All eyes are drawn to the Infiniti QX50, which reportedly boasts one of the best-performing engines in the VC-Turbo. Plus, the exterior is stylish and head-turning. But does this vehicle offer much else to justify its price?
In fact, the folks at MotorTrend have some mixed feelings about it. They like the QX50 enough to name it one of their best compact luxury SUVs. However, some negative points suppress their excitement.
How the VC-Turbo engine is making a name for itself in the Infiniti QX50
Infiniti’s VC-Turbo engine — a turbocharged inline-4 — is a revolutionary combustion motor that takes power to a whole new level. The compression engine offers a way to switch from maximizing speed to maximizing fuel efficiency, depending upon what’s desired at the moment.
The Infiniti QX50 offers this technology in a 2.0-liter turbo-four, harnessing 268 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. If you’re concerned it won’t be quick because it’s fuel-efficient, you need not worry. The QX50 can reach 60 mph in 6.3 seconds.
As for drivetrains, front-wheel drive comes standard, but all-wheel drive is available on all trims. And as for fuel economy, the EPA estimates the QX50 can get 23 mpg in the city, 29 on the highway, and 26 mpg combined.
But here’s how the engine falls short
The variable compression engine is by far one of the automotive world’s best creations. However, it’s not without drawbacks. In this case, the Infiniti QX50 would do well if it had a different transmission.
The current QX50 pairs the VC-Turbo with a continuously variable transmission. MotorTrend’s reviewers noted the combination caused some weird surging during their testing. They also thought its overall performance made the powertrain seem “rubbery.”
They were was displeased with its inconsistent responses to their inputs and the bungee-like acceleration. Another area they didn’t like was the fuel economy. Though Infiniti boasts this engine can save gas, the actual numbers weren’t as great as they could have been, which hasn’t changed in the past couple of models.
Pros and cons of the 2021 Infiniti QX50
The powertrain aside, the Infiniti QX50 isn’t bad. MotorTrend’s testers liked its smooth ride when the CVT’s surging didn’t get in the way. They also thought the interior was chock full of high-quality materials, making it a comfortable ride even on long trips.
Another perk is something Infiniti made standard on this model year. Buyers can add the ProPilot semiautonomous system on the QX50 Luxe trims and up without paying too much. This feature has impressed many reviewers, prompting some to call the QX50 a “La-Z-Boy on wheels. “
The only drawback to the semiautonomous system is that you can’t get it with the lower trims. You must upgrade to the higher trims to have it added. Unfortunately, this and the CVT surging aren’t the only negatives MotorTrend noted about this crossover.
The infotainment system is another area that could use some major tweaking to make it useful and not a pit of frustration. Not only is it too complicated to use, but it’s also glitchy, and response times are pretty slow. MotorTrend’s testers reported they never really figured out how to use the system well enough to make it worthwhile.
Overall, the QX50 could be a game-changer if Infiniti made improvements to the transmission and infotainment system. But for now, MotorTrend recommends skipping this model year and hoping for a newer one with the kinks worked out.