2016 Infiniti QX50 Quick Take
Introduced at the New York Auto Show last spring, the 2016 Infiniti QX50 has received a significant update with styling that brings it in line with other models in the range as well as a welcome increase in wheelbase which translates to more comfortable rear seating. The bolder looks of the QX50 are the result of a new front end that has a more prominent grille with a mesh insert flanked by new headlamp clusters with LED running lights.
The Infiniti QX50 evolved from the EX35, which arguably created the compact luxury SUV segment. The significance here is that this vehicle has a longitudinal mount to its engine and in 2-wheel drive, sends power to the rear axle as opposed to the more common transverse front-drive layout in most others. The result is a sport utility that’s more sport than utility, although as mentioned earlier, the 3.2-inch increase in wheelbase and 4.5-inch bump in overall length, certainly adds to the latter.
Plenty of power
The 2016 Infiniti QX50 benefits from an abundance of power from its 3.7-liter V6 engine which produces 325 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque. The V6 is mated to a 7-speed automatic transmission and in our rear-drive version, provided great acceleration. The sporty personality of the QX50 is complemented by quick, sure steering, but the taut suspension, which provides predictable handling, feels a bit stiff in everyday driving. On a freeway run up to Los Angeles, the QX50 exhibited some hop and passenger head toss -- it could benefit from a softer comfort mode.
Still, the makeover gives the QX50 a more substantial look not only on the exterior, but inside as well. The plush seats are comfortable, there’s plenty of leather and soft touch materials. The controls are logically laid out with easy to use knobs and switches. The nav/infotainment screen is positioned atop the center stack and the buttons controlling the unit take a little time to master since they are also on a horizontal surface just below the screen and are a bit of a reach. The large knob, however, makes zooming in and out of the map easy.
For those looking for a handsome crossover with compact size and good performance as well as a usable back seat and good cargo capacity, the 2016 Infiniti QX50 should be on their shopping lists. Base price on our rear-drive version starts at $34,450 and with four option packages that included goodies ranging from intelligent cruise control to navigation, topped out at $43,535. Fully loaded, it’s a true rival to crossovers like the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Acura RDX.