We drove a $50,000 Infiniti QX50 luxury SUV to see if it’s ready to rival Audi, Acura, and BMW. Here’s the verdict.

Infiniti QX50 10

  • The 2019 Infiniti QX50 is one of the latest contenders in the compact luxury crossover and SUV market. 
  • Its rivals in the market include the Acura RDX, Audi Q5, BMW X3, Lexus NX, and Mercedes-Benz GLC. 
  • Power for the QX50 comes from a 268 horsepower, turbocharged, variable compression ratio, four-cylinder engine.
  • The QX50 is the first production model to feature a variable compression ratio engine. 
  • We were impressed by the QX50 stylish design, comfortable cabin, innovative engine, and available drivers assistance technology. 
  • However, we were less than enthused by its unrefined transmission programming and arcane infotainment system.
  • The base 2019 Infiniti QX50 Pure in front-wheel-drive starts at $36,550, however, our 2019 QX50 Essential AWD came to an as-tested price of $49,685.

The compact luxury SUV is a relatively recent development. It’s a genre of vehicle that didn’t really exist until the early 2000s and yet it’s now the single largest segment of the US luxury auto market. According to data from Kelley Blue Book, US consumers have purchased or leased more than 563,000 compact luxury crossovers/SUVs over the first 11 months of 2018. That’s up more than 20% over the same period in 2017.

The segment may be substantial, but so is the competition.  

There is a myriad of recently released options from leading luxury car makers ranging from Audi and BMW to Acura and Lexus. 

Read more: We drove an $81,000 Porsche Macan GTS to see if it’s a sports car in an SUV body — here’s the verdict.

Now, Infiniti has unleashed its new entry into the segment. The second-generation, Mexican-built QX50 hit showrooms in 2018 as a 2019 model. It’s the replacement for the long-serving first-generation QX50, which debuted back in 2007 as the Infiniti EX and was more than due for retirement. 

The new QX50 is also the first production car to be equipped with a variable compression ratio engine. The use of various compression or VC technology allows the QX50 to physically change the engine’s performance characteristics on demand to maximize power and fuel efficiency. 

Recently, we got the chance to spend some quality time with a new silver QX50 over the period of a week. 

The base 2019 Infiniti QX50 Pure in front-wheel-drive starts at $36,550. The mid-grade Luxe trim starts at $39,400. Our top-of-the-line QX50 Essential starts at $43,350. All-wheel-drive is available on all trim levels as $1,800 option. With options and fees, our 2019 QX50 Essential AWD came to an as-tested price of $49,685.

Here’s a closer look at the 2019 Infiniti QX50. 

SEE ALSO: We drove a $65,000 Audi Q7 and a $60,000 Volvo XC90 to find out which one is a better luxury SUV — here’s the verdict

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Here it is! Our second generation 2019 Infiniti QX50 test car.

It replaced the long-serving first-generation QX50 that began life more than a decade ago as the EX.

In the Infiniti line up, the QX50 slots in above the Mercedes GLA-derived QX30 crossover and…

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