The $50,000 luxury SUV space has some of the hottest SUVs on the market. Audi, Volvo, Genesis, Acura and BMW are all fighting hard to compete. In 2022, Infiniti redesigned the aging QX60 to compete, and it brought some serious luxury touches to the space, along with generous cargo ability and a powerful V6. Can it compete with alternatives from other brands in the $50,000 SUV space?
The QX60 grew up for 2022
After taking some time to update much of its product line, Infiniti dove back in last year and completely redesigned the QX60. The all-new QX60 SUV has the same basic platform as the new Nissan Pathfinder, but it gets a host of improvements that make it worth of the Infiniti badge. The Infiniti still has the old 3.5-liter V6, but with 295 horsepower there’s not lot to fault it, especially when it gets paired with a new nine-speed auto. Unlike the others on this list, though, the Infiniti has three rows, so it can seat six or seven passengers.
For the 2023 QX60, Infiniti didn’t see much of a need to update the QX60. The big addition is wireless charging in the front, while the mirror and bumpers got cosmetic upgrades. The Infiniti hold s a massive 75.4 cubic feet of luggage with the seats down.
The Volvo XC60 is the Swedish alternative for less than $50,000
Sometimes, you just want to make a statement and the Volvo XC60 certainly does. While the Infiniti is full of soft-touch leather and rich-looking wood, the Volvo uses brushed stainless steel and piano black touches. For a base price of $44,745 you get a long list of standard features, but that means you can also add a lot to this SUV and still stay below $50,000. But it’s outgunned by the Infiniti, with its standard 247-horsepower engine and limited 63.3 cubic feet of space, which is great for a variety of passengers even the four-legged kind.
Genesis GV70 is the new kid on the block
The new brand Genesis launched the new GV70 SUV to bring a lot of value to the midsize luxury SUV world. While its nameplate doesn’t carry the same wow factor that, say, a BMW does yet, those in the know, know. The Genesis outguns competitors in the engine bay with its 300-horsepower V6. It also brings a lot of value; with the upgraded Select trim, you can still stay far south of $50,000 and get heated/ventilated seats with a heated steering wheel.
The interior of the GV70 is also funky, with a spear of chrome jutting across the dash that houses the HVAC controls, with a large horizontal touch screen perched above. It’s unconventional, but like the XC60, Genesis does things its own way to stand out in a crowded, and competitive, market. However, it only holds 56.86 cubic feet of stuff underneath its stylish hatch.
The Acura RDX is the reliable alternative
Take a look at the rating agencies, and on site after site, you’ll see the RDX topping the reliability scores. Toss in a powerful 272-horsepower V6, and a healthy 59 cubic feet of storage and it’s tough to beat an RDX. The A-Spec version adds some performance and appearance upgrades, while the Advance and Technology add more goodies. The center stack is full of buttons and switches in the Acura that make it feel more like a helicopter gunship when you’re driving it than a grocery getter.
The BMW X3 is BMW’s best-selling alternative
In many ways, the BMW X3 is hard to fault. It’s sporty, it holds a lot of cargo, and it carries the important BMW badge on the grille, if you care about those things. In 2022, the X3 got a big update that added size all around and the wheelbase was expanded. The big news was the addition of a 48-volt mild hybrid system in the X3 M40i version. The X3 comes in X3 sDrive30i, X3 xDrive30i, and X3 M40i trims, and starts at MSRP $45,400 for sDrive, or $47,400 for the all-wheel drive xDrive.
It holds 62.7 square feet of luggage in the back, which means it’s within a couple of inches of cargo space of the XC60, but a lot less than the Infiniti. It does, however, come close to the RDX’s reliability scores at J.D. Power.
The Audi Q5 is a smaller but sportier alternative
Audi sells more Q5 SUVs than any other because it checks a lot of the right boxes, and starts at $43,500. Unlike the Infiniti, it comes with all-wheel drive, in this case Audi’s quattro system, standard. It was launched in 2009 and saw a significant update for 2018, then a small refresh in 2021. It now has several new trim options. The Q5 has three engine options, and handling that belies its tall stance.
The Q5 seats five and has a dual-clutch automated gearbox, which is quicker shifting than the competitors’ automatics, quattro all-wheel drive, and more. Many reviewers give the 2023 Q5 high marks for performance and reliability. If you need to carry stuff, though, the Infiniti may be a better choice. The Audi holds just 54.0 cubic feet of stuff when the seats are folded.