Written by: Robert Nichols
Photography by: Robert Nichols
When the original Infiniti EX35 was revealed in 2007, it quickly became the banner for what a luxury CUV should be. Other manufacturers quickly followed suit and began to deliver vehicles that were still more utilitarian than sedans but no longer sacrificed style or fun. Yes, Infiniti had found the recipe for the future and the ingredients included a powerful engine, exciting styling, and AWD mixed with a technology laden and luxurious interior.
The EX35 became the QX50 when the company decided to muddle with its nomenclature. What did not change was the recipe for success. The trouble was that the competition had started to figured it out how to do their crossovers better by enhancing features like adult-friendly rear seats and a bigger cargo area. This turn of events left Infiniti struggling with its QX50 sales.
For 2016, rather than a complete remodelling the QX50 received a mild refresh that graciously included a wheelbase enlargement. The bulk of this new space is relegated to rear occupant space where it was sorely needed. By the numbers, the increase in the wheelbase was 80mm, but the vehicle’s overall length has increased as well. This stretching has provided the back seat with 172mm more leg room and 100mm more knee room. I was able to fit in the back seat nicely and the extra space meant that my knees no longer jammed into the driver’s backrest.
Other changes include a retouched front fascia, LED front running lights, new side mirrors with LED signal lights and a new rear bumper/fascia. All in all, the entire look is handsome but starting to feel a bit long in the tooth. What I do like, though, is the silhouette. From the side the QX50 looks more sport wagon than CUV and that really sets it apart from its rivals.
My Sangria Red tester had a Wheat/Black interior colour scheme that looked fantastic. Every surface felt and looked like a quality piece. The leather seats are bolstered snuggly and hold you steady on the twisty back roads. The dash layout is gorgeous and the use of buttons and knobs blended in with the touchscreen allows the driver to quickly become attune with any function, never having to take their eyes off the road. Furthermore, the Premium package adds a Bose stereo that uses 11 speakers, two of which are bass speakers that rest within the spare wheel. The sound quality is amazing, best described as front row center at a concert.
One problem I must note is a common one for light coloured interiors. If you wear blue jeans, do not select light coloured seats. After just 2,000 km of denim-clad bottoms, the seats and the center console where one rests their knee have already started to become stained. So if you cannot pull off light pants, get some dark seats.
The rear seats will fold at the touch of a button and then pop back up automatically as well. What surprised me was the lack of an automatic tailgate and the limited cargo space. Another missing luxury was ventilated seats, and when you consider the $50,000 price tag after delivery and fees, these missing features seem to be too much of an omission.
What really made up for these oversights is this wonderful 3.7-litre V6 engine. Most of the time you barely hear it as it goes about the daily grind effortlessly with little more than a slight vibration to be felt, but plant your foot down hard and things change rapidly. The serenity is overcome by the growl from below the hood and the landscape begins to pass by swiftly as you are ushered forth on an increasing current of torque. 0 – 100 km/h is dispatched in just under 6 seconds, the ¼ mile is devoured in a little over 14 seconds, leading me to think that Infiniti is offering a budget Porsche Macan.
The 7-speed transmission has a sport mode that allows the driver to shift gears manually via the gear lever (no paddle shift here folks) and features rev matching downshifts. Thankfully Infiniti did not go down the same CVT path as Nissan. This transmission proves the company’s ability to develop a fantastic automatic.
The same FM platform found in the Q50 and the 370Z is also used in the QX50. Therefore you might expect the vehicle to be a capable performer with little to no body roll, and you would be correct. The rather heavy QX50 is comfortable and composed on all surfaces; never too harsh and very rewarding. This is due to the FM chassis’ front control arm and rear multi-link suspension setup. There is a nice balance between performance and smoothness to be found here, which pleasantly surprised me, as I was certain the focus was going to be on performance.
In Canada there is only one trim available: the QX50 AWD but it has many standard features that will impress at the relatively low staring price. My test vehicle had all the optional packages, of which there are three. The first is the Premium Package that includes newly designed 19” wheels, Around View Monitoring and Sonar, HID adaptive headlights, the Bose stereo, power front seating, power tilt/telescoping steering wheel, and many other interior touches. The price for this luxury is $4,400.
Next is the Navigation Package, which also includes the Around View Monitoring, front and rear sonar and Bluetooth streaming and a navigation system with live traffic information. This will cost you $3,000.
Finally we have the Technology package; it costs $2,500 but is well worth it. This package delivers driver aids like adaptive cruise control, automatic lane keeping and alert, brake assist, blind spot warning, and distance control assist for those chronic tailgaters.
Infiniti has once again shown us that they can deliver a fun-to-drive CUV. What’s more is that they have even listened to the customer and added some extra space, but is it enough? For most CUV buyers, it’s not likely. However, for enthusiasts who want a bit more utility, the QX50 is an enticing blend of comfort and performance priced below similarly optioned competition.
型号 Model: 2016 Infiniti QX50
顏色 Paint Type: Sangria Red
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $37,900
試車售價 Price as Tested: $48,085
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