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Infiniti QX50 Test Drive

Infiniti QX50 Test Drive

Is the Infiniti QX50 luxurious enough to take on the Audi Q5 and Mercedes GLC? We set out to answer that question

The Infiniti QX50 started out life as the EX, and that name held strong until 2013 when, instead of introducing a new generation, the company change the name of the EX. The first-gen model carried on until the second-gen QX50 – the model that you see here – was launched at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show as a 2019 model. Being only a couple of years old at this point, the second-gen QX50 should be still be nice, fresh, and competitive, but is it really? We just spent a week with it to find out for ourselves. This is our story.

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2019 Infiniti QX50 - Driven

2019 Infiniti QX50 - Driven

A decidedly ordinary replacement for a quirky luxury crossover

Infiniti was early to what has become one of the industry’s hottest market segments: the compact luxury crossover. The 2008 EX35 was much more of a car than an SUV, a slightly elevated, slightly roomier version of the acclaimed G35 sports sedan. Infiniti bet big that buyers would sacrifice utility for performance — and it bet wrong. Despite beating most competitors to the market, and even after numerous upgrades over the years (including a longer wheelbase and a name change to QX50), it never made a splash. Later arrivals were able to emulate the more successful compact luxury crossovers and avoid Infiniti’s mistakes.

So not surprisingly, for its first full redesign in more than a decade, the 2019 Infiniti QX50 similarly gravitates toward the class norm. It became taller and wider, adopting more SUV-like proportions. It switched from a V6 engine and a rear-wheel-drive platform to a turbocharged four-cylinder and front-wheel-drive (still with optional all-wheel-drive). All of that mirrors such top rivals as the Acura RDX, Lexus NX, and Cadillac XT4, though a few other competitors still have rear-wheel-drive roots.

But beyond being merely typical, the QX50 is decidedly ordinary as well. It checks general boxes for the luxury crossover class without managing to dazzle. It neither fun and sporty nor vault-like in its serenity. Its infotainment isn’t cutting-edge. It has advanced engineering behind its variable-compression engine, but the real-world effect is less notable.

To be sure, calling a luxury car “ordinary” compared to its peers is no great insult. That means it’s meeting the high standards of its class, even if it doesn’t exceed them. So if you’re looking for a comfortable, quiet, respectably spacious, and generally easy-to-drive small luxury crossover, the QX50 is one of many potentially attractive choices. Prices start at $37,645 including destination change.

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2019 Infinity QX80 - Driven

2019 Infinity QX80 - Driven

A proven but aging body-on-frame recipe.

The Infiniti QX80 isn’t exactly a spring chicken. If you count the three years that it was on the market as the “QX56,” this full-size SUV has been on the market for nearly a decade. This is a rather long lifestyle for an SUV in today’s automotive climate, but the QX80 is a very niche vehicle; not in size and purpose but in terms of sales for the brand. When you look at overall sales of the XC80, the figures don’t look that great. In 2016, Chevy sold more than 103,000 Tahoes, and even Cadillac sold some 23,000 examples of the Escalade. The QX80, though? Infiniti moved just 14,085 over all of 2016, and that was an 8.3-percent increase over 2015. With that in mind, the company can’t exactly give it a short lifespan like other automakers can their full-sized, wide-selling SUVs.

That doesn’t mean the QX80 has been ignored, however. On the contrary, it was actually refreshed when Infiniti swapped its name over from QX56, and it was refreshed again in 2017. The overall appearance of the QC80 isn’t displeasing to look at, and when we were offered the chance to spend a few days and give it a good thorough test drive, we couldn’t turn down the offer. Immediately we started asking ourselves questions: Can it still hold its own in a market with much newer, more advanced vehicles? Does it’s aged chassis still deliver driving dynamics and comfortability that’s on par with other full-sized, luxury SUVs on the market today? Should someone really pay anywhere between $65,000 and upward of $90,000 for a vehicle that’s due for retirement? Well, we’ve set out to figure out just how well the QX80 has aged over the years – you just might be surprised.

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2019 Infiniti QX50 - Driven

2019 Infiniti QX50 - Driven

The Infiniti QX50 has been around since 2013 but drove straight into its second generation for the 2019 model year. The second-generation QX50 does look sportier, and it does feature better interior materials, but the real news in the VC-Turbo engine under the hood. This is Inifinities prized variable compression engine that is supposed to provide impressive performance along with superb fuel economy. And, it’s all controlled depending on input from the driver. When economy is desired, and the engine is under light load, the engine runs at high compression to cut fuel usage but, if you put your foot through the floor, compression will drop to as low as 8:1 and you’ll get fairly decent performance – almost like feelings Honda’s V-TEC kick in. We got to spend a week with a $55,000 version of the QX50 and, while we weren’t extremely impressed with it, we didn’t exactly hate it either. Check out our photo gallery and thoughts in our review below.

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2019 Infiniti QX Inspiration Concept

2019 Infiniti QX Inspiration Concept

Looks weird, packs "high-performance" drivetrain

The Infiniti QX Inspiration is a concept SUV that the premium firm unveiled at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The QX Inspiration is part of a series of Inspiration vehicles that already includes a sedan and another SUV, and it previews an upcoming crossover that will feature an all-electric drivetrain. Unlike the QX Sport Inspiration, which was based on a production SUV, the QX Inspiration boasts a unique design that will likely trickle down into upcoming crossovers. The big news here is the all-electric drivetrain. We don’t know much about it, but Infiniti promises a high-performance motor and battery combo and an intelligent AWD system. The concept also features autonomous driving technology, a new dashboard layout made of high-resolution displays, and a lounge-like cabin.

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2019 Infiniti QX Inspiration Concept - Car from the future or a far-fetched thought?

2019 Infiniti QX Inspiration Concept - Car from the future or a far-fetched thought?

Mark the date, folks - The brand’s future begins here

With the QX Inspiration, Infiniti becomes the latest company to enter the EV fray. The automaker unveiled the QX Inspiration Concept at the Detroit Auto Show which gives a peak into the brand’s new design language for EVs. Although Infiniti has not revealed any specs yet, it says the QX Inspiration, when launched, will be a high performance production SUV.

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2018 Infiniti QX50

2018 Infiniti QX50

The QX50 Concept has mutated into a pre-production prototype, but looks like it will have some common DNA

It’s no secret the QX50 hasn’t exactly lived up to the expectations that Infiniti set for it, ultimately prompting an intensive update for the 2016 model year. Come 2017, and we were staring the Infiniti QX50 concept in the face at the Detroit Auto Show. Only a couple months have passed since then, and now we’re looking at spy shots of the first prototype of the next-gen QX50 putting in work on public roads. While it’s heavily covered in camo and padding, we can still make out some styling cues, and as luck would have it, it looks like it will get at least some of the design DNA we saw in the QX50 concept. Of course, it won’t have those cool electronic door poppers and the overall styling will be toned down a bit, but it should be a huge departure from the current model and could very well give the SUV a chance at survival in an overcrowded market.

Now, before we go too far into it, the new QX50 will be based on a couple of different models. See, the next-gen QX50 is based on the QX50 Concept, which happens to be based on the QX Sport Inspiration Concept that was showcased at the 2016 Beijing Auto Show. So, as you can see, the next-gen QX50 will have some pretty significant DNA heritage when it finally disrobes. There’s no official timetable, so we can’t say for sure when it will make its official debut, but the Frankfurt Auto Show in September isn’t out of the question, with customer deliveries kicking off sometime in the first half of 2018. So, with that said, let’s dive on in and see what we can spot through all over the camo on this prototype.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 Infiniti QX50.

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2017 Infiniti QX50 Concept

2017 Infiniti QX50 Concept

Previews the next-gen SUV and the world’s first production engine with variable compression ratio

Introduced back in 2007 as the company’s first compact crossover, the QX50 was known as the EX up until 2013. The renamed vehicle went on sale in the U.S. as a 2014 model and, for 2016, it received a new facelift and enhanced rear seat legroom. Although praised for its roomy interior and rich standard equipment list, the QX50 is often criticized for being nearly as expensive as its BMW and Mercedes-Benz competitors and for its somewhat dated exterior design. The latter will change starting 2017, when Infiniti is set to introduce the second-generation model.

But before the production model hits the streets, Infiniti introduced the QX50 concept.

Showcased at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show, the QX50 concept is heavily based on the QX Sport Inspiration that the Japanese company launched in 2016. It features Infiniti’s recent styling language, but it’s enhanced by a range of new design elements that have yet to debut on other models. On top of the restyled body work, the new QX50 will also bring new technology to the market, including the brand’s first semi-autonomous drive system, as well as a new turbocharged 2.0-liter engine with variable compression ratio. The later is a first for the automotive industry.

"With the unveiling of the QX Sport Inspiration at the 2016 Beijing Auto Show, we showed the future of Infiniti QX models. The new QX50 Concept evolves this concept further and shows how Infiniti could develop its future presence in the fastest-growing vehicle segment globally," said Roland Krueger, President of Infiniti.

There’s no word as to when the actual production model will make its global debut, but until that happens, let’s have a closer look at the production-ready concept.

Continue reading to learn more about the Infiniti QX50 Concept.

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Infiniti QX50 Concept's Internal Combustion Engine Will Beat Up Your Hybrid

Infiniti QX50 Concept’s Internal Combustion Engine Will Beat Up Your Hybrid

New concept gets all kinds of goodies slated for production

Last year, at the Beijing Auto Show, Infiniti dropped cover on the QX Sport Inspiration, a mid-size crossover concept that presented a glimpse at the brand’s forthcoming SUV offerings. Now, the premium Japanese automaker has given us a successor, and it’s equal parts closer-to-dealerships and wilder-to-behold than what came before. It’s called the QX50 Concept, and it not only offers us a look at Infiniti’s new styling direction, but also its new cabin design, autonomous vehicle ambitions, and most interestingly, a production-ready variable compression internal-combustion engine.

That’s quite an ambitious lineup of features, especially for a model slated to reach customers sometime in the next few years. Nevertheless, Infiniti seems confident it’ll bring something close to the QX50 Concept to production very soon, dropping innumerable hints about its intentions in the attached press release. But really, that makes sense when you consider the segment. Infiniti quickly points out that the mid-size premium crossover segment is the fastest-growing automotive segment in the world right now, so a forward-looking exterior design, upscale cabin, autonomous features, and groundbreaking engine are all necessary elements to make any serious impact.

Let’s start with the exterior, where we find the latest evolution of Infiniti’s “Powerful Elegance” design language. This features characteristics like cabin-forward proportions, with a clamshell hood and lots of straight character lines. These traits give the car a sleek, elegant look, with the prominent shoulder line starting behind the swept-back, ultra-thin headlights, and reaching back into the rear hatch. Between the headlights is a “double-arch” grille, now an Infiniti staple, with a diamond-pattern insert and prominent chrome surround.

Moving inside, we find lots of space, both for passengers and for practicality’s sake. Infiniti is adamant that it wants to upend the status quo for luxury interiors, and as such, it will apply a variety of Japanese craftsmanship philosophies to its creation. Materials used will be wood and leather, which isn’t out of the ordinary, but it’s the way these materials are applied that will be unique. For example, Infiniti used three different kinds of leather in the three-tone color scheme, and the wood trim is an open-pore ash that maintains its original grain for “enhanced tactility” as compared to standard glossy wood trim.

But it’s the new Variable Compression Turbo engine, or VC-Turbo, that really got our attention. Infiniti has been hinting at this thing for a while now, and it’s exciting to see where the brand is considering its application.

Sound enticing? Read on for the details, plus more info on the exterior design, interior outfit, and Infiniti’s autonomous plans.

Continue reading to learn more about the Infiniti QX50 Concept.

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Infiniti QX Sport Inspiration Concept Shows Off Restyled Design

Infiniti QX Sport Inspiration Concept Shows Off Restyled Design

Larger wheels and new paint give it a more aggressive stance

Infiniti’s presence at the 2016 Paris Motor Show was highlighted by its new VC-Turbo, the first production-ready variable compression engine, but the luxury brand also brought the QX Sport Inspiration with it. Revealed for the first time at the 2016 Beijing Auto Show, the SUV made its European debut in Paris, but arrived in France with a mildly restyled exterior and extra features inside the cabin.

In case you’re wondering what’s with the changes all of a sudden, Infiniti says that they add to the vehicles confident look. And besides, it’s not the first time that the Japanese brand updates its concept cars for new auto shows.

So what’s new for Paris? Well, the first things that catch the eye are the larger, 22-inch wheels. The new rims feature the same intricate design as the first concept, but they are now finished in a bronze hue. The second big change on the outsite is the matt grey, which replaces the silver seen on the first show car. The larger wheels give the concept a more powerful stance, while the dark grey color provides an interesting contrast with the bronze wheels and the chrome trim.

Infiniti also meddled with the interior, adding kick plate lighting at the base of every door and brown leather inserts for the black and white upholstery. Other than that, the QX Sport Inspiration Concept remains identical to the Beijing model and will inspire the next generation of Infiniti QX SUVs and crossovers.

Continue reading for the full story.

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2017 Infiniti QX30

2017 Infiniti QX30

The brand’s first foray into the compact market

We’ve had an idea of what the Infiniti QX30 would be for a while now. Not only did Infiniti bring a concept that was clearly very close to production ready to the Geneva Motor Show back in March, but Infiniti has also already shown us the Q30 hatchback, which is basically the same vehicle. Not only that, but both the Q and QX versions are built on the Mercedes-Benz platform that underpins the A-Class in hatchback form and the GLA-Class in crossover form. But, this is more than a simple rebadging, the QX30 will be built in a Nissan factory and many of the parts and all of the software will be Infiniti.

So there are some surprises still to be had with the QX30, especially since it won’t actually hit dealerships until 2017. But, Infiniti is giving us a good look at the new crossover at the L.A. Auto Show, and to be sure that everyone gets a good look, it is also being shown at the Guangzhou Auto Show in China at the same time. The U.S. and China are likely to be the biggest markets for the QX30, so this debut makes perfect sense.

Update 08-02-2016: Infiniti announced U.S. pricing for the QX30, and the base model is cheaper than the Mercedes-Benz GLA it is based on. Check out the pricing section for more details.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Infiniti QX30.

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2016 Infiniti QX Sport Inspiration Concept

2016 Infiniti QX Sport Inspiration Concept

Infiniti has debuted is newest concept at the Bejing Auto Show

Infiniti has been busy preparing something new for the Beijing Auto Show, and today it finally released a teaser image of its upcoming concept. With the Beijing auto show set to kick off on April 29th, Infiniti has released a new teaser image of its soon-to-be-revealed SUV concept. Like most teaser images, it only gives us a quick glimpse into the future, but that glimpse is certainly enough to catch out attention.

Infiniti’s Executive Design Direction – Alfonso Albaisa – said, “The QX Sport Inspiration expresses a power and purpose that is uniquely Infiniti. With a flowing, natural aesthetic, this concept demonstrates how Infiniti can offer something new and exciting with future QX SUV models.”

A quick glance at the teaser image makes us think about the Q60 Concept that we saw last year in Detroit, and is said to be inspired by Infiniti’s “Powerful Elegance” design language. In a sense, the concept serves as a means of exploration for Infiniti’s next-generation, mid-size SUV. Of course, the teaser image leaves us with more questions than it does answers, but let’s take a closer look at the teaser image anyway, and see what we can make out.

Updated 04/25/2016: Infiniti dropped the official details on the QX Sport Inspiration Concept at the 2016 Beijing Auto Show.

Continue reading to learn more about the Infiniti QX Sport Inspiration Concept.

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