Luxury brand Infiniti’s most affordable SUV, the five-passenger compact QX50, has a variety of upgrades for 2022.
Wireless Apple CarPlay and Infiniti’s ProPilot Assist group of advanced driver-assistance tech are now standard on all five QX50 trim levels. Also standard across the board are a USB-C charge port for rear-seat passengers, and keyless entry for the rear doors along with LED welcome lights on the their handles.
The five QX50 models are named Pure, Luxe, Essential, Sensory, and Autograph. The top-level Autograph comes standard with all-wheel drive while the others have standard front-wheel drive and the option of AWD for $2,000.
Pricing starts at $40,175 including a $1,025 destination charge for the Pure model with front-wheel drive. There’s nothing austere about the base Pure model. It’s still an Infiniti, after all. The only features the Pure doesn’t have that are standard on every other model are front LED foglights, heated outside mirrors, a panoramic moonroof, heated front seats, and roof rails. The power lumbar adjustment for its driver’s seat is two-way but the others have four-way. And the others have leather seats but Pure has leatherette, which some people would prefer anyway.
I drove the Essential model with AWD, priced at $49,975. It adds the missing features of the Pure (they’re included on the Luxe trim) plus rain-sensing wipers, a heated and power-adjustable steering wheel, ventilated front seats, a surround view camera, navigation, and a premium Bose audio system with 16 speakers and the rare presence of a CD/DVD player.
The dual-screen infotainment system gives navigation its own turf, which can help or hinder depending on operator acuity, but the system’s overall learning curve is a bit too vertical.
All QX50 models are powered by a turbocharged 268-horsepower four-cylinder engine generating 280 pound-feet of torque and good get-up-and-go. Its continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is the weaker partner in the relationship.
Fuel economy ratings for a QX50 with front-wheel drive are 23 mpg city, 29 mpg highway, and 26 mpg combined. With AWD the numbers are 22/28/25. QX50’s interior is a comforting environment. Passenger space is generous, noise coming from outside is minimal, and jarring is nonexistent at highway speeds.
2022 INFINITI QX50 ESSENTIAL AWD
Base price, including destination charge: $49,975
Price as driven: $49,975
Mary Lowry is a member of the Motor Press Guild and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. She lives in Snohomish County. Vehicles are provided by automotive manufacturers as a one-week loan for evaluation purposes only. Manufacturers do not control content of the reviews.