How do you improve on a good thing? You go back to the drawing board, keep what’s good and improve on what has been an issue. It’s a competitive market out there and if you stand still, you get left standing on the side of the road. Infiniti has redesigned with the QX50 luxury SUV and it’s better than the outgoing model in one significant way.
Models never get smaller, they just keep getting bigger and in the QX50’s case, it’s a good thing. This week we test drove the 2016 Infiniti QX50 3.7L V6 RWD model with a ton of options added in.
What’s New For 2016?
The 2016 Infiniti QX50 features a longer body, dramatically enhancing comfort for rear seat passengers. There are two trim levels now, plus rear-wheel and all-wheel drive options. Outside, the QX50 gets a resulted grille, new LED fog lamps, daytime running lights, and door mirrors with LED turn-signal indicators. Ride height has been increased by nearly an inch and the Premium Plus package is new this year.
Features & Options
Our Infiniti QX50 tester ($34,450) had rear-wheel drive. Standard features included a rearview camera, leather seats, power driver’s seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, six-speaker audio with CD/MP3, satellite radio, and Bluetooth capability.
Our tester also had a moonroof, pushbutton start, and 18-inch aluminum wheels.
A Premium package ($500) added Bose 11-speaker audio, maple wood trim, and driver’s memory. A Technology Package ($2,750) adds several safety-tech features, including lane-departure and forward-collision warnings, plus intelligent cruise control. The new Premium Plus package ($2,000) adds navigation, parking sensors, and surround-view cameras. The Deluxe Touring ($2,400) added 19-inch wheels, HID xenon headlights, adaptive headlights, 8-way power passenger front seat, 2-way power driver lumbar, and power-up 2nd row seat.
Total MSRP including destination: $43,535.
Infiniti’s redesign of the QX50 luxury SUV is better inside than the outgoing model in one significant way. Engineers added 3.2 inches to the wheelbase, making the rear seat a more comfortable place for adults to spend time. Previously, the back seat wasn’t suitable for four adults. Now, total interior space has grown, especially rear-seat knee room, which Infiniti claims is 3.9 more inches.
The front seats continue to offer plenty of room with comfortable bolstering.
Behind the second row is 18.3 cubic feet of cargo space. This tester came with the optional power-up 2nd row seat that requires merely touching a button to increase cargo volume to 50 cubic feet.
The cabin is sophisticated with rich leather tones and soft contours throughout. The optional navigation brings a 7-inch VGA color touchscreen, lane guidance, 3D graphics, real-time traffic/weather information, and voice recognition.
Engine & Fuel Mileage Specs
Under the hood of the Infiniti QX50 is a 3.7-liter V6 engine producing 325 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. It comes mated to an excellent 7-speed automatic transmission that drives the rear wheels. The QX50 gets an EPA-estimated 17/24 mpg city/highway and 20 combined mpg.
Fuel mileage has gone up even with the added length.
On the driving dynamics scale, the QX50 dials up driver engagement closer to a sports sedan more than an SUV. Infiniti QX50 excels with its handling prowess and ride comfort in one driver focused package. QX50 gets its sporty nature from the Nissan 370Z sports car and Infiniti’s own Q50 sports sedan.
We powered the SUV through tight mountain curves near Evergreen without excessive dive or body lean. Overall, the ride and handling dynamics are superior over most other SUVs in this class. Four-wheel disc brakes helped us stop decisively when we needed to come to a halt suddenly too.
A deer crossed the road right in front of us unexpectedly!
The longer wheel base has smoothed out the ride on the open road and given it a more luxurious ride. The peppy 3.7-liter V6 never felt short of power as we motored up the interstate, into the mountains, at elevation. We found the 3.7 is well-matched to the 7-speed automatic. The automatic gearbox features a manual shift mode with rev-matching that offers quicker shifts but paddle shifters are not available.
Our only complaint is that when we pressed the Infiniti QX50 hard, the V6 sounds louder than expected inside the cabin for a luxury vehicle.
We did have an issue with this tester being a rear drive vehicle. We experienced a snowstorm in the mountains, west of Denver, and had to park the QX50 for the day after just making it home. Infiniti offers AWD in the QX50 and it’s a must for those living in northern climates.
The 2016 Infiniti QX50 gets needed improvements in interior space, making it more comfortable for adults to spend time in the back seat. The driving dynamics are close to that of sports sedan and will offer driving enthusiasts a fun to drive, family SUV.
There’s plenty of option packages for any need and the new Premium Plus package represents a good value.
*Denis Flierl has invested over 25 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. Follow his work on Twitter: @CarReviewGuy