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Simply put, there's not as much of it. It's a common misconception that something is luxurious just because it's expensive—look no further than the Ed Hardy trend of the mid-2000s for proof of that. Its phenomenal ride and handling balance makes it more comfortable in your day-to-day life. Its steering rack is one example—Infiniti uses a drive-by-wire steering system in the QX50, meaning there's no physical connection between the steering wheel and the front wheels (save for a vestigial shaft that engages in case of system failure). Mazda's new turbo-four is smooth, powerful, and nearly lag-free, effortlessly whisking the CX-5 off the line like a proper luxury car's engine should. The QX50's VC-Turbo powertrain is doing a lot of sweating. The steering wheel, control stalks, most of the physical buttons, and even the instrument cluster feel taken from Infiniti's mainstream sibling. It's as if mainstream Mazda is trying to pass itself off as a luxury automaker. "Any throttle request is met with the exact same procedure: Change gear ratio, see if high compression is enough to satisfy the request (it never is), drop compression, and then activate the immensely laggy turbo.". The QX50's VC-Turbo and CVT combo as a result is an erratic pair. - Value luxury's curb appeal 2014 Ford F-150 for Sale. If you want to get straight to the map, it's on the center console by the knob. - Need a bigger back seat And its cabin matches or exceeds the Infiniti's in quality, usability, features, and perceived value. We were also disappointed by the amount of "Nissan" we found in the QX's cabin. Are design, build quality, and material choices appropriate for the luxury price tag? All the drama in the QX50 comes from its, uh, very busy powertrain. Its six-speed transmission—an anachronism in the age of nine- and 10-speed automatics, is biased toward efficiency, upshifting earlier than we'd typically like in the CX-5's default driving mode. - Like sporty driving The CX-5 manages to tick all the luxury vehicle boxes. Intriguingly, it's perhaps a touch stiffer than the Mazda—though transmitting more gut giggle to the cabin than the CX-5, the Infiniti dispatches impacts quickly and with little drama. But if you want to get to the audio screen, you have three separate audio, radio, and media buttons to choose from." Get the Mazda CX-5 Signature if you: That's too bad because the QX50's ride is actually pretty refined. The CX-5 shouldn't need to be muscled around.". One of those upstart mainstream SUVs that vanquished a luxury stalwart was the Mazda CX-5. How will we determine whether the Infiniti or the Mazda is the better compact luxury SUV? Featuring a new engine, Nappa leather, and real wood trim (among other things), the CX-5 Signature promises the full luxury experience at a price that seems expensive for a mainstream brand but is a bargain for luxury—just $39,375 as tested. Besides, at current incentive levels, the QX50 and CX-5 are essentially the same price. The CX-5's turbocharged I-4 trades the QX's trick variable compression system for an extra half-liter of displacement. This is truly the nittiest of nits to pick, but details matter in the luxury space—you wouldn't catch Audi passing off Volkswagen switchgear. Its waveform sheetmetal looks contemporary and chic, and its scarab beetle profile pays tribute to the original FX. Across the ring, the 2020 Mazda CX-5 Signature AWD shows that Mazda hasn't been resting on its laurels. We're not anti-CVT by any means, but we have a sneaking suspicion that a proper automatic gearbox would do wonders for both the VC-Turbo engine and the QX50's overall drive experience. The simplest solution we found was limiting use of the upper display to Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, ignoring the lower screen. 2020 Infiniti QX50 vs. 2020 Mazda CX-5: Is Luxury Worth It? The least-expensive 2020 INFINITI QX60 is the 2020 INFINITI QX60 PURE 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl CVT). Mazda, the rare automaker going it solo in this world of mega mergers, obviously doesn't have that issue of component sharing. Its seats are wrapped in a gorgeous, thick brown perforated Nappa leather. The least-expensive 2019 INFINITI Q70 is the 2019 INFINITI Q70 3.7 LUXE 4dr Sedan (3.7L 6cyl 7A). - Want a sleeper-luxury SUV, Get the Infiniti QX-50 Luxe if you: Could you get more for your money by shopping the Chevrolets of the world instead of the Cadillacs? Is that luxury nameplate really worth it? Infiniti didn't even bother to change some of the fonts used. The QX50's steering is both light and somehow gluey at the same time, and it never delivers the sense of directness and control that you want—you're left always guessing at what the front tires are doing. Infiniti also makes sure its lower-trim models still get a decent amount of swag. It's more rewarding to drive, thanks to its superior steering feel and powertrain. The system, like the Infiniti's, can be operated via a scroll knob on the center console or via touch—if you're stationary, that is; frustratingly, the touch function is locked out when you're on the move. The Infiniti QX50, even in this near base spec, is among Infiniti's most successful efforts since the early 2000s, when its G35 sedans and coupes and FX SUVs were flying off dealer lots. Not only are there a frankly ridiculous number of compact luxe crossovers on the market (I lost count north of 20), but there are also quite a few SUVs from mainstream brands that approximate the luxury vehicle experience rather well. - Desire a quieter cabin. Compare the 2020 INFINITI QX50 and the 2020 Mazda CX-9. That sense of doubt would only be magnified if I were buying a new luxury SUV. It's paired with a standard CVT and optional all-wheel drive. Yet it still dispatches impacts from the road quickly, minimizing their transfer to the cabin. Filled with a champion's swagger, Mazda is back to face a new luxury challenger—the Infiniti QX50. I love cars, but every time I've bought one, I have driven off with a sinking feeling and a little voice inside asking, "Did I buy the right one?". It's not a pleasant experience—which is disappointing because in the rare instances that the Infiniti's powertrain works as intended, it feels smooth and powerful. The 2020 Infiniti QX50 Luxe AWD should be well-positioned to take on the suave Mazda. Worse, the hard buttons are scattered all over the place. Although missing the truly gorgeous blue suede dash and quilted leather seats found on the top-trim QX50 Autograph, the Luxe edition doesn't punish you for spending less. The place to start with any luxury vehicle is in its curb appeal and in cabin quality—after all, there's no sense in seeing if these two crossovers drive like luxury SUVs if they don't first look the part. This 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 engine features a first-of-its kind variable compression ratio, automatically raising the compression ratio when cruising for higher fuel economy and lower emissions and dropping compression to accommodate turbo boost when more power is needed. The driver's seat is the best in the house when it comes to the CX-5 Signature, and not just because it's roomier than in the back—it's because the Mazda is properly fun to drive. Infiniti was created in 1989, when Nissan needed a channel to sell premium vehicles that were more appropriate for higher price points. "It's unnecessary, and Sport mode makes it even worse. Although steering feel is accurate and sporty, the effort required to turn the wheel is artificially heavy, almost like it were tuned by someone who'd just gotten done with arm day at the gym. Peak output for Infiniti's trick new engine is 268 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. The CX-5's new turbocharged engine deserves a lot of the credit for that. Introduced last year, the QX50 represents the way forward for Nissan's luxury brand, blending the latest in technology with unique design, styled both inside and out to mimic an ocean swell (yes, Infiniti really said that). Infiniti's stacked-screen infotainment system is one example. Regardless, we found the transmission responsive, downshifting quickly when more passing power was needed and holding lower gears in Sport mode.
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