Written by: Calvin Chan
Photography by: Calvin Chan
Ah, the QX50. Once known to us as the beloved EX, Infiniti’s small crossover has done fairly well over its nine-year lifespan but has since been largely overshadowed by other luxury crossovers like the Acura RDX and BMW X1. The QX50 struggled to win buyers with a hearty but fuel-sipping V6 engine, sporty handling, a classy interior, and a cramped rear seat, but Infiniti promises to remedy at least one of those pickles for the latest model year.
The 2016 QX50 may look like an old design but it’s cleverly hiding an 80mm stretch in the wheelbase, bringing the overall length up to 4,744mm. Most of this additional length has been allocated to the rear seats, where rear legroom grows by 172mm and rear kneeroom by 100mm. It might be hard to picture these measurements in your head, so let us put it this way. Imagine a standard sized HB pencil; that’s around the same length that rear passengers receive – quite a big deal if you ask me.
Fun fact: a long-wheelbase version of the QX50 was previously available but only in China.
The exterior of the QX50 has been slightly refreshed, though most people won’t notice. Pulling a new front grille from the popular Q50 sedan and with the addition of new side mirrors and LED daytime running lights, the QX50 gets some extra, though mild, road presence. Regardless, Infiniti’s bread and butter crossover is quite charming to look at despite being shaped a little differently from others in the segment.
Carrying a long hood with most of the interior shifted to the back of the vehicle where the sloped roof ends, the QX50 looks more like a wagon than a crossover. Of course, this follows suit with its bigger brother, the shark-like QX70 or what we used to know as the FX.
In fact, the QX50’s design manages to hit the sweet spot by being both sporty and practical with attractive 19-inch wheels and an additional 20mm of ground clearance over last year’s model. Additionally, that new Hagane Blue paint (on our tester and new for 2016) gives it a revitalizing sparkle.
Furthermore, there are six (yes, six) settings for your heated seats and Infiniti has retained that classy analog clock situated where the dashboard waterfalls down into the console. Doused in soft leather and classy wood panels, the interior feels aged like a fine wine. Of course, the cabin doesn’t stand up to modern German excellence, but the QX50 is luxurious in its own sentimental way.
There are a few issues that it cannot elude from however, like how the headrest pillars will poke you from the backrest if you lean your head too far back (we had the same problem in the 370Z), or the unnecessarily convoluted array of buttons in the center stack. There are just too many ways to operate that 7-inch touchscreen – an indecisive person’s nightmare.
You have the option of cycling with the rotary dial, using the buttons situated on top of the rotary dial, or when you’re fed up with those options, you can just poke the screen to elicit a response. Maybe we’re just nitpicking, and maybe we’re just impossible to please seeing as we recently criticized the Range Rover Sport for having too few buttons. Take what you will, but we’re sure the QX50 is only a model year or two away from getting the new and improved infotainment system from the Q50 sedan.
The most notable feature and the biggest selling point is the 3.7-litre V6 engine lying under the hood. This large displacement powerplant is the sweetheart in the segment and frankly one of the best, slotting just below the X3’s inline-six delicacy on our all-time-favourites list. It’s the same engine found in the 370Z and pumps nearly identical output numbers: 325 hp and 267 lb-ft. For a small crossover like this to get from 0-100 km/h in a brisk 6.3 seconds is almost unheard of.
And without the interference of a turbocharger, power delivery is linear and predictable. In fact, the gas pedal, 7-speed transmission, and the V6 engine have such an immediate relationship with each other that you have to feather the throttle to prevent any sudden whiplash.
Infiniti has kept with old-fashioned hydraulic steering – input is direct and intuitive. Steering is light at high speeds, heavy at low speeds, and perfectly communicative in between. It’s a refreshing change from all the numb electric-powered crossovers flooding the market today.
There is no rear-wheel drive option in Canada for the QX50; all-wheel drive comes standard. To keep a sporty nature, the system operates under rear-wheel bias in most conditions, meaning the QX50 likes to fishtail more than it does understeer despite the heavy front nose.
It performed wonderfully in the snow too thanks to huge wheels and grippy Bridgestone Blizzak LM-32 tires – oh and there’s a huge Snow flick-switch flanking the gear shifter as well. Turn it on and the engine output will be automatically controlled to avoid the wheels from spinning.
One of the biggest downsides of such a large engine is fuel economy. It’s the bane of the V6’s everlasting existence and is a tradeoff with a sporty crossover like this. On the highway alone we averaged a tough 11.1 L/100km, while averaged with the city we attained 13.5 L/100km. A trip of 400 km cost us $75 worth of 91-octane fuel – yes, Infiniti recommends premium fuel.
Like most Infinitis, the QX50 comes very well equipped right out of the box, but there are three packages to choose from to optimize your experience: Navigation Package ($3,000), Technology Package ($2,500), and Premium Package ($4,400). Be careful though, even though the QX50 holds an incredibly appealing base price of $37,900, you can easily rack up close to $50,000 with options added. Here’s what we recommend:
The Premium Package ($4,400) is a must. It puts the QX50 right up there in business class with 19-inch wheels, a wonderful 11-speaker Bose system, maple interior accents, rear view camera, HID auto-leveling headlights, power up-folding rear seats, a coat hanger on the driver’s head restraint, power adjustable front seats, and heated exterior mirrors.
If you want to stream music from your phone with Bluetooth without the USB hassle and want some Navigation to go along with it, then I’d suggest opting for the Navigation Package ($3,000).
The Technology Package ($2,500) is there if you want all the safety systems like blind spot monitoring, intelligent cruise control, lane departure warnings, etc, but the QX50 has pretty good visibility all around, and we don’t think it’s necessary at all.
Distance Control Assist and Intelligent Brake Assist are pretty nifty though: if you get too close to a vehicle in front of you, the systems will automatically bring up the gas pedal and brake for you, avoiding any impending accent. It’s pretty reliable too, but during those odd times where you want to make a break for it and cut close to a car for overtaking, the automatic braking might throw you off.
Simply put, the QX50 is the last of its kind, harbouring a thirsty V6 engine, hydraulic steering, and an interior that feels retro in all the right ways. It may not be the best in fuel, nor the most elegantly designed crossover on the market, but its attractive pricetag (that sits lower than rivaling Acura RDXs and Lexus NXs by the way) and sporty intentions bring customers a pleasant experience that even a rear seat passenger can now fully enjoy.
型号 Model: 2016 Infiniti QX50 AWD
顏色 Paint Type: Hagane Blue
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $37,900
試車售價 Price as Tested: $47,800
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 2,880
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,744 / 1,803 / 1,614
車重 Curb weight (kg): 1,827
引擎 Engine: 3.7L V6
最大馬力 Horsepower: 325 hp @ 7,000 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 267 lb-ft @ 5,200 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 7-speed automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, AWD
油耗 Fuel Consumption ( City / Highway / Combined ) L/100km: 13.7 / 9.7 / 11.9
油耗 Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 13.3
輪胎尺碼 Tires: Bridgestone Blizzak LM-32; P245/45R19