Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


YESTERDAY IN Part 1, I discussed the new Infiniti QX50’s impressive VC-Turbo engine, as in variable-compression-ratio turbo. Today in Part 2, I assess several of the QX50’s other 2019 virtues in perspective with those of our 2012 Honda Crosstour.

A visit to the Crystal Cove Shake Shack is de rigueur.

The Bottom Line First. Infiniti’s QX50 crossover comes in three levels: Pure, starting at $37,545; Luxe, at $40,395; and Essential at $43,350. Demo vehicles are purposely heavily optioned, all the better to display their manufacturer’s wares.

Our QX50 had an MSRP of $55,620, the addition including a Sensory Package ($7500 of luxury, convenience, and performance spiffs, things like leather seating, the front seats heated and cooled, a 16-speaker Bose Performance Series audio, motion-actuated liftgate, P255/45-R20 low-profile tires, and 14 other features), a ProActive Package ($2000 of ProPilot Assist, Intelligent Cruise Control with Full Speed Range and Hold, Lane Departure Warning and Prevention, Blind Spot Intervention, and several other safety features), and a ProAssist Package ($550 of Backup Collision Intervention, Distance Control Assist, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert). Our QX50’s Exclusive metallic red ($800) and Welcome Lighting ($425) completed the Monroney total.

This QX50 was similar to, though not identical with, the car evaluated by online for October 2018. Though they are evidently more au courant with all new cars, I was pleased to read a lot of concurrence of opinion concerning the QX50.

Spiffy, If a Bit Lumpy. Like most new cars, to my eye the QX50 tends toward what journalist colleague Michael Jordan once called “an excess of surface excitement.” I suspect these abundances of contouring help quell any drumming of exterior panels responding to that Bose super system. I cannot really criticize the QX50 for some of the lumps and geegaws, though its rear-quarter window zig-zags are perhaps un peu trop.

Not that our own Crosstour hasn’t been criticized for its big butt. But then who am I to talk?

Besides, at first I thought I didn’t like the QX50’s blacked-out alloy wheels, but I came to appreciate their style.

QX50 Dynamics. I am mightily impressed by Infiniti’s VC-Turbo and its accompanying CVT transmission. There’s seamless power a’plenty, with paddles for up- and down-shifting. True, the paddles’ selection of ratios are artificially defined, but no matter if you’re into such on-the-road entertainment. Me? I tried them a few times, but preferred seamless progress.

C/D reported a 0-60 time of 6.4 seconds. I report the QX50 is more spirited than our Crosstour.

The car features Infiniti’s steer by wire, which integrates with Lane Departure Prevention and the like. Alas, to me, it has an on-center deadness that feels like a classic rack and pinion system with a rubberized rack. C/D does not disagree.

However, commendably, the QX50’s 18.2-ft. turning radius is somewhat tidier than the Crosstour’s 20.1 ft. I thought this might have been traceable to a difference in wheelbase, but indeed, the Crosstour’s is 110.1 in.; the QX50’s, 110.2 in. The QX50’s parking and U-turn capabilities go deeper than this.

My Head Scrape Test. To quote the SimanaitisSays 2012 Honda Crosstour evaluation, “In fact, I’ve driven more than a thousand cars in my life, and quite a few require a degree of agility—and a trace of hair scraped onto the door opening—when getting in or out. I’m just a tad under 6 ft., but with a long torso and, as the years have passed, a crickety back.”

The QX50 easily passed the Head Scrape Test.

Ingress/egress is no problem whatsoever with the QX50. Once within, seating is a bit higher off the road than in the Crosstour; more SUVish. There’s plenty of room, front or rear. That is, I can easily “sit behind myself.”

The Smudge Factor. One attraction of the Crosstour to me is its buttons. However, more’s the pity, many of today’s cars access their multiplicity of menus through touchscreens. The QX50’s is large and stacked immediately below the nav map.

After no more than setting my SiriusXM preferences and synching my iPhone (both, easy-peasy), under certain reflections the QX50’s touchscreen looked like a forensic expert’s dusting of a crime-scene brandy goblet.

Luddite that I am, I prefer buttons. Or maybe I need to buy a pair of white cotton gloves as worn by Japanese taxidrivers.

Unexpected Tech Treats. Initially, I didn’t think the Motion Actuated Liftgate was a big deal. However, it proved handy more than once. The rear cargo volume is ample, by the way.

I confess I used to think a bird’s-eye Around View Monitor was just a novelty. However, I found this easily accessed top view useful in maneuvering between our Crosstour and the lawn sprinklers.

Semi-Autonomous Aspects. At the touch of a button, the QX50’s ProPilot Assist will even perform an autonomous full stop in stop-and-go traffic. It also mitigates tail-gating (mea cupla, according to Wife Dottie) and other close encounters.

I experimented with ProPilot Assist, but for me such driver aids would require more trust—and a different wife. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2018


  1. jlalbrecht64
    October 13, 2018

    I bought the “bird’s eye” view upgrade on my BMW in 2013 and I also wondered if it was worth the money. Our tight garage space convinced me within a couple months that it was well worth the extra money. Conversely, our son moved into a flat with a garage last year. He picked his grandparents better than I did, as he got a new VW Polo from his grandmother. It has a backup warning but no birds-eye monitor. His garage space has a big pole offset on one side, making for a tricky entrance. As a result, for lack of a few hundred extra Euros (and parking experience), he ends up parking on the street instead of in a nice garage.

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