Drive Time: ’17 Infiniti QX50 slowed by F1 pickup
October 28, 2016
Few categories of car/truck competition in the U.S. today are hotter than those of compact SUV crossovers, no matter in the standard or luxury fields.
Testing one last Saturday evening were four of us — Kim Parker, Keith Brumley, Jan and me. The Infiniti compact, rated as a five-passenger, was just right for four, but it would be a bit tight with three adults in the rear seat.
It was the 2017 Infiniti QX50 all-wheel-drive model, which we drove to Lyons, stopping there for dinner at Smokin' Dave's BBQ. Exiting the SUV and nearing the entrance of the restaurant, we stopped to look over a late 1940s Ford pickup on display. It was one of the original F1 pickups, Ford's first F-series.
It raised interest. The original F1 pickups were sold to farmers in the Wray area by Dale Wells Ford Garage.
I was only 11 when the F1s began arriving, but I had a boy's keen interest in the dealership; bookkeeping records of the family's dealership are in my possession. Townspeople didn't drive pickups in those days; only farmers bought them. Thus, car sales far outnumbered pickup sales. Among four sales of newer pickups were $1,482.70 for an 8-cylinder Ford pickup of 114-inch wheelbase to Marvin Higgins of Eckley; $1,449.40 for a 6-cylinder to Hazel Jewell of Wray; $1,499.30 for a 6-cylinder to Ed Renzelman of Wray, and $1,490.60 for an 8-cylinder to Pershing Devore, who earlier in the '40s endured the Bataan Death March in World War II. He was from Vernon. The consistency of the pricing is explained by the lack of options in those days.
That was then, this is now, and there are no $1,400 pickups.
Recommended Stories For You
The Infiniti QX50 with all-wheel drive (an $1,800 premium) carries a reasonable base price of $36,250 and its sticker total climbed to $45,535 with a long list of options, including:
Infiniti navigation with real-time traffic and weather, 11-speaker Bose sound system, streaming audio with Bluetooth, around-view monitor, adaptive front lighting with auto-leveling headlights, outside mirrors with reverse tilt-down, advanced climate control, intelligent cruise control, blind-spot and lane-departure warning, power-folding second-row seats and 19-inch split five-spoke wheels.
The QX50, perhaps best-looking of Infiniti's line of SUV crossovers, draws attention with more curves than seen on most anything these days. As a move to give it more separation from the new QX30 subcompact, the QX50 underwent a 3-inch extension of its wheelbase in the past year. That allowed more legroom in the rear-seating area, though cargo space at the rear is less than 19 cubic feet. Maple accents highlight a comfortable interior.
It is an excellent handler, very responsive for a unit weighing a bit more than 4,000 pounds on a wheelbase of 113 inches. Fairly smooth and strong performance is delivered by the Infiniti's 3.7-liter V-6 engine, with 325 horsepower and 267 lb.-ft. of torque, and 7-speed automatic transmission with adaptive shift control, including downshift rev-matching. In overall driving, the QX averaged 22.8 miles per gallon. Its EPA estimate of 17/24 sits at the lower end of competitive makes. The Acura RDX, for instance, carries an EPA estimate of 19/28. The Acura is powered by a 3.5-liter V-6, compared with Infiniti's 3.7 V-6.
Turning circle for the Infiniti is a wide 38.8 feet. It rides on Bridgestone Turanza P245/45R19 tires.
The QX50, built in Tochigi, Japan, appears to be a top-quality vehicle. It became the QX50 in 2014 in a renaming change of the EX, which was introduced in 2008.
Bud Wells, a native of Wray, is a former Page 1 editor of the Denver Post and has reviewed automobiles for the past 40 years. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.