2019 In­finiti QX50

Motor Trend - - Long-term Test -

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.

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