All models feature a full-colour screen, front and rear visual parking sensors, a 7-speaker audio system with MP3 compatibility, USB/iPod connectivity and 2GB Infiniti Music Box, Bluetooth, keyless entry, electric front seats, dual-zone climate control, 18-inch alloy wheels, heated and folding door mirrors, tinted glass, xenon headlamps and scratch-resistant paint. GT models add electrically adjustable steering wheel and heated leather seats and GT Premium models receive Lane Departure Prevention, intelligent cruise control, high-resolution touch screen, front and rear cameras, 30GB hard-drive navigation with RDS, voice recognition and a DVD reader. Few models at this price offer more as standard.
In a world dominated by square, German 4×4s, the Infiniti QX50 is a breath of fresh air with its rakish coupe body and swooping lines. The front features a bold, chrome grille with a large Infiniti logo and the whole front end looks like a jacked-up sportscar’s. The rear is slightly more awkward, but no less eye-catching. Standard equipment includes 18-inch alloy wheels and paint which can ‘heal’ minor scratches.
Like the outside, the interior is very different from the German models which dominate this market. The curved dashboard gives a luxury car feel, and two out of the three versions in the range offer leather trim as standard. High quality materials abound, and the controls and instrumentation are well-positioned, clear and easy to use.
Two engines are available and both impress, but the petrol version is the model for purists. Its 3.7-litre, 316bhp V6 engine allows the QX50 to reach 62mph in 6.4 seconds. The diesel-engined model’s performance is more than adequate. The 3-litre V6 develops 235bhp and a huge 406lb/ft of pulling power – more than its key rivals – meaning it is good for a 7.9 second 0-62mph time. We found it a little noisy when the car is stationary, but it’s more refined on the move. Only automatic gearboxes are offered, and gearchanges are pleasingly smooth.
Infiniti describes the QX50 as a selfish choice, as thanks to its coupe-like styling, it’s not quite as suited to family car duties as other models, such as the Audi Q5. That said, the driver is provided with a comfortable seating position and visibility at the front and sides is good. Rear cabin space is limited, as is rear visibility, although parking is aided by standard visual parking sensors. With only 340 litres of boot space, the QX50’s load carrying abilities lag behind its rivals. The Infiniti’s electrically folding and rising rear seats are a trump card though.
Although Infiniti is still a relatively new brand to the UK, it is the upmarket division of Nissan, from which it takes many components. The car has been on sale across Europe for a few years, with no major faults reported.
Ride and handling
Despite looking like a 4×4, the Infiniti QX50 puts the sport into Sports Utility Vehicle as it is shamelessly designed for on-road use. And that shows as soon as the speed increases. The suspension is firm, but it copes with rough British roads well, and there’s very little pitching and rolling through bends. The steering is among the most responsive in an SUV, allowing the driver to place the car on the road with confidence. The four-wheel-drive system improves traction, allowing the car to make best use of its potent engines.
The petrol-powered model isn’t for the weak of wallet, returning an average of 25mpg and emitting 265g/km of CO2, which means big road tax bills. The diesel makes more sense, covering 33.2mpg and emitting 224g/km of CO2. Servicing costs will be on par with Audi and Mercedes, and because Infiniti’s dealerships are few and far between, they will collect the car for free (up to 150 miles away) and leave a replacement until work is completed. The list price is more than the equivalent Audi or Volvo, but the amount of standard equipment fitted means the Infiniti is good value.
The Infiniti QX50 hasn’t been put through the EuroNCAP crash test programme, but comes with a reasonable level of safety kit. Six airbags and whiplash-reducing headrests are fitted on all models. The top-of-the-range GT Premium model features lane departure prevention which means should one side of the car veer over a set of white lines, gentle braking brings the car onto the correct side of the road.
The Infiniti QX50 is the SUV for buyers who can’t give up the looks and feel of a coupe. It looks like a tall sportscar and drives like one.