2019 Infiniti QX50 First Drive: Not Your Everyday SUV

– Malibu, California     

We can't talk about the new 2019 Infiniti QX50 without first talking about its engine.

Stricter regulations on emissions and fuel economy are changing the automotive landscape. As more laws are enacted worldwide, production of internal combustion engines is looking less appealing. This has automakers such as Mercedes-Benz, Ford, and even Aston Martin all announcing their commitment to future electric or hybrid lineups. Infiniti, however, believes it has extended the life of the dinosaur-powered engine with a technology its engineers have been toiling over for two decades: variable-compression.

Infiniti's new variable compression turbocharged engine (VC-Turbo) works by changing the engine from high-compression (14:1) to low-compression (8:1) depending on a driver's inputs. High compression for efficiency, low compression for performance.

2019 Infiniti QX50
2019 Infiniti QX50

Even with the Infiniti's sporty suspension tuning, the ride quality remains excellent over bumpy roads.

According to Infiniti, it's the complete package, as it offers the QX50 a sporty disposition (268 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque from the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine), and slightly better-than-average fuel economy (27 mpg combined) for an SUV. But how does the engine feel when driving on the road?

Our first thought: interesting. Quietly moving along the Pacific Coast Highway, you immediately know that something is different. With a moderate amount of throttle pressure, something akin t...