Pleasant, but Unsporty 2023 Infiniti QX50 Sport AWD

I’ve spent the last week driving a Graphite Shadow 2023 Infiniti QX50 Sport AWD and while I found it a comfortable, enjoyable ride, it was also rather forgettable. Perhaps it’s a problem with comparing hundreds of cars over time; they start to blur together. Pick a category like Sports Utility Vehicles and you’ll begin to be convinced that any given vehicle is a mashup of the elements of previous vehicles you’ve evaluated. There’s nothing at all wrong with the QX50 Sport, but there’s nothing exceptional about it either. Is that a problem? Hmm…

To start, the 2022 QX50 lineup featured five trim levels, and for 2023 Infiniti replaced the “Essential” trim level with the far more enticing “Sport” lineup. But here’s what’s surprising: There are no additional sports or performance features actually added to the vehicle. Indeed, one of the most forgettable aspects of the 2023 QX50 Sport was its performance. Even in “Sport” mode, its 2.0L 268hp variable compression turbo engine underperformed, offering a typical lag of a few seconds on acceleration that it seems a proper turbo system would fix.

It’s a very comfortable and attractive vehicle, so let’s start there. This is a Graphite Shadow model with a Monaco Red interior:

2023 infiniti qx50 sport awd - exterior front

If you’re thinking that the front grill is rather similar to the Mazda and the overall vehicle has a lot of exterior design similarities to the CX-9, well, I can’t disagree, being a Mazda owner myself. There are some definite differences, like the air scoop recessed lights on the front and the “zag” line on the rear cargo compartment window (you can see it above), but overall, these SUVs really do begin to blur.

The interior, however, brings on the luxury in a way that Mazda hasn’t yet been able to touch. Infiniti is the upscale sister brand to Nissan and between them, they’ve learned a lot about luxury and design over the millions of vehicles sold. It’s immediately obvious in the front dash layout…

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