The 2020 Infiniti QX50 luxury compact SUV is available in five trim levels: Pure, Luxe, Essential, Sensory, and Autograph. (Manufacturer photo)

The 2020 Infiniti QX50 luxury compact SUV is available in five trim levels: Pure, Luxe, Essential, Sensory, and Autograph. (Manufacturer photo)

2020 Infiniti QX50 luxury SUV specializes in passenger contentment

Newly added connectivity and driver-assist technology bring this five-passenger compact up to speed.

After a comprehensive redesign for 2019, the Infiniti QX50 luxury compact SUV gets a number of new add-ons for 2020, including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as standard on all trim levels.

The updated infotainment system has a dual-screen design, and all models now have an array of driver-assist features including blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, forward emergency braking, and rear cross traffic alert.

There has been some rearranging of content and name revisions for a few of the optional equipment packages, and Mocha Almond is the name of a new paint color for 2020.

Two new trim levels have been added at the higher end of the lineup, bringing the total to five: Pure, Luxe, Essential, Sensory, and Autograph. All are available with front-wheel or all-wheel drive.

Pricing with destination starts at $38,275 for the Pure trim with front-wheel drive, and maxes at $56,875 for an AWD Autograph. All-wheel drive is a $2,000 option across the board.

I drove the mid-level Essential model with all-wheel drive, priced at $47,125. It was equipped with an optional ($1,200) Edition 30 appearance package adding 20-inch wheels, dark chrome exterior accents, black outside mirror caps, and several other visually enhancing touches.

The QX50 Pure model is well equipped with attractive features. The Luxe model adds a panoramic moonroof, LED fog lamps, roof rails, auto-dimming rearview mirror and more. Moving up to the Essential trim includes Infiniti’s InTouch infotainment and connectivity system with navigation, a 360-degree view monitor with moving object detection, heated outside mirrors, heated front seats, and front parking sensors.

The Infiniti QX50 has roomy seating for five, and its rear cargo area is large – a tad more than 31 cubic feet with rear seats in upright position and 65 cubic feet with seats folded. Sliding second row seats increase the cabin’s flexibility, and the cargo floor is level with the rear bumper, which means heavy and bulky items can be simply slid out rather than having to be lifted first. There’s a hidden storage compartment beneath the floor. Second row seats also recline for increased passenger comfort.

Every QX50 is powered by Infiniti’s unique VC-Turbo engine, a 2.0-liter four cylinder turbocharged gasoline engine that uses variable compression, continually adjusting its compression ratio to optimize power and fuel efficiency. Transitions between high pressure and low pressure are seamless.

The engine is paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) and produces 268 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. Engine performance doesn’t induce excitement, but it’s perfectly fine, not anemic.

Fuel economy ratings for the QX50 with AWD are 22 mpg city, 28 mpg highway, and 25 mpg combined. Premium gasoline is recommended.

Passenger contentment predominates in the QX50. Seats are luxuriously comfortable and I loved the Essential’s leatherette seat material. Rugged but supple, it provides the characteristics of leather without leather’s negative aspects.

At the risk of sounding like an insufferable brat, I was disappointed by the lack of a heated steering wheel and having to resort to something as primitive as mittens.

QX50’s ride over rough and uneven roads is princely, and during a week rife with snowy and icy conditions throughout Snohomish County, my QX50 was a real trouper.

2020 INFINITI QX50 ESSENTIAL AWD

Base price, including destination charge: $47,125

Price as driven: $49,630

Mary Lowry is an independent automotive writer who lives in Snohomish County. She is a member of the Motor Press Guild, and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturers as a one-week loan for review purposes only. In no way do the manufacturers control the content of the reviews.

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