While at first, that sounds worryingly like automotive snake oil, in reality on paper, it’s impressive. A 0 to 60mph time of 6.3 seconds and 143mph top speed aren’t to be sniffed at and while European fuel economy and emissions figures have yet to be homologated, a conversion of the US figures gives an estimate of 35mpg and 187g/km. During some lengthy driving over mountain roads with the air conditioning on, we averaged 28.2mpg meaning that 35mpg isn’t unrealistic.
Eyebrows might raise even further too when you discover that the QX50 also only comes with a CVT automatic gearbox, albeit one that mimics an eight-speed on the road. That might have keen drivers immediately reaching for the crucifix and garlic, but on the road, the QX50’s engine and gearbox seem very well matched during everyday driving conditions.
A gauge between the dials tells you whether the engine is in power or economy mode, but it doesn’t take long before you barely pay it much attention. Much of the reason why is that the engine itself has a decent amount of low down torque and reacts quickly to inputs from your right foot when required. The car itself is pretty refined too with wind and road noise kept well insulated from the cabin and a good ride even on the larger 20in wheels.
All that said, the Infiniti isn’t about to put a smile on your face when a twisty B road is ahead. The steer-by-wire system that Infiniti uses to such advantage with its clever new ProPilot system for semi-autonomous driving has little feel or feedback about what the car is doing beneath you. And while there’s little body roll through corners, that gearbox can suffer from the traditional CVT drone at higher revs, despite the fact that you can negate this a little with the steering wheel gearchange paddles. This isn’t helped by the fact that in Sport mode, it also pipes additional engine noise into the cabin.
But while it’s not perhaps the driver’s choice in the class (though the Lexus NX or Volvo XC60 aren’t exactly what you’d call ‘involving’ either), it can partly make up for that with an excellent interior. Probably the best we’ve ever seen from Infiniti, everything from the fit and finish to the overall design and the materials used is very good. A pair of touch-screens for the sat nav (upper) and infotainment (lower) dominate the cabin and are fairly intuitive to use on the move. There’s also a head-up display, panoramic sunroof, heated and cooled seats and an electric tailgate. An optional 17-speaker Bose stereo is available too.