drive QX50 at 23 mpg city, 29 highway, 26 combined. All-wheel drive trims 1 mpg off those figures.

The base QX50 comes with automatic emergency braking. All other trims go one step further with adaptive cruise control, active lane control, and blind-spot monitors.

Crash tests have shown promise thus far. The IIHS issued their top “Good” rating for the tests they have performed so far. The NHTSA awarded it five stars overall.

Model Lineup

Opening the QX50 range is the Pure, which starts at $38,975. It comes with features like synthetic leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control, a power liftgate, and a dual-screen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The Luxe costs $42,525 and adds a sunroof, heated front seats, remote start, and active-safety tech. It also offers a new optional appearance package with black trim and 20-inch wheels.

Next up is the $45,725 Essential. Compared to the Luxe, it gets heated mirrors, automatic wipers, navigation, and a surround-view camera system.

The first trim to crest $50,000 is the Sensory. It justifies its upcharge with leather upholstery, a heated steering wheel, 16-speaker Bose audio, and 20-inch wheels.

Finally, the $55,225 Autobiography caps the lineup. It gets tri-zone climate control, cooled front seats, a hands-free liftgate, and an adaptive steering system.

Exterior

As other automakers trend towards designs dictated by rulers and straightedges, Infiniti seems only to supply its designers with a compass and a blank canvas. The result is the QX50: swoopy, bold, assertive, distinctive. The jagged kink in the rearmost pillar and the hard crease along the top of the door skins amplify from the overall attractiveness of the styling.

We’re particularly taken with the front end, which has the right mix of attitude and tastefulness. It doesn’t rely on gaudy details to distinguish itself from the crowd.

Interior

The QX50 wins the award for nicest Infiniti interior. Compared to the dated QX80 and Q50 cabins, the QX50 has all the trappings of circa-2020 luxury. It is modern, styling, and well built. On upper trims it can be outfitted with top-notch appointments like quilted leather and real wood trim.

A dual-touchscreen infotainment system fills in the center stack. This setup aims to make for simpler operation, but controls for things like the heated steering wheel don’t have corresponding physical switchgear.

The QX50’s front seats are some of the most comfortable thrones around. They employ high-density padding that provides constant support even on the longest of drives.

The second row provides 39 inches of leg room, which is plenty for riders of all sizes. The cargo area features 31 cubic feet behind the back seat and a little over double that figure with the seatbacks folded.

Driving Impressions

The Infiniti QX50 has something that even Ferraris don’t have: variable compression technology. Essentially, the engine can adjust how much it’s squeezing the air/fuel mixture in order to deliver better power or better fuel economy.

It’s a novel system, and a valiant attempt to eke out more efficiency and versatility from the conventional gas engine. It doesn’t translate into real-world efficiency in any striking way. Acceleration is good, but its 26 mpg combined is about on par with the competition.

A continuously variable automatic transmission handles gearing concerns. For the most part, it is unobtrusive and well-mannered. Considering the mission of the QX50, the transmission is a good fit to the car’s personality.

Infiniti has tamed the ride nicely, so that it rides soft without ever turning floaty. Bumps are controlled nicely, and even the models with 20-inch wheels don’t crash over frost heaves and potholes.

Final Word

The 2021 Infiniti QX50 pairs a revolutionary engine with cutting-edge style. Handsome and comfortable, its well-appointed cockpit and luxury touches are the biggest draws here. We’d get ours in Luxe trim.

 

—by Anthony Sophinos, with driving impressions from The Car Connection

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