The compact luxury SUV segment is a crowded one — and cutthroat in its competition. Somewhere in that pack is the 2023 Infiniti QX50 Sport. It’s small, luxurious and comfortable in every seat. It also introduces Infiniti’s fancy variable compression engine — to mixed results. It’s a fairly compelling alternative to the standard luxury choices, with preference given to a nice ride, good comfort and unique styling.
Price and value
The QX50 is the most affordable SUV in the Infiniti lineup. The MSRP range for the 2023 Infiniti QX50 is $40,300-$57,350. It is available in five trim levels, with a suite of standard features that includes Nissan’s ProPilot Assist, a wireless charging pad and wireless Apple CarPlay. Some of the major differences in trim levels are noted below. The pricing reflected is for all-wheel drive models.
- Pure: $42,300
Intelligent cruise control
Forward emergency braking with pedestrian detection
Blind spot warning and intervention
- Luxe: $45,600
Memory seat and mirrors
- Sport: $50,500
Sport front fascia with black exterior accents
20-inch black painted and machine-finished wheels
Bose 12-speaker premium audio system
- Sensory: $54,800
Cube design LED headlights
Heated rear seats
Natural maple wood interior trim accents
- Autograph: $57,350
Tri-zone automatic climate control
3,000-pound towing capacity
Quilted semi-aniline leather seating with Ultrasuede
The QX50 is the best value in its lower trims, and our Sport trim tester is probably the most appealing of those. Infiniti offers generous warranty coverage, including a 4-year/60,000-mile basic limited warranty and a 6-year/70,000-mile powertrain limited warranty. Infiniti also covers the first three years of scheduled maintenance.
After a week of driving, one thing became clear: No one will be buying the Infiniti QX50 for its performance. It’s breezy enough, which will be fine for most buyers, but the continuously variable transmission tries its hardest to diminish the driving experience through uneven power delivery and the loud, unrefined sounds it prompts the engine to make.
Infiniti’s included their award-winning variable compression technology in this little turbocharged 4-cylinder (the world’s first), and for the most part it works well and returns decent fuel economy. We averaged about 26 mpg, which is right in line with the Environmental Protection Agency’s combined estimate. The EPA estimates 20/29 mpg for city/highway driving.
The 268 horsepower and 280-pound feet of torque, while decently punchy, are undermined by the rubberband nature of the CVT. The Sport trim’s special styling might look sporty, but don’t be fooled. The QX60 isn’t committed to that persona. Instead, it’s more concerned with a comfy ride and taking it easy.
Acceleration and handling
The steering is a little numb but light, direct and easy to maneuver. Overall handling is not bad, mostly thanks to the QX60’s compact size.
Brake feel is a bit of a letdown, as it seems to modulate inconsistently. They do have better than average bite, though, once they decide to bear down.
Interior comfort and convenience
Here’s where the QX50 shines. If you haven’t been in an Infiniti in a while, it’s done a great job making the interiors feel unique and well-paired to the swoopy lines of the exterior.
The seats are nice and plush — and look amazing in the Sport trim’s optional red leather — and are begging for road trips. The rear bench is comfortable and more spacious than expected. Two adults can comfortably fit back there, even for extended periods. The seating position is high, even with the seat lowered. Average size adults, and especially taller ones, may find it uncomfortable to spend so much time looking almost directly down at the gauge cluster and infotainment screens.
There are several physical buttons for the audio system and climate control. Needless to say, it’s a very confusing setup and we expect it to be a source of frustration to many of Infiniti’s target demographic.
Cargo space and cabin storage
One of the QX50’s best strengths, in addition to its plush seats, soft ride, and rear seat space, is its cargo space. The QX50 boasts 31.4 cubic feet with the second row up and 65.1 cubic feet with the second row folded down, making it one of the most spacious in its class.
There isn’t just one but two infotainment screens, one stacked upon the other. The top screen displays your infotainment, while the bottom houses most of the climate controls. As we said, it’s confusing. At least the Apple CarPlay connection is wireless.
Exterior appearance and functionality
The 2023 model’s appearance is largely the same as the previous year, but the new Sport trim sharpens things up handsomely on the exterior. In general, the QX50 looks distinct enough to separate itself from the rest of the luxury SUV segment.
With the Sport trim you get gloss black exterior trim, a more aggressive front fascia and dark, 20-inch wheels shod with quiet, Bridgestone Ecopia tires.
Cameras and side mirrors
The around view monitor helps ensure your view stays clear in backing up and parking in tight spaces.
Front and rear windshield
Visibility is pretty good. The front windshield is large and provides a panoramic, clear view out of the front.
The QX50 is loaded with safety features and driver-assistance technology. It feels solid and secure in its build quality.
There is no skimping on safety features in the QX50.
- Blind spot intervention
- Lane departure warning
- ProPilot Assist with steering assist and intelligent cruise control
- Blind spot warning
- Rear automatic braking
- Predictive forward collision warning
- Forward emergency braking with pedestrian detection
For a full list, visit Infiniti’s website.
Awards and ratings
Coupled with the long list of safety features are high crash test and safety ratings. The QX50 received Good marks in all but one category tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. It also received a five-star overall safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Previous model years won multiple awards, including three years in a row as the Consumer Guide Automotive Best Buy Award in the Premium Compact Crossover segment.
The 2023 Infiniti QX50 Sport is a bit of a mixed bag. It looks sharp, the interior is comfortable and luxurious, and its historic, variable-compression engine is interesting to toddle around with. However, the CVT weakness looms large here and the dual infotainment screens are aggravating. If you can look past those shortcomings, though, there is plenty to like about the QX50 Sport. We especially like the seats and cargo room. We recommend the Sport trim, which looks the best and is a nice balance of all the offerings.
Find all new Infiniti QX50 listings on KSL Cars.
Is the QX50 fun to drive?
Kind of. The 280 pound-feet of torque is definitely fun — when the CVT allows it. But the transmission is so rubberband like in this car, it’s hard to drive the QX50 too spiritedly.
Who is the QX50 for?
If you’re looking for a compact luxury that is comfortable, spacious, safe, economical and not one of the usual luxury suspects, the QX50 is definitely worth your consideration.
KSL Cars does not endorse any vehicles. The views or opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer and do not reflect the views or opinions of KSL.com or its employees.