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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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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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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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2016 Infiniti QX60

2016 Infiniti QX60

A fresh look for Infiniti’s people hauler

Infiniti has announced a mid-cycle refresh for the QX60 ahead of its formal debut at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The changes are relatively minor, but help improve passenger comfort, as well as adding levels of customization.

The QX60 has been around since 2013, but confusingly made its debut as the JX35 in 2012. The name change came courtesy of Infiniti’s rebranding efforts to streamline its model designations. The three-row, seven-passenger crossover shares its bones with the Nissan Pathfinder – something that hasn’t changed for the 2016 model year. The familiar 3.5-liter V-6, CVT transmission, and optional hybrid drivetrain carry over unchanged.

Infiniti says the 2016 updates will help push the QX60 as a global sales leader for the brand. The QX60 posted a respectable 24-percent growth in year-over-year sales between 2014 and 2015, and Infiniti expects that trend to continue.

“The new QX60 will become an important part of Infiniti’s global growth strategy as the global premium crossover market continues to grow,” says Francois Bancon, Infiniti’s Vice President Product Strategy. “The new model builds on the characteristics that have made QX60 an increasingly popular choice with premium buyers, offering enhanced design, driving dynamics and best-in-class levels of interior comfort and convenience.”

Infiniti will continue to offer the QX60 in both front- and all-wheel drive configurations, as well as V-6 and hybrid drivetrains. AWD continues as an option on hybrid models, as well. Follow along as we detail out the changes for the 2016 model year.

Updated 02/24/2016: Infiniti announced prices for the 2016 QX60 which will be put on sale later in the spring. For the 2016 model year, the QX60 will be offered in four models – QX60, QX60 AWD, QX60 Hybrid and QX60 Hybrid AWD, and will come with a price increase of only $200 over the 2015 model year.

Continue reading to learn more about the Infiniti QX60.

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2016 Infiniti QX50

2016 Infiniti QX50

Debuting at the 2015 New York Auto Show, Infiniti has applied an extensive refresh to the QX50 in the hopes of jumpstarting the SUV after it struggled to sell well in the highly competitive luxury crossover segment. A facelift, longer wheelbase, extra interior room and a few new gadgets all make the list of updates.

The Infiniti EX/QX50 was first introduced in 2008 as the funky-looking EX35 crossover SUV. In 2011, the model underwent its first name change to simply EX. For the 2014 model year, Johan de Nysschen — now the lead man at Cadillac, but at the time heading up Infiniti – decided to shake things up by renaming the entire lineup, resulting in the EX becoming the QX50 without any significant changes to the vehicle. Finally, two years after its latest rename, the QX50/EX/EX35 is getting its first overhaul for the 2016 model year.

The new QX50 will be offered as either a RWD or AWD model and comes with four available option packages. But will it be enough to inject some new life into the SUV?

Updated 09/18/2015: Infiniti announced prices for the new, 2016 QX50 which goes on sale in this month at Infiniti retailers nationwide. The new luxury crossover will be priced from $34,450 for the RWD version and $35,850 for the AWD version.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Infiniti QX50.

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2016 Infiniti QX70 Ultimate

2016 Infiniti QX70 Ultimate

Infiniti
is set to launch the Q30 at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show, but the Mercedes-powered luxury hatchback isn’t the only vehicle Infiniti will showcase in Germany. Though it’s a bit long in the tooth for an auto show introduction, the current QX70 (launched in 2009 as the FX and renamed in 2013) is getting a new trim: the Ultimate.

With several special features added inside and out, Infiniti hopes the QX70 Ultimate will help keep sales of the SUV steady until a third-generation model arrives. Unfortunately, the Ultimate will only be offered in Europe and Russia, meaning U.S. customers will have to settle for the other trims until Infiniti does something about it.

"The QX70 has long struck a chord with buyers seeking something exceptional, but the Infiniti QX70 Ultimate is designed to respond to the most exclusive needs and desires of buyers," François Goupil de Bouillé, vice president of Infiniti Europe, Middle East and Africa, said about the new trim.

Keep reading to find out more about this SUV and stay tuned for more photos from the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show next week.

Continue reading to learn more about the Infiniti QX70 Ultimate.

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2015 Infiniti QX30 Concept

2015 Infiniti QX30 Concept

We’ve already seen the 2013 Infiniti Q30 Concept, and we’ve caught the production 2016 Q30 out testing, so it was only a matter of time before we saw a crossover version. That time is now, as Infiniti introduces the QX30 Concept at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show.

As with so many of these part-SUV, part-hatchback models, the QX30 borrows heavily from the hatchback it is based upon. That’s not a bad thing either, as the Q30 Concept was pretty well-received, and I find it a nice interpretation of Infiniti styling.

With the likes of the Mercedes GLA already occupying this segment and the BMW X1 set to convert to a front-wheel-drive-based crossover in 2016, can the QX30 really make waves when it makes it to production?

Updated 03/02/2015: With just a few hours before its debut in Geneva, Infiniti dropped the official details, images, specs and video on the new QX30 Concept.

Continue reading for my review on the 2015 Infiniti QX30 Concept.

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