Don’t get me started on car names. Letters, numbers, then they change up those letters and numbers and it all gets so bewildering. I’ve ranted on this before. It’s right up there with my hatred of continuously variable transmissions. So why am I up on a soap box (again)? This week’s tester is the 2017 Infiniti QX50, which used to be known as the EX35. Let’s move on from the name and focus on this crossover.
Nissan’s luxury brand is always solid. It rarely disappoints and can outdo its rivals Lexus and Acura in many regards. So, the QX50, despite its name, lives up to these lofty expectations, even though very little has changed from last year to this year. This week I rejoiced in this crossover’s too-cool-for-others persona.
You can argue the QX50 is in need of a facelift and you wouldn’t be wrong. It’s getting a little long in the tooth, but yet manages to maintain distinctive looks. The longer hood goes against the current trend in this segment, which calls for a stubbier, bubblier front end. Rather, the QX50 is more of a throwback. It is more station wagon-looking than modern-day crossover. In my book, that’s a good thing. The bulbous back end yields to modern mass appeal and for sure that is the QX50’s most stylized side. The back end screams modern luxury SUV. 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels give the QX50 a proud stance, despite its sedan-like looks.
Also, somewhat behind in the updates is the QX50’s engine. Although this is certainly a good thing, if you like power. The trend in this segment is to go with smaller 4-cylinder engines. The QX50 has a strong 3.7-liter V6 engine. It makes 325 horsepower which makes it incredibly peppy and fun to drive. The entire small crossover segment is dominated by similar designs and blasé looks, the QX50 is having no part of that. Mated with a nice 7-speed automatic transmission, the QX50 is a performance-oriented crossover. My tester had all-wheel drive and the sedan-like profile offers tremendous handling.
Inside, the QX50 is certainly not just a glorified Nissan Murano. The Murano, an excellent vehicle in its own right, doesn’t have the luxurious cabin and high-quality materials that the QX50 has. It is, after all, a luxury vehicle. And it earns that with soft touch points, leather seats and wood trim. A panoramic sunroof adds the open feeling of the QX50. Ambient lighting makes it feel special too. An old-school analog clock is typical for the luxury segment, but does add to the luxurious vibe.
Cargo room is an issue for this crossover. With the second row, upright there’s only 18.6 cubic feet of space, which is about what many sedans have. For a crossover, this is a small amount. Even with the second row folded flat, there’s only 50.1 cubic feet of space which is smaller than its competitors like BMW and Audi.
The five-passenger QX50 has only one trim. The base price is low, when compared to other luxury crossovers. The base price is $36,250. But some of the best features like the advanced sound system, advanced infotainment system (and bigger touchscreen), blind spot monitoring and power-folding rear seats all come as premium add ons. All told, my tester’s final MSRP was $45,535, which is still comparable to the competition.
Fuel economy is sub-par for a smallish crossover. It has an EPA rating of 17 mpg/city and 24 mpg/highway. The fuel economy is the same as either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive (so why not opt for the AWD). In a week’s worth of suburban driving I averaged 20.5 mpg.
I like the styling of the Nissan product line, generally. And their luxury brand Infiniti really impresses with their looks and design. Their design is so good that it can last several years and remain relevant. That’s most evident with the QX50, which, despite being on the same design generation for several years, remains current and attractive. In fact, this luxury crossover seems to thumb its nose at some of the competitors out there. It’s a timeless luxury crossover that continues to be confident and do its own thing.
2017 Infiniti QX50
Price/As tested price…………………….. $36,250/$45,535
Mileage…………………………………… 17 mpg/city; 24 mpg/hwy
Engine……………………………………… 3.7-liter 6-cylinder
Horsepower…………………………… 325 hp/267 lbs./ft.
Transmission…………………………… 7-speed automatic
Drive Wheels………………….. All-wheel drive
Final Assembly Point…………………… Franklin, Tennessee