2020 Infiniti QX50

2020 Infiniti QX50 Review: Variable Compression, Varying Results

by Michael Butler

It's becoming more and more difficult to distinguish between the different compact SUVs on offer in the US today. The market is awash with amorphous vehicles that look like they are a mix of station wagon, hatchback, and traditional SUV. For this exact reason, automakers have had to step up their game significantly, and the end result is a car-buying public that's spoilt for choice. The 2020 Infiniti QX50 is the perfect example of this phenomena: it's arguably good looking, comfortable, quick and has all the gadgets you'll ever need, but it still struggles to capture the imagination and attention of most people, which may be perfect for some, or a deal-breaker for others. Infiniti has gone out of its way to let the world know that the QX50 is powered by the world's first-ever variable compression engine - a 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder developing 268 horsepower - which sounds cool, but in the real world goes by relatively unnoticed. What really impressed us was the QX50's refined ride, plush interior, and a good list of standard features. It might get pricey higher up in the range, but it's one of the best in its class, and well worth the money.

2020 Infiniti QX50 Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2019 QX50?

For 2020 Infiniti has decided to grow the QX50 family: there are two new trim levels on offer, namely the Sensory and Autograph, that take the two highest slots in the range and get the most desirable features. The QX50 is also on the receiving end of a whole host of active driver assistance features, which includes blind-spot monitoring, rear automatic-braking, auto high-beams, lane departure warning and rear cross-traffic alert - a boon for the QX50. The infotainment system gets a software update, which includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, and the optional packages have been reshuffled.

Pros and Cons

  • Variable compression ratio engine is a thing of the future
  • Upmarket interior
  • There's lots of cargo space
  • It's whisper-quiet at cruising speeds
  • Real-world fuel economy isn't that impressive
  • There's little to no steering feel
  • You have to climb the trim ladder to get the top features

2020 Infiniti QX50 Trims

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Pure
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$37,250
Luxe
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$40,250
Essential
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$44,100
Sensory
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$48,900
Autograph
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$53,850

QX50 Exterior

Infiniti's 'Powerful Elegance' design language is characterized by its muscular stance and elegant blending of flowing lines and sharp modern creases, which arguably makes the 2020 QX50 one of the best looking compact luxury SUVs. The QX50 gets a double-arch grille with no gaps between the grille and the hood for a cleaner front end look, and according to Infiniti, the QX50's LED design resembled a human eye. We're not too sure about that, but it does look good. The sharp-edged character of the front-end eventually succumbs to flowing lines down the side of the car and ends up in a neat rear end that features the same sharp light design connected by a chrome arch. Standard exterior features for 2020 include LED automatic headlights with daytime running lights, 19-inch alloy wheels, growing to 20-inches on Sensory and Autograph models, as well as body-color, manual-folding, and power-adjustable

outside mirrors, body-color door handles with chrome accent and rear privacy glass. Luxe models get a panoramic sunroof, roof rails and LED foglights; Essential models get heated side mirrors, while the top two models also include unique cube design LED headlights.

2020 Infiniti QX50 Front View Infiniti
2020 Infiniti QX50 Rear View Infiniti
2020 Infiniti QX50 Right Side View Infiniti
See All 2020 Infiniti QX50 Exterior Photos

Dimensions

A clever exterior body design means the QX50 offers class-leading interior space while not looking too bloated. Total length comes in at 184.7 inches, which is right in the ballpark of rivals such as the 2020 Acura RDX at 186.7, and the Audi Q5 at 184.7. The QX50 sits 85.1 inches wide, stands 66 inches tall, and rolls on a 110.2-inch wheelbase. With a curb weight ranging between 3,807 and 4,098 pounds, the QX50 ain't no featherweight: The Acura RDX undercuts it by 27 pounds.

  • Length 184.7 in
  • Wheelbase 110.2 in
  • Height 66.0 in
  • Max Width 74.9 in
  • Front Width 64.4 in
  • Rear Width 64.2 in

Exterior Colors

Accompanying the 2020 QX50's muscular and flowing body style is a range of eight colors, all carefully selected to complement the QX50's premium personality. The base model is available in five of those colors, with Lunar White, Black Obsidian, and Liquid Platinum as the basic choices and Graphite Shadow and Hermosa Blue as interesting hues that you don't see often. If you're after a unique look, Infiniti offers a number of premium colors that add a sense of exclusivity that no one else will ever notice. New owners get to choose between Majestic White, Dynamic Sunstone Red, and new for 2020, Mocha Almond. We love how the QX50 looks in Dynamic Sunstone Red, which will set you back $800.

  • Hermosa Blue
  • Graphite Shadow
  • Black Obsidian
  • Liquid Platinum
  • Lunar White
  • Mocha Almond
  • Dynamic Sunstone Red, Build Out: 07/31/19
  • Majestic White
  • Lunar White, Build Out: 07/31/19
  • Dynamic Sunstone Red

QX50 Performance

The QX50 is one of the first production cars to make use of a variable compression engine, and Infiniti will be all too happy to tell you how it improves efficiency and changes the game for the internal combustion engine; but for most, this will just be another gimmick that fades into the background when driving on a daily basis. With 268 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque available, the QX50 never feels slow, but you never forget that it's hauling around nearly 4,000 pounds of SUV either. Out on suburban streets, the QX50 has enough power to sneak into gaps in traffic, but we found that the engine and CVT transmission combo gets noisy, especially under hard acceleration. Things settle down on the highway, where the QX50 will overtake with a linear surge of power that inspires confidence. Zero to sixty is accomplished in the mid-six-second range, so if you're looking for a performance monster, look elsewhere. If you're after the 'utility' in SUV, then a 3,000-pound towing capacity with AWD and the optional Tow Package is about average for the segment, but is only available on the range-topping Autograph trim.

2020 Infiniti QX50 Front Angle View Infiniti
2020 Infiniti QX50 Rear Angle View Infiniti
2020 Infiniti QX50 Engine Infiniti

Engine and Transmission

The 2020 QX50 is powered by the world's first production variable compression ratio engine. The turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four engine changes its compression ratio seamlessly to allow for maximum performance when demanded, and maximum economy when cruising by varying its compression ratio between 8:1 for high performance and 14:1 for high efficiency. It does this via a multi-link system and an electric motor with a unique Harmonic Drive reduction gear. Total power output is 268 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque. The small single-scroll turbo provides excellent low-down torque with minimal turbo lag, which is advantageous when it comes to driving in a congested city and suburban settings. Compared to the old generation 3.5-liter VQ V6 engine, the new unit offers a weight saving of 40 pounds, and takes up significantly less space inside the engine bay. This high-tech motor sends its power through a continuously variable transmission with manual shift mode to either the front or all four wheels, depending on the configuration. We found the power delivery adequate, and the CVT transmission offered seamless power delivery. But, under hard acceleration, the engine noise was unpleasant.

  • Engine
    2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
  • Transmission
    Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

Comfort and luxury take top priority when it comes to the handling and driving experience of the 2020 QX50. Around town, the ride is compliant and comfortable, and the QX50 shakes off rough road surfaces without breaking a sweat. The same goes for highway cruising; the ride is smooth and controlled, and the steering feels well-weighted, which inspires confidence when you're traveling at 60 and above. The selectable Dynamic and Dynamic Plus modes weigh it up even further, but it's best left in standard mode. As with the majority of modern SUVs, especially in the compact segment, steering feedback is minimal, but the QX50 will plow its head into corners with believable eagerness, even if its weight starts to show mid-corner. The QX50's soft brake pedal feel can lead to inconsistent and jerky braking at lower speeds, which becomes annoying, especially for passengers, but the overall braking performance was good. The QX50's handling has a distinct luxury bias, which will appeal to a more mature crowd of shoppers.

QX50 Gas Mileage

Gas mileage is an important factor when it comes to making a purchasing decision in the compact crossover class, and the fact that the QX50 proudly brandishes its variable compression ratio engine should mean that it offers some pretty impressive numbers right? The answer is a bit mixed: while it does deliver impressive fuel economy figures, it's not that much better than its more traditional rivals, which begs the question of how effective and necessary the complicated compression tech really is? Infiniti claims EPA rated numbers of 23/29/26 mpg city/highway/combined in FWD guise, dropping slightly to 22/28/25 when spinning all four wheels. The QX50 comes with a 16-gallon fuel tank, which should see it traveling between 400 and 416 miles per tank. It does, however, require more expensive premium gasoline.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    16.0 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 23/29 mpg
* 2020 Infiniti QX50 PURE FWD

QX50 Interior

Compact crossover SUVs in this price range have come leaps and bounds in terms of interior quality in recent years, but the QX50 takes things to the next level, offering a truly premium interior experience that can rival much more expensive machines. There's clearly a strong focus on space and functionality, and the driver-centric, passenger-minded asymmetric interior design ties the cabin together in a logical, yet elegant, way. The base model for the 2020 range features a ten-way power-adjustable driver's seat with two-way power lumbar adjustment, while the front passenger gets eight-way adjustability. You also get dual-zone automatic temperature control and an intelligent key system with an illuminated push-button start. Higher up in the range, you'll find an auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink, heated front seats, climate-controlled front seats, sunshades, and tri-zone automatic climate control.

2020 Infiniti QX50 Steering Wheel Infiniti
2020 Infiniti QX50 Infotainment System Infiniti
2020 Infiniti QX50 Steering Wheel 1 Infiniti
See All 2020 Infiniti QX50 Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

The QX50 is an easy car to get in and out of thanks to its slightly lifted ride height and big apertures. Once inside, the front seats, styled in a classic Mercedes-Benz-like bucket design, offer excellent support, especially for the driver who gets extra lumbar adjustment. Thanks to clever body design, the QX50 offers class-leading interior space and will happily seat five average-sized adults, and larger homo sapiens need not fear - there's room for you too. Headroom is measured at 41/39.1 inches front/rear without the panoramic moonroof installed. That number shrinks to 40/38.4 inches front/rear when the moonroof is fitted. The legroom measurement impressed us: you get 39.6 inches in the front, and a generous 38.7 inches in the back.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater
  • Front Leg Room 39.6 in
  • Front Head Room 41.0 in
  • Rear Leg Room 38.7 in
  • Rear Head Room 39.1 in

Interior Colors and Materials

Infiniti offers a multitude of interior color and material combinations that helps to add a touch of exclusivity to each car, and even in base form, the 2020 QX50 feels like a premium car. The soft-touch materials have a quality feel to them, and you'll be hard-pressed to find cheap feel plastics, at least in the areas that count. Infiniti offers new owners the option of selecting between interior upholstery colors such as Graphite, Wheat/Brown, Wheat/Black, and White. Seats are upholstered in smooth or quilted leather, and the retro open-pore wood grain inserts add some serious old-world charm. Base models are fitted with leatherette seats, which come close to feeling like the real thing, and sport aluminum interior trim accents. Sensory models get perforated seats, while the Signature gets semi-aniline perforated leather seating, natural Maple wood interior trim accents, and an Ultrasuede headliner and pillars.

QX50 Trunk and Cargo Space

Not only does the QX50 offer a premium interior space for its occupants, but it also provides class-leading trunk and cargo space, which is a massive pro when it comes to this class of vehicle. Behind the second row of seats, the QX50 offers an impressive 31.4 cubic feet of space, which drops down slightly to 31.1 if you're rocking the panoramic moonroof. Things only get better from there: fold the rear 60/40-split fold-down seatbacks, and the trunk space opens up to a seriously practical 65.1 cubic feet. With the moonroof fitted, this number drops down to 64.4 cubic feet. Passengers are able to store smaller items in the center console storage tray, slim front door pockets, a medium-sized glove box, and a small storage nook in front of the shift knob.

2020 Infiniti QX50 Luggage Space Infiniti
2020 Infiniti QX50 Luggage Space Seat Folded Infiniti
2020 Infiniti QX50 Rear Angle View 1 Infiniti

QX50 Infotainment and Features

Features

The list of standard features on the 2020 QX50 is an impressive one: the QX50 Pure, the base model of the range, comes with so many modern features resulting in a car that is as practical and comfortable as many mid to high-end models offered by competitors. Standard features on the Pure include LED automatic-on/off headlights, leatherette seating, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with paddle shifters, a ten-way power-adjustable driver's seat and eight-way passenger seat, as well as a dual-zone automatic temperature control system. A standard electronic parking brake, keyless entry with push-button start, and a power rear liftgate makes living with the QX50 a pleasure. Stepping up to the Luxe gets you a power-sliding moonroof, sliding sunshades, roof rails, and LED foglights as well as remote engine start and an auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink. Higher up in the range, heated seats, rain-sensing window wipers, and even tri-zone climate control become available. Standard across the range are driver assistance features such as forward emergency braking, lane departure warning, and more, with numerous optional extras as part of the ProAssist and ProActive packages.

Infotainment

There's no mistaking the QX50 for an Escalade or G-Wagon, but that doesn't mean that this Infiniti SUV doesn't bump. In base form, the QX50 comes fitted with an Infiniti InTouch dual-display system that features upper eight-inch and lower seven-inch touchscreen displays. Infiniti throws in HD radio tech, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, Bluetooth streaming, SiriusXM satellite radio, as well as a six-speaker audio system with AM/FM radio and CD player. The layout of the double display system works well, and the simple fact that you can split the screens for navigation and entertainment has us sold. When you step up to the Essential model, you get advanced features such as Infiniti InTouch navigation with 3D building graphics and a five-year subscription to Premium Traffic and MapCare, SiriusXM Traffic with a three-month trial, SiriusXM Travel Link and 4G LTE Wi-Fi connectivity. If the standard six-speaker sound system isn't cutting it, Sensory and Autograph models offer a Bose Performance Series sound system with 16 speakers, including a subwoofer.

QX50 Problems and Reliability

There have been no recalls issued for the 2020 Infiniti QX50; however, the car was recalled twice in 2019 for an issue with its airbag deployment as well as for a malfunctioning backup camera display. J.D. Power gave the 2019 QX50 an owner-verified reliability score of 77 out of 100, and the consensus seems to be that the QX50 range of cars are reliable and trustworthy steeds for daily driving. Infiniti offers a class-competitive warranty which consists of a four-year/60,000-mile basic warranty, a seven-year/unlimited-mile corrosion warranty, six years or 70,000 miles worth of drivetrain cover, and a four-year/unlimited-mile roadside assistance plan.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    4 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    6 Years \ 70,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    7 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    4 Years \ Unlimited Miles

QX50 Safety

Both the NHTSA and IIHS have put the 2020 QX50 through its paces, and it returned good, but not amazing results. The NHTSA gave the car a full five out of five stars overall, and the QX50 only missed out on full marks in the front side passenger and rollover categories where it scored four out of five stars. The IIHS noted that on the straightaway, headlight visibility was fair on both sides of the road, but on curves, visibility was found to be inadequate. The IIHS only tested the QX50 in two of a possible six tests, thus excluding it from winning a Top Safety Pick award.

US NHTSA crash test result

  • Overall Rating
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
  • Side Crash Rating
  • Rollover Rating

Key Safety Features

The QX50's front line defense is an advanced airbag system that includes dual-stage supplemental front airbags as well as supplemental airbags mounted to the seats and roof for a total of eight airbags. The LED headlights have an auto on/off feature and also get auto high-beam assist. Besides the standard traction and stability control, drivers are helped along by a long list of active safety features: all models are equipped with forward emergency braking with pedestrian detection, predictive forward collision warning, blind-spot warning,

lane departure warning, as well as automatic rear braking, rear cross-traffic alert, and a rearview monitor. Essential models add an available surround-view monitor with moving object detection, and Sensory models add adaptive cruise control, blind-spot intervention, and lane departure warning. Top of the range Autograph models also feature advanced adaptive cruise control with full speed range and auto-resume, a head-up display, direct adaptive steering, and traffic sign recognition.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2020 Infiniti QX50 a good SUV?

Infiniti builds good looking cars, and the QX50 is no different. Compared to rivals such as the Audi Q5, the QX50 looks more emotive and exudes premium presence. The 2020 model car has received two new trim levels, namely the Sensory and Autograph, and the entire range now enjoys standard active driver assistance features such as forward emergency braking with pedestrian detection, predictive forward collision warning, lane departure warning and advanced cruise control, with stop and start function on higher-spec models. Infiniti has made a big deal about their variable compression ratio engine, which can step up or scale down the pressure inside the combustion chamber for increased performance or economy. It's an impressive trick, but it doesn't blow you over, and most owners won't have the slightest clue what it means or does. That being said, the QX50 is decently quick and will prove to be fast enough for the average Joe or Karen. What we love most about this compact SUV is its smooth handling and driving experience, and its plush interior that's not only well put together, but packed with modern tech. Passenger and trunk space is excellent, and the QX50 should prove to be the perfect companion for young and active families who enjoy some of the finer things in life.

🚘What's the Price of the 2020 Infiniti QX50?

The price range of the 2020 QX50 stretches over five trim levels, two drivetrains, and a price range of $18,600, so there are a ton of configurations, and potential buyers shouldn't have any trouble finding the perfect package. The base model starts off with an MSRP of $37,250, which places it right next to the $37,600 Acura RDX, while the German Q5 will cost you a whole $6,050 more at $43,300. Going for the AWD version will add another $2,000 to the asking price. Next in line is the Luxe, which sells for $40,250, followed by the Essential, which will set you back $44,100. Second from the top sits the Sensory, which goes for $48,900, and finally, you get the Autograph, which retails at $53,850 in FWD guise. It's clear to see that the QX50 gets pricey as you climb up the trim ladder and outprices both the Acura and Audi. Fully loaded, the AWD QX50 Autograph will cost you nearly $67,000. The prices mentioned above exclude tax, title, licensing, and options.

2020 Infiniti QX50 Models

Infiniti offers the 2020 QX50 in five different trim levels: Pure, Luxe, Essential, Sensory, and Autograph. All models are powered by the same variable compression 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder developing 268 hp, and all have the choice of FWD or AWD.

The base model Pure includes LED headlights, a ten-way power-adjustable driver's seat, automatic climate control, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto integration, a power rear liftgate, as well as SiriusXM satellite radio and keyless entry. Safety features include lane keep assist, blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, and auto emergency braking.

Luxe models add a power-sliding moonroof, LED foglights, and remote start, among others. Essential models receive even more: you get heated front seats, navigation with SiriusXM supporting services, rain-sensing wipers, a surround-view camera system and more.

The newly added Sensory trim features 20-inch alloy wheels, perforated leather seating, a 16-speaker Bose sound system, distance control assist, as well as adaptive cruise control and lane departure prevention.

The top of the range Autograph model features tri-zone climate control, rear side window sunshades, semi-aniline leather-appointed seats, perforated seating, a head-up display system, direct active steering, and much more.

See All 2020 Infiniti QX50 Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

The package options for 2020 have been slightly reshuffled due to the introduction of two new trim levels, but Infiniti still offers sensible individual options such as the $550 heated seat package or $700 navigation package, which adds integrated navigation with SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link.

The Essential trim car can be fitted with an $800 ProASSIST Package, which adds valuable driver assistance features, such as adaptive cruise control, blind-spot intervention, and cube design LED headlights. On the Sensory, this can be enhanced with the ProACTIVE Package, which adds lane keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, a head-up display, and traffic sign recognition for $1,600.

The $1,600 Convenience Package will add leather seats, with a memory function for the driver, a power-adjustable steering column, and more, while if you need to tow, you'll have to equip the $650 Tow Package on the AWD Autograph.

🚗What Infiniti QX50 Model Should I Buy?

The model lineup for 2020 has been segmented in a way that gives new buyers a wide range of options in terms of spec level, tech, and practicality, but it comes at a price: the price difference between the base model and top tier car is over $16,000, which is a lot in this price range. The base model already offers so much, that most drivers will be happy with settling, but there are some seriously good features that become available higher up in the range, such as adaptive cruise control, navigation, and even direct active steering. The Luxe model, one step above the Pure, adds a few handy features such as an auto-dimming rearview mirror, LED foglights, and a power-sliding moonroof, but it's mostly superficial. For the best balance between price and goodies, look at the Essential, which adds heated front seats, navigation, 4G LTE Wi-Fi connectivity, a front sonar system as well as a surround-view camera system. The Essential can also be equipped with the ProASSIST Package, which adds adaptive cruise control and lane departure prevention, among other featurea.

2020 Infiniti QX50 Comparisons

Acura RDX CarBuzz
Audi Q5
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Infiniti QX50268 hp23/29 mpg$37,250
Acura RDX 272 hp22/28 mpg$37,800
Audi Q5 248 hp22/28 mpg$43,300

2020 Infiniti QX50 vs Acura RDX

The Acura RDX closely matches the offering made by the Infiniti QX50 but takes a slightly different route. At first glance, the RDX has a more rugged-looking exterior and doesn't match the QX50's sleek and premium-looking body styling, which is neither a good or bad thing. Power is provided by a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four engine, which produces 272 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque, which is slightly more than the QX50 despite its fancy variable compression technology. The RDX will consume slightly more fuel though, with estimates of 22/28/24 mpg. Both cars offer good interior space and are closely matched in terms of legroom, but the RDX can't match the Infiniti in terms of cargo space, and its interior also feels less refined. Tech such as Android Auto and Amazon in-car delivery keep it at the forefront, and the AcuraWatch safety system includes similar features to the QX50, such as lane keep assist, road departure mitigation, and more. A fully kitted RDX goes for Around $47,000, which makes it mighty appealing, but the QX50 is the better car overall.

See Acura RDX Review

2020 Infiniti QX50 vs Audi Q5

The conservatively-styled Audi Q5 has been a class-favorite for a while now and is even better now after it received a good number of updates for 2020. The Q5 is powered by a typical turbocharged 2.0-liter four-pot, which produces a rather disappointing 248 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. With a weight disadvantage of nearly 200 pounds, the Q5 will still manage a reasonable 22/28/24 mpg. The interior space of the Q5 is similar to that of the QX50, but the Audi manages to feel even more premium (premium interiors are Audi's game after all), but the Infiniti offers more standard features and a larger trunk. Out on the road, the Audi is more fun to drive, despite its power disadvantage, and makes the QX50 feel disconnected by comparison. The Q5 then is a solid contender and is only let down by its limited standard features and high asking price. Get the QX50.

See Audi Q5 Review

Infiniti QX50 Popular Comparisons

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2020 Infiniti QX50 Video Review

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$37,250 - $55,850
Price Range (MSRP)
Infiniti QX50