2021 Infiniti QX50 Test Drive - story fullscreen Fullscreen

2021 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

LISTEN 10:18

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.

Infiniti QX50 Powertrain & Performance

2021 Infiniti QX50 Test Drive Interior High Resolution
- image 1003620

The Infiniti QX50 (and the EX that it was pre-2013) was angled more toward dynamic handling rather than outright functionality and performance. When Infiniti launched the second-gen model for 2019, a lot of that changed thanks to softer handling on-road and a new and more efficient four-cylinder with variable compression technology. That engine has a lot of potential, but it is sadly held back by the annoying CVT that offers up inconsistent response to throttle input.

How Much Power Does the Infiniti QX50 Have?

2021 Infiniti QX50 Test Drive Exterior High Resolution
- image 1003639
It wasn’t a horrible experience, but the QX50 deserves better and an old-fashioned automatic or a DCT would drastically improve the driving experience

The Infiniti QX50 comes with a turbocharged, 2.0-liter, inline-four that’s good for 268 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque.

These figures hold true across the range of trims levels, so if you’re looking at a higher-trim QX50, you may want to look toward the competition. Our tester was the Sensory trim, which comes in at $52,100 – not exactly a bargain for a compact crossover.

For a few hundred bucks more, you could go with the Audi Q5 Premium Plus which has 362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque.

On the other end of the spectrum, you could stop by Mercedes and roll out with the GLC300 with 255 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque.

How Efficient is the Infiniti QX50?

2021 Infiniti QX50 Test Drive Exterior High Resolution
- image 1003619
Our tester was the Sensory AWD, and it had an MSRP of $52,100

The Infiniti QX50 is as average as average can get for the compact luxury crossover segment with an economy rating of 22 mpg in the city, 28 mpg on the highway, and 25 mpg combined. If you don’t realize how average that is, the Audi Q5 delivers 22 mpg in the city, 28 mpg on the highway, and 24 mpg combined while the GLC300 4Matic offers 21 mpg in the city, 28 mpg on the highway, and 23 mpg combined. See, like I said: Average.

How Is the Infiniti QX50’s Transmission?

2021 Infiniti QX50 Test Drive Interior High Resolution
- image 1003597

The Infiniti QX50’s constantly variable transmission is by far its weakest point, which isn’t surprising since CVTs from just about any automaker are painting in the same light. During our time with the QX50, we found the transmission to be eager to respond but responds inconsistently at best. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it’s horrible to live with and, as a daily driver, it’s not all that bad, but it does take a little getting used to – especially if you’re transitioning from a normal automatic or, even worse, a manual transmission. In short, Infiniti would have done itself justice by going with a real automatic, but you will probably be able to live with the CVT once you get used to it.

How Much Can the Infiniti QX50 Tow?

2021 Infiniti QX50 Test Drive Exterior High Resolution
- image 1003621
Pricing for the QX50 starts out at $38,050 and climbs to as much as $56,950.

With a CVT transmission, you wouldn’t expect the QX50 to be able to tow much, but believe it or not, it can haul as much as 3,000 pounds. That puts it ahead of the Q5, which can pull 2,000 pounds but behind the GLC300 4Matic, which can pull 3,500 pounds.

Infiniti QX50 Interior Design

2021 Infiniti QX50 Test Drive Interior High Resolution
- image 1003604
And the wraparound nature of the cabin evokes a sense of extra space

The second-gen QX50 is just a bit shorter overall, but it’s wider and taller, which ultimately computes to a larger cabin. There’s more legroom than before, the rear seats can even recline and slide to accommodate passengers or create more cargo room without making the rear seats unusable. The front of the cabin is, obviously, the highlight with the sleek wraparound design that allows the dash to blend in effortlessly with the doors. The overall design of the dash, center console, and door panels also give the feeling of individual pods for front seaters. The ample soft-touch materials are a nice touch, and the dual-screen infotainment system, while feeling a bit dated as of 2021, is actually quite awesome for what it is. It’s actually nice that you don’t have to reach to the top of the dash to access the infotainment system if you don’t want to.

How Much Interior Space Does the Infiniti QX50 Have?

2021 Infiniti QX50 Test Drive Interior High Resolution
- image 1003614

For a compact crossover, the QX50 is quite spacious, betting out the QC and GLC in both front headroom and front shoulder room. It falls about 1.5 inches short on front legroom to the competition, and all other categories in the rear, with the exception of rear shoulder room where the QX50 outshines the Q5 but falls 0.2-inches short compared to the GLC. Check out how it stacks up in detail in the table below

QX50 vs Q5 vs GLC Interior Dimensions
Infiniti QX50 Sensory Audi Q5 Premium Plus Mercedes GLC 300 4Matic
Front Headroom (inches) 40 39.6 37.8
Front Shoulder Room (inches) 57.9 57.7 57.3
Front Hip Room (inches) 55.6 TBA TBA
Front Leg Room (inches) 39.6 40.9 40.8
Rear Headroom (inches) 38.4 39.3 38.5
Rear Shoulder Room (inches) 57.1 56.5 57.3
Rear Hip Room (inches) 53.8 TBA TBA
Rear Leg Room (inches) 38.7 40.9 40.8

How Much Cargo Room Does the Infiniti QX50 Have?

2021 Infiniti QX50 Test Drive Interior High Resolution
- image 1003622
If you lay the rear seats down, you get as much as 64.4 cubic-feet, a figure that bests all of the competition

The Infiniti QX50 can carry as much as 31.1 cubic-feet of cargo room behind the rear seats, which can be expanded to as much as 64.4 cubic-feet if you lay the rear seats down. This is actually a very important aspect of what makes the QX50 shine in its own segment because it beats the competition hands down, no questions asked. The Q5, for example offers up between 25.8 cubic-feet and 54.0 cubic-feet while the Mercedes GLC is good for between 19.4 and 56.5 cubic-feet.

How Is the Infiniti QX50’s Infotainment System

2021 Infiniti QX50 Test Drive Interior High Resolution
- image 1003628

The Infiniti QX50’s infotainment system feels a bit aged despite being only a couple of years old as of 2021, however, you’ll enjoy how quick the lower touch screen responds. We weren’t too fond of the mismatched graphics between the upper and lower infotainment displays, however, the system itself and the division between the OS is very nice once you get used to it. It should also be noted that the menu structure could use an update – a lot of the icons look so similar that it can throw you off if you happen to land there while on the road, but overall, it’s snappy and easy to get used to.

The downside is that the QX50 doesn’t support Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, and the QX50 suffers from the usual situation that requires multiple attempts to pair your phone, and to set up your phone as an audio source, it takes a couple more steps.

It’s not horrible, of course, but it’s not as simplistic or streamlined as vehicles that have an Apple and Android connectivity built-in.

Infiniti QX50 Exterior Design

2021 Infiniti QX50 Test Drive Exterior High Resolution
- image 1003636
The engine feels responsive, but it’s held back by one crucial thing: The CVT Transmission

The exterior design of the QX50 is pretty attractive, although Infiniti’s design language does still feel a bit dated with the whole idea of rectangular grilles being passed over for different designs. We specifically appreciate how muscular and sleek the hood lines are and how the side profile is sporty yet toned down. The rear end, on the other hand, screams Infiniti through and through, yet retains a bit of a sporty appearance things to the dramatic rear glass overhang and the contrasting rear fascia insert.

2021 Infiniti QX50 Test Drive Exterior High Resolution
- image 1003637
Power output is decent at 268 HP and 280 LB-FT of torque

How Big Is The Infiniti QX50?

2021 Infiniti QX50 Test Drive Exterior High Resolution
- image 1003633
On that note, fuel economy is as average as average gets at 22 mpg city, 28 mpg hwy, and 25 mpg combined

The Infiniti QX50 isn’t a huge vehicle by any means, and while it feels plenty spacious on the inside, you won’t have any issues parking in tight spots.

All in all, the QX50 measures 184.7-inches long, 85.1-inches wide, and 66-inches tall. It rides on a rather short 110.2-inch wheelbase.

Here’s the real kicker – the QX50 is short than both the Q5 and GLC, but it’s wider and taller, which leads to the impressive interior dimensions. The front and rear tracks are also wider at 64.4 in the front and 64.2 in the rear, which also outshines the Q5 and GLC. Check out the full exterior dimensions in the table below.

QX50 vs Q5 vs GLC Exterior Dimensions
Infiniti QX50 Sensory Audi Q5 Premium Plus Mercedes GLC 300 4Matic
Length (inches) 184.7 184.3 183.3
Width (inches) 85.1 84.2 82.5
Height (inches) 66 65.3 64.7
Wheelbase (inches) 110.2 111 113.1
Front Track (inches) 64.4 63.6 63.5
Rear Track (inches) 64.2 63.3 63.2

Infiniti QX50 Pricing

2021 Infiniti QX50 Test Drive Exterior High Resolution
- image 1003641

The Infiniti QX50 is available in five trim levels, all of which can be equipped with AWD.

Pricing starts out at $38,050 and goes as high as $56,950 for the range-topping QX50 Autograph AWD.

In comparison, the Audi Q5 starts out at $48,290 and climbs to as high as $57,095 while the Mercedes GLC ranges from $43,200 to as much as $73,900. It should be noted that the Q5 starts out more expensive, but once you move up in trim offerings, it runs pretty even with the QX50. As for the GLC, you have to go with either the GLC300 or one of the pricier AMG models.

2WD AWD
QX50 Pure $38,050 $40,050
QX50 Luxe $41,600 $43,600 QX50 Essential $44.800 $46,800 QX50 Sensory $50,100 $52,100 QX50 Autograph $54,300 $56,950

Final Thoughts

2021 Infiniti QX50 Test Drive Exterior High Resolution
- image 1003635
While driving, we found that the CVT almost seemed confused at times and lacked speed response

In the end, the QX50 wasn’t exactly fun to drive, but it wasn’t boring either. It felt more than comfortable for both longer trips and daily commutes, while we really have to give Infiniti credit for the awesome fit and finish of materials inside the cabin. We especially liked the sliding rear seats and how easy ingress and egress really is. The infotainment system looks a little dated by operates in a very modern way and the two-screen layout is still very cool in our book. The engine felt like it had enough power, but it genuinely felt like it was being held back by the CVT. If we had to give one suggestion, we’d urge Infiniti to throw away anything related to that CVT and give the car a true automatic or, at the very least, a DCT – it would greatly improve the experience of driving the QX50.

Philippe Daix
Philippe Daix
Obsessive and Compulsive Automotive Expert - phil@topspeed.com
Always on the lookout for the latest automotive news, Philippe Daix is our most senior editor and founder of TopSpeed.com. He likes to see himself as a consumer advocate with a mission to educate motorheads of all ages.  Read full bio
About the author

Related Articles

2021 Audi Q5 Sportback

2021 The 2020 Mercedes GLC Has Been Subtly Updated with the Brand’s Latest Style and Technology

What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: