2019 Infiniti QX50
Service life 2 mo/4,470 mi
Avg CO2 1.04 lb/mi
Energy cons 180 kw-hr/100 mi
Unresolved problems None
Maintenance cost $0
Normal-wear cost $0
Base price $46,145 As tested $59,085 Avg Fuel Econ: 18.7 mpg
From the faux suede interior accents to Propilot Assist, the Infiniti QX50 has quite a few cool features, but its party piece is supposed to be its engine. Thanks to some trick engineering on Nissan’s part, the QX50’S engine can change its compression ratio on the fly.
In theory, this allows it to maximize fuel economy without sacrificing performance. But after two months and 5,000 miles, how has our long-term QX50 done?
At the test track, it was a bit of a toss-up. The 268-hp crossover recorded a 0–60 time of 6.6 seconds and a 15.1-second quarter mile at 91.6 mph. That’s a good bit slower than the last 280-hp Alfa Romeo Stelvio Ti Sport we tested but quicker than the 272-hp Acura RDX A-spec.
In his notes, road test editor Chris Walton wrote it felt “lazy off the line” even though he “could not detect any variability in the power delivery.” He also took issue with the CVT faking shifts in a way that slowed him down. “It should simply peg the redline for max acceleration.”
And although the QX50 was never meant to be a drag racer, the powertrain feels poorly suited to daily driving. Specifically, it never quite feels like the transmission and engine are on the same page. Switching to Sport mode helps, but acceleration is still far from linear.
Any time I need to get going quickly, I have to wait while the computers argue over how to respond to the depressed accelerator pedal. Part of the problem may be that Sport mode is still too ecofocused, but it goes further than that. With a variable-compression engine paired to a continuously variable transmission, Infiniti might have developed a powertrain that’s just too variable.
If I were getting excellent gas mileage, there’s a chance the trade-off could be worth it. So far, that hasn’t been the case. Even though the EPA rated the QX50 at 24/30/26 mpg city/highway/combined, the fuel log shows I’ve averaged a disappointing 18.7 mpg. My final verdict is still another 10 months away, but at least for now, consider me a VCT/CVT skeptic.
“The QX50’S engine looks great on paper, but it hasn’t been nearly as impressive in the real world.” Collin Woodard
Trust us. You’ll want to hit the button for Sport mode every time you start the Infiniti QX50.