2019 Infiniti QX50: World’s First Variable Compression Engine is Here [Review]

[Photo: Infiniti]
The all-new 2019 Infiniti QX50 steps up to the plate with a compelling design and an entirely new platform. It provides a heightened level of versatility, functionality and efficient performance in the luxury mid-size crossover segment.


This latest Infiniti QX50 comes in three levels of trim: Pure, Luxe, and Essential. Prices range from $36,550 to $45,150. All QX50 models are available in either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.

2019 Infiniti QX50
[Photo: Infiniti]
All models closely follow the interpretation of the design influence of the QX50 Concept (pictured, left) and QX Sport Inspiration. The car’s form denotes an aerodynamic exterior that reflects the distinctive “Powerful Elegance” of Infiniti’s design language. It also carries the styling cues found in the rest of their crossover lineup. My test vehicle for the QX50’s Global Test Drive program was a $57,200 fully-loaded Essential AWD. The exterior was finished in Liquid Platinum and came with a Graphite-toned interior.

Apart from the styling changes, the real big news is in the powertrain. The power source for the new QX50 comes from the world’s first production-ready 2.0-liter, turbocharged Variable Compression ratio engine. Able to change the effective combustion ratio for better economy or performance, it represents a breakthrough in combustion engine design.

In terms of its visual exterior appeal, this latest Infiniti QX50 is characterized by its sculpted flowing character lines and bold, muscular proportions. The familial double-arch grille is wider and leads off in an elevated position with no gaps between the grille and long clamshell hood. The QX50 also adopts Infiniti’s signature LED headlight design. The horizontal light signature cuts across the projector similar in execution to the headlamps from the Q60 sports coupe.

Infiniti’s signature crescent-cut D-pillar extends the visual length of the roof line, as the rear pillar arcs forward, emphasizing motion even when the car is stationary. The bumpers and wheel arches feature air slits, inlets and outlets to assist the efficient flow of air. The drag coefficient is improved by six percent compared to the previous-generation QX50.

[Photo: Infiniti]


Slipping into the cabin, the interior of the QX50 is focused on space and functionality with a heaping helping of hand-crafted luxuriousness. It is clearly driver-centric with a sport-inspired performance steering wheel complete with paddle shifters.

The intuitive Human Machine Interface helps to minimize stress for greater comfort on longer journeys. The HMI adopts smartphone-style controls, and you can operate each of the two screens with pinch-in/out operation.

[Photo: Infiniti]
The enhanced greenhouse space is more flexible thanks to a sliding rear bench seat. The cargo area is 39.0 inches deep with the rear bench all the way back – increasing to 44.9 inches with the seats forward. The trunk volume measures 31.1 cubic feet, with the rear seats in their rear-most position, expanding to 64.4 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down. Rear legroom provides up to 38.7 inches. The trunk will hold three golf bags, or a stroller situated length-wise, with space for additional cargo. Hidden under-floor storage compartments may be used to stow valuables, or wet and muddy gear.

The optional panoramic moonroof stretches from the front row through to the cargo area, visually enhancing interior space, and flooding the interior with natural light.

With the return of the venerable Infiniti QX50 for the 2019 model year, consumers have yet another choice relative to size. The QX50 falls mid-range in the brand’s lineup. For some , the QX30 may not be big enough for their needs. At the other end, the QX60 and Papa Bear-sized QX80 may be overwhelming. The 2019 Infiniti QX50 represents a good compromise on size.

[Photo: Infiniti]


The 2019 QX50’s 2.0-liter variable compression (VC) turbo four-banger is both smooth and powerful. It produces up to 268 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque. It’s also more efficient than a non-VC engine. The CVT transmission, while not a favorite of many gearheads is one of the smoothest on the market, with gear step logic and the ability to switch modes. The VC-Turbo engine adjusts its compression ratio optimizing power and efficiency by combining the power of a 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline engine with the torque and efficiency of a four-cylinder diesel engine.

The 2019 Infiniti QX50 sends power to its driven wheels through an Xtronic Continously Variable Transmission (CVT). For those who would like a bit of traditional flavor, it does have manual shift mode and Downshift Rev Matching.

The ride quality is akin to an entry-level luxury sedan and the engine speed sensitive variable assist electric power steering delivers a positive feel.

Safety features abound and the innovative ProPilot serves as a semi-autonomous driving assist. It is not a fully self-driving feature.


In the final analysis, the 2019 Infiniti QX50 Essential AWD is an exemplary example of an entry level, mid-size luxury Crossover with few rivals. In any event, it nicely rounds out Infiniti’s Crossover/SUV inventory.

SPECIFICATIONS: 2019 Infiniti QX50 Essential AWD

On Sale: Now
Base MSRP: $41,150
Price as Tested: $57,200
Engine: 2.0-liter, turbocharged inline-4
Drivetrain (Layout): Transversely mounted front engine, all-wheel drive
Horsepower: 268 hp @ 5,600 RPM
Torque: 280 lb-ft @ 1,600 – 4,800 RPM
Transmission: Xtronic CVT w/ manual shift mode
Suspension: Front: MacPherson strut w/ twin tube shock absorbers, 27 mm stabilizer bar

Rear: Independent multi-link w/ monotube shock absorbers, 22.5 mm stabilizer bar

Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel ventilated discs w/ ABS, EBD and Brake Assist
Tires: Bridgestone Ecopia P255/45 R20
Fuel capacity: 16.0 gallons
Fuel economy (EPA): 24 City/30 Highway MPG
Drag Coefficient: 0.32


Wheelbase: 110.2 inches
Length:  184.7 inches
Width: 74.9 inches
Height:  66.0 inches
Turning Circle: 36.4 feet
Curb Weight: 3,857 pounds