Having undergone a name change in 2014 and a redesign for 2019, Infiniti’s QX50 gets two new trim levels for 2020 with Sensory and Autograph models adding to the top of the lineup and giving buyers five looks to choose from, all offering a choice of either front-wheel or available all-wheel drive.
Introduced as the EX35 for the 2007 model year, Infiniti’s compact luxury crossover SUV got its QX50 nameplate when the company began labeling its vehicles with a Q designation for its coupes and sedans and QX badging for its crossovers and SUVs in 2014.
All trims for the QX50 essentially offer many features common to the luxury segment starting with the Pure base model with keyless entry and push-button start, hands-free liftgate, upgraded seating surfaces, power adjustable front seats, and Bluetooth communications and continuing from there up the line with Luxe, Essential, and the new Sensory and Autograph trims adding more standard features.
A new-generation Infiniti InTouch infotainment system includes a WiFi hotspot for up to seven devices, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and a dual touchscreen operation that allows you to make adjustments for the radio, for example, without leaving the larger navigation screen.
That system is standard in all trims, but a lot of the more exotic stuff, however, is available as either standard or options only on the upper trims.
The QX50 Autograph edition that served as my test vehicle for the week also includes Infiniti’s ProPilot Assist, a driver-oriented safety feature combining Lane Keep Assist and adaptive cruise control.
Other standard safety features include Forward Collision Warning and Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, an Around-View Monitor with Motion Detection, Blind Spot Intervention, Rear Automatic Breaking and Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and a suite of airbags that roof-mounted side airbags.
A turbocharged inline 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine mated to a CVT is standard in all QX50 models (Pure, Luxe, Essential and the new Sensory and Autograph trims). It provides 260 horsepower and 290 pound-feet of torque for a spirited, though not overwhelming performance. In Sport mode, it can be quite jumpy. Paddle shifters add simulated “shift” points to the CVT operation.
Fuel mileage (22 miles-per-gallon city, 28 highway, and 25 combined for the AWD version) is similar to its competitors in the small luxury SUV segment.
The strength of the QX50 Autograph lies in a cabin that features high-quality materials such as natural wood accents and many soft-touch surfaces. Seats are supportive and comfortable, and the Autograph comes with a 16-speaker Bose Premium Sound System to please the ear.
Legroom and headroom are up to 39.6 and 40 inches, respectively, in the front and 38.7 and 38.4 in the back. Cargo space, too, is plentiful and can expanded to 64.4 cubic feet with the back-row seats folded.
Other standard features on the Autograph include the Infiniti Intouch infotainment system with navigation, a motion-activated rear liftgate, a head-up display, a panoramic moonroof, Ultrasuede headliner, climate-controlled front seats, rear-passenger window shades, and LED headlight, daytime running, and fog lights.
Though the QX50 Pure base model has a starting MSRP under $40,000, the Autograph model tops the pricing with an opening price of $55,850. Extras, starting with a $2,000 Premium White Leather Package, ran the final bottom line of my test QX50 to $60,070 including the $1,025 destination and delivery cost.
What I liked about the 2020 Infiniti QX50: The cabin oozes class especially when equipped with the Premium White Leather package that features white leather-appointed seating with quilted stitching, blue Ultrasuede accents, and brown Ultrasuede headliner. While some reviewers have criticized the double-screen center stack, I like it. You can make audio adjustments on the lower smaller screen without disturbing the larger navigation monitor. Not sure why critics found it confusing, but some apparently did. Cargo space is a generous 31.1 cubic feet behind the second row.
What I didn’t like about the 2020 Infiniti QX50: I can do without the CVT. An 8- or 10-speed automatic would better take advantage of the engine power and enhance performance, but a continuously variable transmission is a big part of the Nissan-Infiniti DNA.
Would I buy the 2020 Infiniti QX50? Yes. The QX50 offers something different from the usual suspects in the compact luxury segment.
*Photos furnished by Infiniti