Thursday, February 1, 2018

A Touch of Autonomy: Infiniti QX50

 Infiniti QX50
                    All smiles on the PCH with the Infiniti QX50

When a teenager first gets her driver's license, she celebrates her autonomy. Likewise, an aging parent or grandparent doesn't want to give up his license, or car, because of the loss of independence.

 Infiniti QX50
The Auto Hold button lets you take your foot off the brake
I was focused on autonomy when I drove the new Infiniti QX50, a compact SUV (or crossover, if you will) with Pro Pilot Assist.

 Infiniti QX50
Plenty of back seat room. And check out that quilted seat!
This semi autonomous system, an option in the 2019 Infiniti QX50 is like cruise control on steroids. It has intelligent cruise control, which adapts to the speed of traffic around you. You can set the length it keeps you behind other cars to one, two or three car lengths. Then there's direct adaptive steering and lane keep assist. Like other lane keep assist systems, it needs lane markers to work properly. But once it does, it keeps the QX50 on the straight and narrow.

But it's the steering that can take your breath away. You can take your hands off the steering wheel for 10 seconds - enough time to police a sibling spat in the back seat, or open a water bottle if you don't have a sport top.

 Infiniti QX50
Looking at the new La Peer hotel through the panoramic sunroof
After 10 seconds, the wheel vibrates, a haptic reminder to put your hands back on the steering wheel. If you ignore the warning, an alarm sounds. And if you ignore that, (I didn't) the car automatically slows down.

Luxury and comfort -head of the class

The leather seats are comfortable and you can set the driver's seat to automatically recall two settings. What a great feature for those who share driving!

The back seat is surprisingly roomy. No cramped knees if adults are in the back. And with the panoramic sunroof, there is no claustrophobia, either. The trunk space has more room than any other compact SUV in its class.

The fully loaded Infiniti QX50 I drove had 16 Bose speakers, and music sounded fantastic. There is no Apple CarPlay - yet - but it's easy enough to play your phone's music through Bluetooth, or listen to the Sirius XM radio.

Stop and Go from Malibu to West Hollywood

 Infiniti QX50
One of the 16 Bose speakers
Traffic in Los Angeles can be frustratingly dense. Likewise, traffic in New York City, Houston, Atlanta, and any number of metropolitan areas. Another cool feature of the QX50 is the auto hold brake. When you set this, you can brake at a light and take your foot off the brake while you sit there.  Often after a long run, my leg cramps up when I drive. How lovely to be able to rest your leg, even momentarily.

Keeping an eye on fuel economy

Infiniti engineers developed a turbo charged variable combustion engine that gives the SUV power while keeping the vehicle fuel efficient. Expect about 27 miles per gallon, less if you chose the sport mode. The eco mode was fine for tooling along the Pacific Coast Highway, but in the windy canyon roads, the sport mode made turns more responsively. And more fun.
Luxury and style

Who is the  Infiniti QX50 for?

According to Infiniti execs, the small SUV was designed with families and empty nesters in mind. The QX50 starts at $37,545 and goes up to $61,995. For those well-heeled buyers, the fully loaded version has lots of luxury touches, like a soft touch ultra suede trim. But that trim, while sensors to the touch, looks lovely, it might not be the best choice for families with small children, who bring stickiness and grime everywhere. For that matter, shedding dogs would wreak havoc on the interior.

The Pro-Pliot assist
The quilted leather seats, on the other hand, make clean up easier. And the heated and cooled seats in the front make the ride ultra comfortable.

If you are one of the targeted empty nesters, you can easily bring your friends with you.


  1. This is a gorgeous car. Plenty of options -- and those quilted seats are pretty too.

  2. 10 seconds is a VERY long time to have your hands off the wheel. I'd love it...eventually!

  3. Looks like a beautiful car with lots of safe extras!

  4. I always thought heated seats were silly - til my husband got them. Love them!