A Welcome Update
By Ron Amadon
DAMASCUS, MD. – While checking the specs on Infiniti’s smooth riding QX50 I snickered when I found that it has All-Wheel Drive with “Snow Mode.”
Why this stands out is that the National Weather Service said we are entering into a prolonged period of perhaps record setting heat and humidity that will feel like 100 to 105 degrees. Actual air temperatures will be well into the 90’s.
Why this is relevant is that six months ago to the day, those same forecasters were telling us to prepare for a major blizzard. They were right. It dumped more than 30 inches of the white stuff on the road test driveway.
While very few vehicles will take you through just shy of three feet of snow, the QX50 will make that summer vacation trip to the lake, ocean, or your new best friend’s swimming pool a very relaxed experience.
Even more so for those riding in the second row. Infiniti extended the wheelbase of the QX by three inches, and that was enough to add a welcome 4 inches to rear seat knee and legroom.
Propulsion came from a 3.7-liter V6 with 325hp @ 7,000 rpm and 267 lb-ft of torque @ 5,200 rpm matched to a 7 speed automatic with manual shift mode and Downshift Rev Matching. They worked in harmony not seen at many political conventions. Premium gas is recommended with an EPA estimate of 20 mpg overall, just 17 in the city and 24 on the highway.
Interstate merging was a breeze and the six quiets down nicely once cruising speed has been achieved and you should reach a mile-a-minute in less than six seconds. Then it is time to enjoy the long list of features on this crossover.
Like an 8-way adjustable powered driver’s seat with 2-way powered lumbar support that was very welcome on longer drives. This feature should be on more vehicles.
Sounds you say? Great ones came from the Bose 11-speaker audio system that will still play your CD’s, DVD’s, and has MP3 playback capability.
Parking in tight quarters was made easier by the Around View Monitor with front and rear Sonar Systems. Sales to Navy officers should boom.
There was a long list of standard equipment, columns of them in fact, along with $8,090 worth of options. That included the expected safety equipment in a Technology Package while a Deluxe Touring Package brought forth, among other items, 19-inch wheels up from 18, automatic leveling headlights, power up-folding second row seats and even a coat hanger back of the driver’s seat head rest.
Maple wood accents added a touch of luxury to the interior, but some passengers did not believe that was actual wood. Fit and finish were in line with the QX’s price. XM Navi with traffic and weather information appeared on a smallish 7-inch touch screen.
While there was little feedback through the leather wrapped steering wheel, suspension settings come out on the sporty side of the ledger, no small thing in a vehicle with a hefty curb weight of 4,020. Road imperfections were nicely handled and only gully wompers were noticeable inside.
Size wise, at 188 inches long, the Infiniti is two inches longer than the new Jaguar F-Pace, and four inches longer than the Porsche Mcan.
With shipping added on, the QX carried an MSRP of $44,935.
I applaud Infiniti for doing such a great job updating what in base form is an older design. Exterior design wise it fits into kind of a funky market where observers will have a hard time categorizing it as either a crossover, a smaller Sport Utility or almost a (here’s that nasty term again) wagon!
The point is that in a world where many crossovers and utes look a lot alike, the QX stands out a something different. And in a nice way.