2019 Infiniti QX50 Is ‘New and Improved’ and Then Some

New and improved! Oh, how I wish I had a dollar for every time I have heard that phrase. Now we get to hear it from Infiniti as they introduce the 2019 QX50 midsize premium luxury crossover. New? Yes, including an all-new type of engine. Improved? You betcha!

2019 Infiniti QX50/Images courtesy Infiniti

Infiniti engineers have delivered the world’s first production-ready variable compression ratio engine. Many of you may not be impressed by this – and that is OK. All you really need to know is that this new VC-Turbo engine provides plenty of power on demand at both the low-end of the rpm spectrum as well as the upper ranges. And when power is not needed, the new QX50 will provide excellent fuel economy. More on this later – first let’s talk more about the vehicle itself.

The 2019 QX50 was developed on an all-new platform designed to give the vehicle an elevated stance with dynamic proportions and deep character lines. This is the new “Powerful Elegance” design language for Infiniti and they were also going for a quality, hand-crafted feel inside. Kudos to Infiniti on nailing both of these targets. Inside and out, the 2019 QX50 is a winner.

“As with all INFINITIs, in creating the new QX50 we were inspired by our desire to drive, expressed with power and artistry,” said Alfonso Albaisa, Senior Vice President, Global Design. “With the 2019 QX50, inspiration comes from striking the perfect balance between lust and logic. At a glance, seamless and sculptural, getting closer to the car reveals an ingenious blend of proportion and space.”

I agree with the “lust and logic” to a great degree, as there are body lines that will tease the mind while Infiniti’s execution of form and function make perfect sense. The vehicle exudes brand familiarity while also delivering the future of the automaker in design, technology, safety, and performance.

Let’s begin with the basics and get into more detail in a bit. The QX50 is a five-seater midsize premium crossover utility vehicle. It features a strong unibody chassis that is offered in front- or all-wheel drive. It is offered only with the new 2.0-liter VC-Turbo four-cylinder engine that is mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) gearbox. The design of the engine makes it incredibly smooth – you will not realize this is a four-cylinder engine. There is also the world’s first active engine mount vibration damping system called Active Torque Rod. This reduces engine noise even further. The VC-Turbo engine is rated at 268hp and 280 lb. ft. of torque and delivers fuel economy ratings some 30-35 percent better than the unit it replaces.

The new design allows for excellent use of space inside the cabin. All occupants will ride in comfort on a very stable yet quiet platform. Of course, the best seat in the house is the driver’s, but everyone else is reassured by the host of creature comforts and quality craftsmanship Infiniti brings – not to mention the list of safety and technology. We enjoyed the Essential AWD QX50 during our week, and Infiniti made sure to equip it with a few extra goodies as well. Beyond the extensive provision of quilted leather seating and blue ultrasuede accents were lovely maple wood trim pieces. There are also the ProACTIVE and ProASSIST packages that added backup collision intervention, distance control assist, intelligent cruise control, rear cross traffic alert, propilot assist with steering assist, blind spot intervention, lane departure warning and prevention, high beam assist, head-up display, easy park assist, and direct adaptive steering.

Ah, let us not forget the Sensory package that brings 20-inch dark tinted wheels with all-season run-flat tires, interior lighting enhancements, climate control seats, motion activated liftgate, rear side window sunshades, and adaptive front lighting. Opting for the tow package allows you to tow trailers up to 3,000 lbs., and the premium audio package brings the latest Bose surround sound technology and will have you feeling like you are sitting in the studio with the artists or front row center at a concert.

Certainly, the new QX50 is no off-roader but, if necessary, the vehicle can handle time spent off of pavement. There is generous ground clearance to get you over most obstacles, and the Intelligent All-Wheel Drive will deliver power to the wheels with the best traction at any given moment. The AWD system also aids traction and handling on-road with active brake limited slip and active trace control. Drivers can select from one of four drive modes in the QX50, those being Eco, Normal, Sport, and Personal. I preferred the Sport mode for most of my week (shocker), and the Direct Adaptive Steering system allows for adjusting the steering feedback as well.

So, how does it drive? It runs like a Cheetah stalking prey and does so silently with stealth and strength. Give it an open road and just let it go. Add some twisties for a bit more fun, and you will appreciate your QX50 even more. Stuck in traffic? No problemo as you activate the infotainment system for either route guidance or soothing sounds.

Pricing for the new 2019 Infiniti QX50 begins at $36,550 for a base Pure model with FWD. From there, you can move into the Luxe trim level or opt for the top-of-the-line Essential model as our tester was. The final window sticker for this review vehicle came in at $57,200. Fuel economy for the AWD models is 24 mpg city and 30 mpg highway.

I understand there will probably be some hesitance for folks about buying a new vehicle with first-year new technology, but it seems Infiniti has done its homework and spent more than adequate time in the testing labs to get things right here. Something radically new can make or break a brand, and as things progress this new variable compression ratio technology should really elevate Infiniti in the global marketplace. Ready to take a leap of faith? Check out the new 2019 Infiniti QX50.

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About the Author

David Goodspeed
David was editor of AutoworldToday at Today Newspapers in the Dallas suburbs until its closing in 2009. He was also webmaster and photographer/videographer. He got started doing photography for the newspaper while working as a firefighter/paramedic in one of his towns, and began working for the newspaper group full-time in 1992. David entered automotive journalism in 1998 and became AutoworldToday editor in 2002. On the average, he drives some 100 new vehicles each year. He enjoys the great outdoors and as an avid fly fisherman, as is his spouse Tish. He especially enjoys nature photography and is inspired by the works of Ansel Adams.