Behind the Wheel

2020 Infiniti QX50 Review: Luxe SUV hits and misses as competition strengthens

Infiniti has admitted that it made mistakes when it launched the redesigned QX50 luxury midsize SUV in January 2018. The right packages and options were not in place to give the model the success it deserved. However, in the year since its launch, the landscape has changed.

The Acura RDX has been redesigned as an agile and athletic daily driver, Audi introduced the SQ5 model giving sportiness to the family-friendly Q5 SUV, and the Volvo XC60 has made a strong argument for attention with a redesign. Lincoln has also introduced the Corsair, which is perhaps the QX50's biggest competition.

2020 Infiniti QX50 The models looks haven't changed much since it debuted in 2018.Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motor Company Ltd.

The QX50 is a comfortable cruiser. It's not particularly engaging nor is it altogether peppy but it is capable. Powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that achieves 268 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque, the SUV does everything it's supposed to without protest.

The SUV rides smoothly and doesn't pass on much road noise to the cabin.

The car steers accurately if a bit numbly but it is easy to drive, especially when equipped with ProPilot Assist, Nissan's suite of drive assistance and safety technology that includes a lane centering functionality when using cruise control. The technology makes long drives less of a chore while also keeping the car centered when the driver exhibits distracting behavior like drinking a sip of coffee or changing the radio station.

Switching from a SUV with ProPilot Assit to one with standard cruise control is a quick reminder of how good the system is. Buyers should opt for models with the technology if they can afford it.

Steering wheel The seats of the Infiniti QX50 are comfortable.Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motor Company Ltd.

Journalists who review the QX50 are likely to call its infotainment system dated. They're used to having the latest, greatest, and most innovative products at their fingertips. However, buyers coming from cars over three years old will likely see the QX50's two-screen infotainment system as a step up from what they currently have in their driveway. The controls of the system are easy to use despite the fact that the navigation screen isn't able to be easily read while driving.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard on the model, as are blind spot warning, forward collision warning, and forward emergency braking with pedestrian detection. Moving up from the $38,000-ish QX50 base model to the mid-grade QX50 Essential $44,000 gets buyers heated seats, a panoramic moonroof, rain-sensing wipers, Around View Monitor, power sunshade, LED fog lamps, and roof rails. It is in this configuration that the QX50 hits the right balance between features, power, capability, luxury features, and price. The QX50 tops out near $60,000.

Dual screen infotainment system Infiniti is one of the few companies that offers a dual-screen infotainment system.Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motor Company Ltd.

If a stranger were to approach on the street and ask if the QX50 is a "good car," it would be easy to answer with, "yes." It's not a vehicle meant for sporty drivers looking for zippy ride around town. It's comfortable, capable, and priced right for the average premium compact SUV buyer coming out of an aging model.

Infiniti, the luxury arm of Nissan, has announced that the company is postponing the release of the QX55.

Photo courtesy of Infiniti

The Infiniti QX55, a luxury compact SUV designed to bring back memories of the automaker's FX line, has had production delayed for five months according to a report from Automotive News. It was originally set to arrive at dealerships this summer.

Journalists first saw the model in October during a quick reveal at a private event in New Mexico. During a presentation about the model, Infiniti relayed positioning plans that spoke of the QX55 being a fastback style SUV/crossover with the zippy spirit of a FX35.

With suppliers told that the model will not begin production until November, plans for it to be called a "2020 Infiniti QX55" may be changed and instead the crossover may begin life as a 2021 Infiniti QX55.

When it begins production, the model will be assembled alongside the Infiniti QX50 at the $1.4 billion joint-venture Aguascalientes, Mexico plant co-owned by Nissan and Daimler.

At the same time Infiniti showed off its QX55 to journalists, it previewed the forthcoming 2021 Infiniti QX60 redesign. With this latest news about the QX55, the premium carmaker could be looking to launch two new models right around the same time.

Infiniti is taking a bold new design step with the redesigned 2021 Infiniti QX60.

Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motor Company

It wasn't an accident. During a presentation about the forthcoming 2020 Infiniti QX55 and an upcoming electrified sedan, Infiniti threw in some detailed information about an SUV that won't be seen publicly for quite a while.

And they didn't say AutomotiveMap can't tell you about it. But, there were also no pictures allowed of what was seen.

The design for the 2021 QX60 all starts with the passenger. Mike Colleran, Vice Chairman and Global Division Vice President, Marketing and Sales Operations, Infiniti, is quick to say that the customer is at the counterpoint of the company's product strategy. This is about more than just the car. It's about, "taking care of the customer all the way through" from initial contact to service and everything in between.

2020 Infiniti QX60 The current QX60 has a rounded look up front. The new edition doesn't, instead featuring more straightforward design.Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motor Company

That also means not screwing up the products that are doing well for the company, like the QX60 midsize SUV.

The looks of the 2021 QX60 are more straightforward and muscular than the current model. The design is a true evolution and it fits in nicely with the looks of the QX55 and the QX80. This new model has its grille more upright and headlights that are narrow, with an overall look that may remind folks of the Hyundai Santa Fe. Infiniti used "masculine" when describing the aesthetic.

There are no powertrain details available though given the tenor of the presentation Infiniti was giving, it's likely the QX60 will have some element of electrification coming though the company has said that the model will not be electrified at launch. It will come standard with front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive will be available.

2020 Infiniti QX60 The interior of the 2020 Infiniti QX60 is nice, but starting to show its age. The new edition features much more modern design but retains the elegance Infiniti has become known for.Photo courtesy of Infinit Motor Company

The interior of the 2021 model is wholly different than the 2020 version. The thoroughly modern SUV features USB ports at its seats, a Wi-Fi hot spot, and two 12.1-inch infotainment screens that replace the current entertainment, information, and climate control center stack setup.

Its cabin is outfitted in fine appointments befitting a premium brand, including quilter leather.

Infiniti says that the model will feel wider than its predecessor.

Designers have given the model the ability to come with a two-tone paint job.

At its rear is new signature Infiniti badging with the word "Infiniti" making its way back onto the tailgate of the SUV. During the presentation, the crowd was teased with the possibility that the "I" in the Infiniti badging may be functional and serve as the vehicle's tailgate release.