The 2019 Automobile All-Stars winners will be revealed on Saturday, March 9 at 11:00 am Eastern, but first we’re introducing—in no particular order—a few of the contenders each day this week. Head here for an All-Stars preview, and be sure to check back all week to see the contenders as they’re announced!
You might not realize it, but the new 2019 Infiniti QX50 is arguably the most significant Infiniti since the Q45 sedan launched the marque back in 1989. Why? Because Infiniti chose the latest model of its midsize crossover as the launch vehicle for Nissan’s innovative VC-Turbo powerplant, the first-ever commercially available variable-compression engine.
As expected, the QX50’s 2.0-liter four was a big talking point among the judges. Although it isn’t billed as a performance-themed crossover, on our drive route’s winding and sometimes wet roads, the 268-horse engine served up ample power, and the chassis felt poised through the twistier parts of our path.
“Very good power from the VC engine,” contributor Marc Noordeloos said. “It’s quite fast. The engine sounds quite nice when revved.” Editor-in-chief Mike Floyd agreed: “The power delivery feels a bit odd and surge-prone out of the gate, probably thanks to the CVT, but it moves out surprisingly well overall. It was also more than capable out on the road loop. Maybe a bit stiff at times, but I’d rather have that than the alternative.”
As for its exterior appeal, most judges found the QX50 to be Infiniti’s sharpest design to date, though Noordeloos described the front end as too shiny for his taste. “It’s possibly Infiniti’s best-looking model, but the front end is still a bit much, especially with all that exterior chrome,” he noted.
Inside, the QX50’s interior is a colorful, contrasting mishmash of premium materials, and our loaner’s strange palette had an equal serving of fans and detractors. “The more you drive the QX50, the likelier you are to like it, which says a lot given its pieced-together interior features,” contributor Basem Wasef said. “At least the insides are bold (in a good way), with novel textures and surface treatments that show Infiniti’s interest in keeping things fresh.” Features editor Rory Jurnecka was less convinced. “The interior is about five different colors and materials—horrible.”
In the end, it takes more than a good engine and sharp design to earn one of our finalist spots, but the QX50 represents a solid future for Infiniti.
2019 Infiniti QX50 Essential AWD Specifications
|PRICE||$46,145/$59,585 (base/as tested)|
|ENGINE||2.0L turbo 16-valve DOHC I-4; 268 hp @ 5,600 rpm, 280 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm|
|LAYOUT||4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, AWD SUV|
|EPA MILEAGE||24/30 mpg (city/hwy)|
|L x W x H||184.7 x 74.9 x 66.0 in|
|0–60 MPH||7.0 sec (est)|