2016 Infiniti QX50 Stretches for Success
Longer Wheelbase Shows Chinese Market Influence
The U.S. is arguably no longer the epicenter of the automotive world. Both in terms of overall sales volume, as well as strategic significance, the new hot spot for the industry is China. Sales growth is so fast and volumes have gotten so big that the preferences of that market have started to influence product-planning decisions globally. The 2016 Infiniti QX50 is an example of that. The Chinese market, where it’s common for executives to have personal drivers and rear-seat room and comfort is paramount, had largely dictated its longer wheelbase and increased rear-seat room.
The new QX50 has a 3.2-inch longer wheelbase, for a total length of 113.4 inches. Overall vehicle length has increased 4.5 inches to 186.8 inches. This slight lengthening has resulted in significant gains in rear-seat room, with 4.3 inches more of rear legroom and 8.3 cubic feet more of total interior volume. Ground clearance has also increased between 0.4 and 0.8 inches (RWD and AWD, respectively) to enhance visibility to the driver.
Mechanically, the QX50 is largely unchanged from the 2015 model, with the same 3.7L 325hp, 267 lb-ft V-6 mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission. As noted earlier, the QX50 will continue to be offered in rear-wheel-drive or all-wheel drive versions, with four option packages available, Premium, Premium Plus, Deluxe Touring, and Technology. Premium and Premium plus consist primarily of comfort and convenience features, Touring upgrades the suspension and wheels, and the Technology package is focused mainly on safety, with lane departure warning, lane departure prevention, “intelligent” cruise control, distance control assist, forward collision warning and blind spot warning.
Pricing and on-sale dates were not announced, but it’s expected the new QX50 will reach showrooms this fall, with a starting price close to the current model’s $35,995 for RWD and $37,395 for AWD models.