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2019 INFINITI QX50 Essential AWD Test Drive Review

The 2019 INFINITI QX50 is the meeting of evolution and revolution.

As the newest version of INFINTI’s mid-size luxury crossover, the 2019 QX50 features many of the things you’d expect in a re-designed and re-engineered model. It’s new from the ground up, featuring a platform made out of Super High Formability (SHF) high-tensile steel – a first for the automotive industry, according to INFINITI. Thanks to that innovative material, the new QX50’s underpinnings are 23 percent more rigid than those of the outgoing QX50, which means the 2019 model is more resistant to vibrations and transmits less noise into the cabin.

Designers combined INFINITI styling signatures with fresh sheet metal to create a vehicle that is both familiar and new to the eye. The inside of the 2019 QX50 is a showcase of modern infotainment and safety technologies surrounded by eye-catching, luxurious materials.

Just as airbags were a massive leap forward in safety technology, the 2019 QX50’s variable compression ratio engine is a revolution in engine design. INFINITI is the first automaker to introduce a production-ready engine which can adjust its compression ratio to maximize power and fuel economy. In a press release, INFINITI said the QX50’s new 2.0-liter VC-Turbo blends “the power of a 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline engine with the torque and efficiency of an advanced four-cylinder.”

INFINITI offers the 2019 QX50 in three trim lines: Pure, Luxe, and Essential. All of them are available with front-wheel drive or INFINITI’s Intelligent All-Wheel Drive. We recently spent a week in the lineup’s Essential AWD flagship and learned that the intersection of evolution and revolution is a great place to be.

2019 INFINITI QX50

2019 INFINITI QX50 Exterior

In a market that’s filled with mid-size crossovers, the QX50 stands out for all of the right reasons. It’s a beautiful, stunning expression of INFINITI’s “Powerful Elegance” design language, a modern art sculpture on wheels. The signature double-arch grille flows right into the LED headlight cases, which were formed to resemble the shape of the human eye. The A-pillar shoots back into a roof line that softly flows downward toward the crescent-cut D-pillar – another one of INFINITI’s visual hallmarks. Our test vehicle’s eye-pleasing body creases and contours spanned the distance between its two pairs of stunning 20-inch aluminum wheels. In the rear, a soft chrome arch stretched across the standard Motion Activated Liftgate and connected to the LED tail lights. Those were similar in shape to the headlights, giving the QX50 a visual continuity from front to back. No matter which end of the QX50 we looked at, we ended up smiling.

2019 INFINITI QX50

2019 INFINITI QX50 Interior

That beauty extended to the inside of the QX50. We were surrounded by graceful lines and attractive mixed media accented with wrap-and-sew detailing. Instead of regular fabric, the headliner was made out of a soft, suede-like microfiber and framed a full-length moonroof. Leather highlighted by contrast stitching covered the dashboard and was wrapped over the edges of the panels by hand. Below that, layers of soft microfiber and gorgeous Natural Maple Wood spread out around the cabin.

The QX50 Essential comes standard with features such as leather seats, a sliding second row, INFINITI InTouch Navigation and INFINITI InTouch Services (including Roadside Assistance and Remote Door Lock/Unlock), remote start capability, and tri-zone climate control. Our press loaner was outfitted with a variety of options packages. Two of them contained important safety technology. The Sensory Package gave us the luxury of that lovely headliner, semi-aniline leather seats with heat and ventilation in the front row, extended ambient lighting, and rear side window sunshades. It also added the Premium Audio System and the Premium Heat Package. That meant our test vehicle came with features such as a 16-speaker Bose Performance Series audio system and two-person memory for the driver’s seat, steering wheel, and side mirrors.

With its second row of seats in place and leaned back, the QX50 offers 31.1 cubic feet of cargo space. When those are folded down, capacity increases to 64.4 cubic feet. So what exactly can the QX50 carry? Try three golf bags or a stroller stored lengthwise. We had no problem hauling two carry-on suitcases and an overnight bag when all of the seats were upright.

2019 INFINITI QX50

2019 INFINITI QX50 Performance

Before now, the compression ratio (the ratio of the maximum to minimum volume in a cylinder) of passenger car engines has remained the same. INFINITI has changed that with the QX50, which introduces the first variable compression engine. After 22 years of research, development, and testing, it’s finally here. INFINITI calls it the 2.0-liter VC-Turbo. It can go from a high efficiency 14:1 ratio to a high performance 8:1 ratio. Output is 268 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 280 lb-ft from as low as 1,600 rpm up to 4,800 rpm. That’s processed by an XTRONIC Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) and – in all-wheel-drive models – INFINITI’s Intelligent All-Wheel Drive. That combination of hardware enabled our AWD press model to get 24 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway.**

We found the QX50’s transitions between compression ratios to be seamless and power to be abundant whenever we needed it. We were able to access that power even more quickly when we switched the INFINITI Drive Mode selector from its Eco or Standard setting to its Sport mode.

Ride quality, interior noise levels, and overall refinement were superb. They perfectly fit with the upscale vehicle the QX50 was intended to be.

2019 INFINITI QX50

2019 INFINITI QX50 Safety

The QX50 Essential AWD comes with a long list of standard safety features, ranging from a multitude of airbags to Brake Assist to Predictive Forward Collision Warning to Forward Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection. We were further protected by the ProASSIST and ProACTIVE Packages. Those added features including Backup Collision Intervention, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Intelligent Cruise Control with Full-Speed Range, Stop and Hold, and Steering Assist, Blind Spot Intervention, and Lane Departure Warning and Intervention to that list of safety technologies.

2019 INFINITI QX50

2019 INFINITI QX50 Overall

To see for yourself just where evolution and revolution intersect, go to an AutoNation-affiliated INFINITI dealership and test drive a 2019 QX50. Prices start at $36,550.* A QX50 just like the one you see here will cost $55,200.*

*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.

**Based on EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.

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