First Drive – 2019 Infiniti QX50 Ultimate, the Versatile First-Class CUV

The 2019 Infiniti QX50 may be the versatile crossover young families don’t realize they need. The crossover sports a low, slender body with some aerodynamic chutzpa, and has a lux interior with leather, wood and chrome. Plus, technology for comfort and infotainment is top-notch.

Infiniti threw a ton of exclusive technology into the latest iteration of its 2019 QX50 compact crossover, including the first variable compression ratio engine, an XTronic continuously variable transmission and ProPilot Assist self-driving technology.


Infiniti puts elevated functionality in every aspect of the 2019 QX50’s design. While the whip isn’t the sportiest CUV on the market, it has the most advanced powertrain that yields high efficiency and power. And its VC Turbo engine has the power of a turbo petrol engine and the efficiency of a diesel engine to boast 268 horsepower and a 35% improvement in efficiency.

The all-new platform for the 2019 Infiniti QX50 is a front-engine front-wheel drive layout that sets a new standard for refinement, flexibility and interior comfort in the compact luxury crossover segment.

Embodying the brands ‘powerful elegance’ design language, the 2019 Infiniti QX50 traces its roots from the initial QX50 Concept and the 2016 Sport Inspiration, with poised aerodynamics and a low drag coefficient.

We took the 2019 Infiniti QX50 Essential FWD to some fun R&R spots for young professionals and young families in downtown Chicago.

Check out the First Drive Highlight Video!

Powerful Elegance- Slim, Low Slung and Luxurious

The 2019 Infiniti QX50 doesn’t look like a typical crossover. It’s low and narrow at just 66 inches high and an 8.6 inch ground clearance. Standard 19 inch aluminum alloy wheels are pushed to the edges of the 110 inches wheelbase. While it looks big as drivers approach, when it’s next to other compact CUVs like the Honda CRV, Hyundai Tuscon, the Subaru Forester and the GMC Terrain, it looks like a minivan.

2019 INFINITI QX50 Essential FWD
2019 INFINITI QX50 Essential FWD at Arlington Raceway

Motorsports Correspondent Daryl was impressed by the QX50’s look, but at 5’11” he admits it doesn’t look as comfortable for a taller man. Considering the dimensions may make bigger male buyers think twice about buying the QX50.

The low-clearance spoiler in the front scrapes the curb easily, so it may not be ideal for adventure. Plus the smaller frame is why Daryl ultimately designated the QX50 as a chick car.

The new QX50 has cool standard LED daytime running lights, LED fog lights and LED welcoming lighting. Body-colored chrome door handles, dual exhaust finishers, heated side mirrors, a moon roof, and power lift gate are standard features that add stylish functionality to the QX50.

The QX50’s sleek clamshell hood has deep creases that line up perfectly with the driver’s sightline allowing them to sit high and see low. Integrated door handles mean the deep character lines on the side of the car are seamless.

2019 INFINITI QX50 Essential FWD
2019 INFINITI QX50 Essential FWD

Aerodynamics and a low drag coefficient are enhanced by the QX50’s overall design. The A-pillar, tailgate and underbody encourage minimal turbulence. The front and rear bumper and wheel arches have air slits and inlets to enhance airflow. A rear recessed roof and the side spoiler are part of the Zero Lift design. Together, these elements contribute to a 6% improvement in drag coefficient and 31 mpg highway fuel economy (27 mpg combined / 24 mpg city).

The 2019 QX50 is available in some cool colors too like Chestnut Bronze, Graphite Shadow and Majestic White. While buyers in North American have Hermosa Blue and Dynamic Sunstone Red added to the palate. China adds Midnight Grey and Iridium Blue.

Luxurious leather Tech-focused Cabin

The interior of the 2019 Infiniti QX50 fully-loaded is first-class luxury at first glance. Once seated inside, it further reiterates Daryl’s assertion that it’s a ‘chick car.’ Why, because its narrow seats offer little hip room. And there are other features make it ideal for a smaller driver with smaller proportions and short arms.

2019 INFINITI QX50 interior

Four interior colors are offered, black, dark blue, brown and white with open-pore wood or aluminum on the dashStandard accouterments include two-toned quilted leather –contrast stitched 8-way power front seats with an optional 2-position lumbar for the driver, a leather wrapped steering wheel and shifter, rear privacy glass and 3-zone climate control.

2019 INFINITI QX50 center console area

The leather shifter is nice, but it’s too short. Long-armed drivers have to move their elbow from the small center console to reach the shifter. The center stack could be more useful if the layout was more practical and less congested. Cup holders block the storage console.

The dash and steering wheel, however are wonderfully crafted. Though small, the leather-wrapped steering wheel has controls for voice command and audio on left and controls for ProPilot Assist and the big multi-information display on the right.

The digital info display sits between the odometer and tachometer and shows a wealth of info including stats like speed, tire pressure, and a real-time display of the VC Turbo power output, and safety warnings. I love how the compass in the digital display rotates in real time. Paddle shifters sit behind the wheel.

2019 INFINITI QX50 steering wheel and instrument cluster
2019 INFINITI QX50 steering wheel and instrument cluster

A Heads-up-Display is available with the ProActive Package that not only shows the speed on the windshield but also driving aids, warnings for lane departure, forward collision and forward emergency braking plus detailed navigation.

The Heads-up-Display and instrument gauge are part of Infiniti’s four monitor display that all work together to present the most pertinent info and stats at the right time. Along with the HUD is the QX50’s Human Machine Interface that includes two screens in the center stack to display separate info at the same time. An 8 inch touchscreen in the upper portion of the center stack will display navigation and messages. The lower 7 inch touchscreen displays audio, apps, climate control and Infiniti’s InTouch infotainment.

Intelligent Key can save driver profile so that the settings are automatically recalled for the seat position and steering wheel as well as the drive mode and screen layout.

2019 INFINITI QX50 2nd row
2019 INFINITI QX50 2nd row

The cabin also boasts four USB ports, Bluetooth, Homelink and standard Infiniti InTouch Navigation. The nav system is detailed with predicative traffic patterns, landmarks, icons, and neighborhood names – even Infiniti dealerships.

Though the QX50 looks wide and long its interior capacity is disappointing. Front and rear seats are slender, so a wider person may be uncomfortable. The second row offers up to 38 inches of legroom. The QX50’s trunk is large, but enforces the notion that the lux crossover is better suited for single professionals or families with younger kids.

VC Turbo Powertrain Offers Resilience and Flexibility

The all-new QX50’s VC Turbo engine is the first of its kind in a production vehicle. It’s matched to an XTronic continuously variable transmission. Combining the power of the a turbo 4-cylinder engine with the efficiency of a 4-cylinder diesel engine, the VC Turbo 4 can continuously raise or lower the piston’s reach to transform compression ratio.


The VC turbo boasts 268 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 280 lb-ft of torque at 1,600 rpm, nearly as powerful as a V6. The powertrain switches between gas direct injection that improves combustion efficiency and multipoint injection that enables high efficiency at low engine loads. And the VC turbo can switch between both Atkinson and regular combustion cycles for high performance. The continuously variable transmission has a shift-by-wire system that uses a fully electronic system to offers smooth seamless shifting.

All the tech in the powertrain enables a truly versatile performance with the Drive Mode Selector taking it further. The QX50’s Drive Mode Selector offers Eco, Sport and Comfort modes that adjust throttle, steering and suspension.

All new MacPherson strut front suspension is cushioned and resilient with high straight-line stability.

The QX50 offers front-wheel drive in the base model that is said to deliver the same agility as standard all-wheel drive vehicles by continuously monitoring traction levels at the front axle and corrects wheel slip.

Optional Intelligent All-Wheel Drive offers two-wheel traction and all-wheel grip when needed, switching up to 50% torque to the rear wheels. All-wheel drive also features Active Brake Limited Slip that can extend extra grip power to individual wheels, and Active Trace Control that controls understeering by braking individual wheels.


The 2019 QX50 offers two adaptive steering systems – Direct Adaptive Steering and rack-electric power steering. The 2019 QX50 is said to be the first crossover and first front-wheel drive application of the digital Direct Adaptive Steering system. Using high speed electric motors and sensors at the steering column, the system is easier to maneuver with direct responsive inputs and less negative steering.

Braking is on a dime, but rough. Passengers and cargo items all lunge forward when braking at even low speeds.

The QX50’s standard safety-technology is top notch including standard features like Forward Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Predicative Forward Collision Warning, Blind Spot Warning, Hill Start Assist, a rearview and Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection.

The $2,000 ProActive Package includes ProPilot Assist, Steering Assist, Intelligent Cruise Control, Blind Spot Intervention, Lane Departure Prevention, High Beam Assist, Direct Adaptive Steering and the Heads-up-Display.

2019 INFINITI QX50 interior
2019 INFINITI QX50 interior

ProPilot Assist in the QX50 aids driver’s on a straight highway by keeping the wheel aligned and speed varied according to surrounding traffic. It’s just enough to not completely take over the responsibility of driving, just give a little relief when needed.

For $550 drivers can add the ProAssist Package that includes Backup Collision Intervention, Distance Control Assist, Intelligent Cruise Control and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.

At $43k the base FWD Infiniti QX50 is a great lux crossover. Moreover at that price it’s competitive with other CUVs both lux and utility. The Sensory Package ($7,500) offers elevated premium luxury, but could price the QX50 out of its segment. With the Sensory Package, the QX50 is decked out with 20 inch wheels, cubed LED headlights, Adaptive Front Lighting, a motion activated lift gate, heated and ventilated front semi-aniline leather seats, advanced climate control, an ultra-suede headliner, heated steering wheel and a 16-speaker Bose stereo system.

Loaded up the FWD Infiniti QX50 Essential retails for a whopping $55,285, more than some lux SUVs. That could be why we haven’t seen many of this superior CUV on the road here in Chicago.

Check out more photos from our First Drive with the 2019 Infiniti QX50 on our Facebook Page!