THE RIDE: Four-door, five-passenger 2019 Infiniti QX50 Essential AWD SUV.
DOWN THE ROAD: This one’s all new; well, almost. Out go the previous V-6 versions to be replaced by a 2.0-liter variable-compression turbo engine. It is as powerful—or even more so—as the agile SUV quickly takes to the road, boasting a first-rate ride and laudable handling.
TECH & PERFORMANCE: Under the hood of the midsize luxury SUV is a four-cylinder powertrain that cranks out 268 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 280 pounds-feet of torque at 4,800 rpm. We liked the slick and seamless continuous variable transmission, which also can be shifted manually. An all-new MacPherson strut front and a rear multi-link suspension ensure stability at sharp turns, corner and bumps on the road. The variable-assist, direct adaptive steering conveys an unswerving feel. Braking duties are handled exceptionally well by a 13-inch vented front and 12.1-inch rear discs. Four drive modes are offered: standard, eco, sport and personal.
LOOK & FEEL: Based on a steel unibody structure, QX50 is one sharp-looking vehicle that is shorter but wider and taller than its predecessor. It all starts at the long clamshell hood that meets up with a double-arch black-metallic grille surrounded by horizontal LED headlights and fog lamps. The aluminum roof rails are standard, as are the chrome dual exhaust tips and rear tail lamps that connect to the chrome strip. The cabin is awash with luxury and comfort features such as aluminum accents on the center console, dashboard, doors, push-button ignition, 60/40-split rear seat, eight-way power front seats, tri-zone auto a/c, eight-inch upper touch screen for navigation and a seven-inch lower screen for climate, audio and phone controls. InTouch, a rotary knob in the center console, controls the dual screens. The familiar Infiniti double-wave instrument panel lights up with electroluminescent gauges. A mix of leather and aluminum on the short but easy-to-grip shifter knob gives a classy touch. As for roominess, there is plenty with a total interior volume of 135.8 cubic feet, and 64.4 cubic feet with the rear seat down. There also is a large, hidden, underfloor bin.
SAFETY FIRST: Dual front, side and knee airbags, side curtain airbags for both rows, four-wheel antilock brakes with electronic brake distribution and brake assist, vehicle dynamic and traction controls, anti-skid system, front/rear crumple zones, front seat active-head restraints, blind spot warning and tire pressure monitoring system are standard. Looking into the future of autonomous transport, the optional ProPilot Assist helps drivers to maintain their lane and set vehicle speed and distance to a car ahead.
OUT THE DOOR: $45,150, plus tax, tag, delivery and destination charges. With options, ours peaked up to $59,585.
BY THE NUMBERS: Tires, 225/45R20; wheelbase, 110.2 inches; length, 184.7 inches; height, 66 inches; width, 74.9 inches; fuel capacity, 16 gallons; city, 24 mpg; highway, 30 mpg; weight, 3,857 pounds; website: www.nissanusa.com.
WHY DIG IT: If you are looking for a car-like ride that offers luxury, convenience and utilitarian features, then the QX50 should fit the bill. Kudos goes to Infiniti for overhauling this fine crossover into an even more appealing buy.
For more information or to test drive the Infiniti, visit Infiniti of Tampa at 4600 N Dale Mabry Hwy. in Tampa. Visit www.infinitioftampa.com.