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Introduction

The 2019 Infiniti QX50 cloaks breakthrough technology in a stylish new crossover body. Infiniti claims the QX50 has the most advanced gasoline engine in the world, while it also promises a big leap forward in comfort and performance.

Built on a new platform, the second-generation QX50 luxury mid-size crossover blends good looks with a spacious interior and advanced safety technology. Its new 2.0-liter turbo-4 engine sports variable compression-ratio technology that can deliver more power and better economy, it says, and its ProPilot Assist driver-assistance technology for 2019 can help steer and brake the car as a backup to the driver’s inputs.

The new 2.0-liter turbo-4 can vary how much power it delivers, based upon changing power demands. Although the system is complex, it operates seamlessly from the driver’s perspective. On paper it delivers a 30-percent improvement in fuel economy versus the previous QX50, and makes 268 horsepower, versus 325 horsepower in the outgoing V-6 engine. Torque output is 280 pound-feet, compared to 267 lb-ft in the former version.

Pure, Luxe, and Essential trim levels are offered. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) is standard.

Few crash-test results are available. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash-tested the QX50 only in part, giving “Good” ratings for moderate front overlap and side-impact collisions. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not tested the current QX50.

Forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking are now standard on all QX50s. Blind-spot monitors are standard on mid-level Luxe trim and above. Other active-safety features are available on top trim levels, split into two option packages.

One package adds adaptive cruise control and parking sensors. The second, called ProPilot Assist, focuses on semi-autonomous technology. ProPilot Assist can help keep the vehicle inside a lane at lower speeds, but requires constant driver attention, and is able to function only with clearly visible lane markings, on uninterrupted stretches of open road. The option package includes active lane control and automatic parking assist.

In addition to Infiniti’s suite of active safety systems, options include Bose premium audio and 20-inch wheels.

Model Lineup

Prices do not include $995 destination charge.

Pure ($36,550 with front-drive, $38,350 with all-wheel drive) is equipped with 19-inch alloy wheels, synthetic leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control, pushbutton start, Bluetooth connectivity, power front seats, and a dual-screen infotainment system. Forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking also are included.

Luxe ($39,400 with FWD, $41,200 with AWD) adds blind-spot monitors, a panoramic moonroof, LED foglights, and roof rails.

Essential ($43,350 with FWD, $45,150 with AWD) comes with leather upholstery, tri-zone climate control, a motion-activated liftgate, navigation, a surround-view camera system, front/rear parking sensors, and remote start.

Walkaround

To create the QX50, designers borrowed elements from other Infiniti vehicles. They took dramatically kinked roof pillars, an open double-arch grille, bulging hood and sculpted nose, and wrapped them into a familiar crossover profile. A big badge rounds out the front end.

Handsome when viewed from nearly every angle, the 2019 QX50 exemplifies Infiniti’s latest design direction. As seen from the left or right rear, available light dips and ducks around the doors. This phenomenon breaks up the body’s large stretches of sheetmetal.

Interior

Comfortable seats complement a stitched dashboard in the QX50, helping to illustrate the company’s elegant styling direction. Some might call the result simply gorgeous. Top trim levels step even further into classy elegance, employing diamond-stitched, natural leather with suede inserts. Open-pore wood adds an extra helping of style.

Five adults may be seated in comfort, with sufficient space for gear. Everyone gets a good seating position. Sliding rear seats provide up to 38.7 inches of stretch-out leg space, topping its class.

Front seats are better yet, using high-density foam borrowed from Nissan ΓÇô Infiniti’s parent company. Wrapped in high-quality materials, the supportive front seats are amply adjustable. Top trim levels get heated and cooled seats with memory settings.

The whisper-quiet cabin is particularly impressive, conveying a sense of serenity. Standard noise cancellation, provided by Bose, help in that quest for silence, insulating the cabin from the busy turbo-4 engine.

If anything, Infiniti’s frustrating dual-screen infotainment system detracts from the overall elegance. The stacked 8.0- and 7.0-inch screens share duties for navigation, settings, and radio. No alternative from Apple (CarPlay) or Android (Android Auto) is provided.

With rear seatbacks upright, cargo space totals 31.4 cubic feet. Fold those seats and volume expands to 64.4 cubic feet.

Driving Impressions

Excellent new powertrain technology might not be visible, but it makes the biggest impression ΓÇô especially in terms of sharply improved gas mileage.

The new turbo-4’s variable-compression system can save fuel or deliver more power, with no action by the driver. Most drivers will observe greater low-speed power, but less energy high in the engine’s rev range. Helped by manual mode with eight simulated gears, the CVT lacks the rubber-band effect that used to be common to those transmissions. Sport mode lets the CVT hold ratios longer, permitting engine braking on long downgrades.

Because the suspension is tuned toward comfort, a QX50 can lean and roll through corners. That doesn’t mean it’s sloppy. Each QX50 adeptly absorbs pavement flaws.

Most QX50s retain a conventional steering setup, but upper trim levels may have a steer-by-wire system. It feels more natural than some similar systems, and is required on QX50s with Infiniti’s suite of active safety features.

Despite being just as big and almost as swift as its predecessor, the 2019 QX50 is considerably more thrifty, thanks to its innovative new powertrain. The all-wheel-drive QX50 is EPA-rated at 24/30 mpg City/Highway, or 26 mpg Combined. Front-wheel drive fares slight better, EPA-rated at 24/31/27 mpg Premium gasoline is required.

Summary

Not only is the 2019 QX50 beautiful, inside and out, it’s abundantly equipped. Even the base model doesn’t skimp on features, while upper trim levels deliver strong value.

Driving impressions by The Car Connection. James M. Flammang contributed to this report.

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