Infiniti invited us to visit San Diego, CA to get behind the wheel of the 2016 QX50 crossover and to check out their recently opened design studio. At the studio—which is one of four global design centers dedicated to Infiniti, and not their parent company Nissan—we got a sneak peek at some of the cars that will be announced in the next few months, featuring more focused design and consistently improving interiors.
Hirohisa Ono, a creative design manager who heads up the San Diego studio, shared design highlights of the QX50 and some of the upcoming cars. Tackling the design of mid-range, high volume cars is always one of a designer’s toughest briefs—it’s much easier to make big gestures and statements with concept cars and lower volume top-of-the-line models. The design of the QX50 delivers on its mission though—an evolution of the previous model, which was overhauled in 2014—looks, feels and rides better.
It’s more comfortable now that it’s gained 4.5″ in length and provides greater visibility with nearly an inch in added height. The car’s packages and pricing have been overhauled too, and it now includes much more standard equipment (a power moonroof and heated seats among them) even though its price has been dropped by $550. Most customers will likely add the premium package with the upgraded Bose 11 speaker sound system, climate control, memory seats and maple interiors for just another $500. The QX50 we drove was the All Wheel Drive model, including the three other available packages—the Premium Plus, Deluxe Touring and Technology packages—providing a nav system, a 360 degree camera, 19″ wheels, power folding rear seats and a suite of driver assistance technologies rivaling those commonly found in high end luxury cars.
On the road we were impressed with the quiet cabin and the car’s efficient performance. It handled well in city traffic, highways and on twisty country roads in the hills outside of San Diego. The additional length makes sitting in the back seat much more comfortable and provides additional cargo room as well, most of which comes into play when the rear seats are folded down. Overall we were impressed with the car’s evolution; it delivers practical, well-designed transportation with plenty of style and tech, especially for the price.
Explore the 2016 Infiniti QX50, starting at $34,450. The fully-loaded All Wheel Drive model we tested lands at a very competitive $44,495.
Exterior images by Evan Orensten. Interior image courtesy of Infiniti.