By Matt Degen
Without resorting to a Rodney Dangerfield shtick, let's just say the Infiniti QX50 deserves more respect. With its significant revamp for 2016, this small-luxury crossover SUV should finally get it. Upon debuting in 2008 as the Infiniti EX, it was among the first compact-luxury crossover SUVs, but instead of riding a wave it helped create, the Infiniti was overshadowed by rivals like the BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLK and Audi Q5. Despite having a standard V6 engine and a slew of creature comforts, the model was hampered by limited room in the rear seats and cargo area. The larger, more sophisticated 2016 Infiniti QX50 rights those wrongs while retaining one of the best value propositions in its class.
If you're looking for a compact-luxury SUV at a great price, put the 2016 QX50 on your list. It packs myriad features and one of the most powerful V6 engines in its class, all for under $36,000. Moreover, with its standard rear-drive setup, the QX50 behaves like a sports sedan.
If you prioritize fuel economy over power, most of the QX50's rivals offer more efficient powertrains. And while it may seem minor to some, the lack of a power tailgate could be a deal-breaker for others.
The Infiniti QX50 luxury-crossover SUV is significantly revamped for 2016. It's grown in length by 4.5 inches, and that has boosted rear legroom by nearly that much while also granting more cargo room. Exterior changes include new front and rear fascias, while ground clearance has been increased slightly.
The Infiniti QX50 is one of the most rewarding compact-luxury SUVs in its class. It feels more like a sports sedan than an SUV. There are several reasons for this....
... Chief among them is the standard, 325-horsepower V6. If you desire more standard horsepower in this class, you'll have to step up to a Porsche Macan, whose base price is over $53,000, or wait for the Jaguar F-Pace. Beyond just power, the Infiniti puts it down in the right place if you're a sports-car purist: the rear wheels. Where most of its rivals use front-wheel-drive platforms, the QX50 is rear-drive (RWD), which grants it the feel of a performance car. Even all-wheel-drive (AWD) models are biased to the rear. Rounding out the QX50's sporty feel is firm steering. It adds up to an invigorating performance SUV that is nimble in corners but compliant enough for everyday commutes.
Small-luxury SUVs can have big-size price tags, especially when ladled with options. Compared to most rivals – especially its German ones – the Infiniti QX50 is a bargain. For well under $40,000 you get a luxury SUV with serious power and a surprising amount of amenities.
POWERED THIS, POWERED THAT
Among those aforementioned surprising amenities available are a power-adjustable steering wheel and power up-folding rear seats. That latter feature allows you to raise the rear seats from a folded position via the touch of a button, instead of wrestling with them after unloading cargo.
The newly enlarged 2016 QX50 retains its 2-row, 5-passenger layout, but the rear seats are now usable by adults. Cargo room is also up, with 18.6 cubic feet of space. All seats are covered in leather. Those in the front-passenger seat may find their left leg crowded by a floor hump that usually indicates a differential housing in AWD vehicles, but it's present even in rear-drive QX50 models. Multiple buttons and dials populate the center dash below the 7-inch color display, though most are easy to see and use. It's also refreshing to have hard buttons vs. a finicky, touch-based system.
Though it has increased several inches in length, the 2016 Infiniti QX50 retains its tidy proportions. At 186.8 inches overall, it's still not that large. With its long hood, tapered roof and flowing windowsill, Infiniti's small crossover SUV also retains its sporty profile. With a slight increase in ground clearance – 0.8 inches – the QX50 has a stance more associated with an SUV than a tall wagon. Aluminum roof rails, found on most variants, also add to the QX50's utility look and feel.
The 2016 Infiniti QX50 comes well equipped out the door with leather seating, power-adjustable and heated front seats, moonroof, dual-zone climate control with rear vents, rearview camera and push-button ignition. Standard audio entertainment is brought to you by a 6-speaker AM/FM/satellite/CD player with auxiliary and USB, as well as Bluetooth wireless connectivity.
You'd be hard-pressed to find a QX50 without the Premium Package, and for only $500 it's a no-brainer to add. The package includes 11-speaker Bose premium audio system, power-adjustable steering wheel with entry and exit assist, aluminum roof rails, auto-dimming rearview mirror and HomeLink garage door opener. Other options include navigation with real-time traffic, power-up rear seats, bird's-eye-view rearview camera, and front and rear sonar parking aid. Safety highlights include lane-departure warning and prevention, blind-spot monitoring, forward-collision warning and intelligent cruise control. One glaring omission is the Infiniti QX50's lack of a power rear tailgate, a feature available in mainstream compact SUVs.
Just one engine is offered in the 2016 Infiniti QX50, and it's a good one: the tried-and-true 3.7-liter V6. It's good for 325 horsepower and is connected to a smooth, 7-speed automatic transmission with regular and Sport settings for livelier throttle response. The QX50 is rear drive as standard, and can be had with AWD. One downside of this otherwise stellar engine is that it isn't as efficient as rivals' offerings. This one's rating tops out at 24 mpg on the highway, whereas the V6 in the Acura RDX is good for up to 29 mpg, while a BMW X3 is rated up to 34 mpg when equipped with a small and efficient diesel engine. Also, premium unleaded is recommended for the Infiniti.
325 horsepower @ 7,000 rpm
267 lb-ft of torque @ 5,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/24 mpg
As noted, one of the best traits about the 2016 Infiniti QX50 is its price, cut $550 from the previous year. With a base Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at $35,445, it is one of the lowest-priced small-luxury SUVs available. Most buyers will opt for the Premium Package, a screaming deal that adds only $500. Adding AWD is $1,400. Even loaded to the gills, a 2016 QX50 only reaches the mid-$40,000 range. The QX50 undercuts rivals like the BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLC, Cadillac SRX and Audi Q5 by thousands. Undercutting the QX50 is the smaller Lincoln MKC, while the Lexus NX and Acura RDX are in line with the Infiniti's price. Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their QX50. Despite flying under the radar, the Infiniti's resale value has tended to hold up well over the years.