A closer look inside Infiniti’s most high-tech crossover
It has been a decade since Infiniti completely redesigned its compact crossover, now called the QX50, and despite a number of updates in the interim, the interior has looked dated compared to rivals. That is until now, because the 2019 model year ushers in a new generation. Eschewing the austerity of some of its competitors, including Audi and BMW, the QX50 ventures for a bolder look. That’s especially true of our loaded tester, the top-trim Essential model with the Autograph package. How does the QX50 stack up in its segment when it comes to interior refinement? Let’s take a closer look below.
Interested in the QX50 First Test review? Read it here.
On the $2,000 Autograph package, which requires adding $8,050 in other optional package equipment, the QX50 bathes passengers in special materials, including white semi-aniline leather seats with a quilted stitch. On the side of the seats, Infiniti added extra visual interest with special piping. Comfortable yet not overly plush, the seats look equally attractive in the front and back rows. On the dash, you’ll also find brown leather as well as blue Ultrasuede, a suedelike artificial leather material that feels close enough to the real thing. Wood trim can go wrong very quickly inside luxury cars, but it doesn’t on the QX50. Real maple wood complements aluminum accents on our tester, creating a natural yet modern look. All these materials—the brown leather, Ultrasuede, and wood accents—run in a clean line from one door, across the dashboard, to the other door in an inviting wraparound cabin design.
Two screens are better than one?
Some automakers seem to think two infotainment screens are better than one. Like offerings from Acura, the Infiniti QX50 has two center screens, with the highest serving as a navigation screen and the lowest as your traditional control screen. Infiniti does it better, because the screens are responsive to touch. Although it feels like overkill, at least you won’t confuse one screen with the other, as they have distinct functions. Fortunately, there are still physical climate controls on either side of the lower screen to control temperatures, volume, and tuning stations. If you’re not into touchscreens, you can also use a rotary controller on the center console.
Just about everyone who sat in the passenger seat during my time with the QX50 marveled at Infiniti’s Around View Monitor. When parking, the system, aided by four cameras, provides a bird’s-eye view of the vehicle on the top screen as it backs into a spot. The clear display is complemented by other views of your surroundings, as well as by parking sensors.
Let’s shift gears for a bit
The QX50’s shift knob looks pleasant with aluminum accents and a leather covering. It’s much shorter and less obtrusive than the shifter on the old QX50, and it has been positioned close to the driver’s right hand. It shifts smoothly with little effort. However, if you’re a fan of shifters with distinct notches between the gears, you might not be a fan of this unit.
Space & Storage
Overall, the back seat is more spacious than before. Updated for 2019, the QX50 features reclining rear seats that also slide and fold relatively flat. The cargo area is also spacious, and an underfloor storage compartment opens up even more space.
Up front, there are just a few storage cubbies, including a spacious center console and the usual door pockets. In European fashion, cupholders just above the shifter are hidden by a covering when not in use. But Infiniti could have made room for more storage cubbies if it had one infotainment screen instead of two.
The QX50 comes with an expansive panoramic moonroof as standard equipment on our Essential model. It has power open, close, and tilt functionality, as well as a power sunshade. If you look up, you’ll also notice the model receives a soft brown Ultrasuede headliner. It’s optional, of course, part of a $7,500 Sensory package that’s required when opting for the aforementioned Autograph package.
Worth it for the price?
The unique interior elements from the Autograph package make the Infiniti stand out from rivals. With that offering—and almost every other package available—our loaded top-trim model rang out to a total of $57,900.
The top-trim Essential AWD model comes standard with tri-zone auto climate control, leather seats, navigation, and packages tacked on a 16-speaker Bose sound system with subwoofer, head-up display, ProPilot Assist cruise control and steer assist, climate-controlled front seats, and a heated steering wheel. The price is competitive with similarly equipped top-trim versions of the BMW X3 and Audi Q5. But unlike some rivals in the segment, the QX50 doesn’t offer Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, a fully digital instrument cluster, or more than eight-way power adjustability for the front seats. We don’t think it’s a bad price for a luxury crossover that looks good inside and out and drives pretty well, too.