The Infiniti QX50 received a complete refresh for the 2019 model year. For 2020, it sees minor improvements but they are very welcomed among those that want the latest tech.
Engine – The 2020 infiniti QX50 is only available with one engine option. A 2.0L turbocharged inline-4 that produces 268 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. While it may sound like every other 2.0L engine that is offered these days in SUVs, this one is a bit different than the others.
The Infiniti QX50 has something called Variable Compression. Without getting into too much boring detail, it basically has an actuating arm inside the engine that’s connected to the crankshaft which in turn changes how high up the combustion chamber the pistons travel. During light throttle applications, the engine is in the high compression mode to improve fuel efficiency. Vice versa when you stomp on the throttle and the turbo produces more boost, the compression ratio decreases to allow for a larger volume of air/fuel mixture for more power. From behind the steering wheel, you don’t notice any of this happening. The only indication is a graphic on the instrument cluster.
The end result is an improvement to fuel economy. Infiniti claim a highway fuel economy figure of 8.3 L/100km (28.3 mpg) and 10.8 L/100km (21.8 mpg) in a city. Compared to the likes of the Acura RDX, the Infiniti is about 1.0L/100km better.
Transmission – There’s no other way of saying this…. it’s a CVT. Although the exterior of the QX50 looks very sporty, the CVT doesn’t make for very sporty driving. However, it does make for good fuel economy figures hence why the 2020 Infiniti QX50 can get better fuel economy than other luxury compact SUVs.
Braking – At almost 1,800 kg, the QX50 is not a lightweight. But despite the weight, it stops with ease. Forward emergency braking and collision alert are standard features for the 2020 model year across all trim levels.
Handling – All-wheel-drive is standard across all trim levels of the Infiniti QX50 so when driving, you’ll always feel secure and have peace of mind that you can get out of most situations. It’s not a permanent AWD system like in a Subaru so when driving on dry roads, it’s primarily FWD to save on fuel.
Although the exterior of the QX50 looks very sporty, the driving characteristics are the opposite. The QX50 uses a drive-by-wire steering system (available on the top Sensory and Autograph trims) which makes for precise, light and effortless steering. But the downfall is that it feels very artificial and not engaging to drive.
Ride Comfort – Again, despite its sporty looks, the Infiniti QX50 is actually a very comfortable daily commuter. The suspension soaks up potholes and bumps making the SUV perfect for daily commuting. Last year, I had the 2019 QX50 and the RDX to compare against each other and I always found myself reaching for the Infiniti key when leaving the house for work. It’s a very comfortable SUV.
Interior Space – Space inside the 2020 QX50 is plentiful. Taller front occupants can easily find a comfortable position while rear passengers can choose to have more space thanks to sliding and reclining rear seats. Trunk space is good with a maximum of 880 L with the rear seats up and 1,822 L with the seats folded.
Noise, Vibration, & Harshness – Whether driving in a city or on a highway, noise from the outside never feels overwhelming on the inside. Obviously the engine produces more noise if you decide to put your foot down but it’s not the usual 4-cylinder drone that most engines of that type produce.
Odds and Ends
Gadgets – New for 2020 is an updated infotainment system along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. Although at first glance, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the infotainment system is the same one that has been used over the past decade in other Infiniti models. The graphics of the new system are similar to that of the older system as is the layout. But on the plus side, the layout and look give it a sense of familiarity for those that are previous owners of Infiniti vehicles.
As for other gadgets, quite a lot of them are available as standard. The aforementioned CarPlay and Android Auto are standard as is forward emergency braking, lane departure warning, rear automatic braking, remote start, LED headlights, blind spot sensors, remote start, heated seats, and heated steering wheel to name a few.
Exterior Design – As I’ve said before in this review, the exterior design looks very sporty. Just like it’s Q60 luxury coupe cousin, the QX50 looks like a concept car that you see at an auto show. I think it looks amazing for an SUV and Infiniti is on a roll when it comes to design.
Interior Design – The interior of the 2020 Infiniti QX50 looks just as stunning as the exterior. Smooth, flowing lines accentuate the center console and door panels. I also really like the use of different materials throughout the cabin from leather to suede to open pore white maple wood. Usually three or more materials don’t always work in car interiors but Infiniti managed it. The only thing that stands out like a sore thumb to me is the dual screen layout. Call me traditional but I’d prefer a single touchscreen with physical climate control buttons.
If you’re looking for a luxury SUV that is different than the usual crop of what the Germans offer, the 2020 Infiniti QX50 needs to be on your list. It’s surprisingly fast in a straight line, it looks like no other SUV on the roads today, and with a starting price of just under $45,000 CAD, it’s a good value as well.
Thank you to Infiniti Canada for providing the vehicle. www.Infiniti.ca