The Infiniti QX50 and Acura RDX are two natural rivals. Each features striking designs, a lot of technology, and showcase the future direction for the respective brands. Choosing a winner between the two of them can’t be easy, but here at AutoGuide.com, we relish the chance to judge these two competitors.
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Sleek Infiniti with Space and Style
Starting with the Infiniti QX50, we see a car that’s grown up significantly from its previous iteration. While past QX50 models were practically all-wheel-drive sports wagons, this new one is more appropriately sized. It’s a cleaner design now too, and looks great, combining the boldness of the big QX80 SUV with the sleekness of the Q60 coupe.
The added size of this new generation product translates to more space. There are 31.1 cubic feet of storage when you lift the tailgate, and space more than doubles to 63.4 cubes when the rear seats are folded. Considering this was a significant weakness in the last model, it’s great to see Infiniti finally address this now. Passenger space is also good, as the QX50 has a bit more room for passengers than the Acura.
Of course, if we’re going to discuss anything about the QX50, it has to be the gorgeous interior design. The Japanese luxury brand has outfitted this compact crossover with the most interesting and impressive cabin in its entire lineup. Fully loaded models can be had with beautiful two-tone motifs and a selection of luxurious materials and fabrics. There’s no way you can accuse Infiniti of skimping out in the interior of the vehicle, it’s comfortable, quiet, and a very nice place to spend your time whether you’re stuck in traffic or out on a long road trip.
READ MORE: 2019 Infiniti QX50 Review
In comparison to the effort spent on the interior, the infotainment technology and displays are a bit on the average side. The two-screen infotainment system takes some getting used to and can be a bit clunky and slow to use. It’s less frustrating to use than the Acura’s system, but it is too bad Infiniti hasn’t included Apple CarPlay or Android Auto support.
New Engine Under the Hood
The QX50 packs a few more goodies under the hood. The crossover features the first ever variable compression turbocharged engine. This 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine features a peak output of 268 hp and 288 lb-ft of torque but balances that with low fuel consumption. The powertrain has been rated to earn 26 MPG combined, which is about 3 MPG better than what you can expect in the Acura.
On the road, the QX50 feels quick enough, but it feels like there’s a big foam layer over everything. All interactions feel muted and disconnected. The throttle response could be tighter, and the CVT that’s been paired to the fancy engine is noisy and a bit unrefined, giving off that rubber band effect of high revs before accelerating. The steering is too light, and there’s very little road feel or feedback. The QX50 provides a sterile, isolated drive which will resonate with some luxury car buyers, but not all.
However, all the driver assistance technology and safety features help propel the QX50 into a class of its own. The ProPilot assist suite features a very proactive adaptive cruise control and pre-collision braking system that is very reliable and not overeager. I also found the lane keeping system to work well at centering the vehicle in its lane. If you want a car to help reduce some fatigue and stress on the road, the QX50 will easily do that.
|Vehicle||2019 Infiniti QX50||Advantage||2019 Acura RDX|
|Engine||2.0L VC turbo four||-||2.0L turbo four|
|Horsepower||268 hp||RDX||272 hp|
|Torque||280 lb-ft of torque||QX50||280 lb-ft|
|Fuel Economy (MPG)||24 city, 30 highway, 26 combined||QX50||21 city, 27 highway, 23 combined|
|Cargo Space (cu-ft)||31.1-63.4 cubic feet||QX50||29.5 - 58.9|
|Front Headroom||40 inches||-||40|
|Rear headroom||38.4 inches||QX50||38|
|Front Legroom||39.6 inches||RDX||42|
|Rear Legroom||38.7 inches||QX50||38|
|Starting Price||(FWD) $37,545 (AWD) $39,345||QX50||(FWD) $38,295 (AWD) $40,295|
|Fully Loaded Price||(AWD) $59,895||RDX||(AWD) $48,395|
Aggressive and Sporty Acura RDX
The Acura RDX, on the other hand, is the more exciting crossover, the choice that appeals to enthusiasts who want some driving joy on the road. This is clear from the vehicle’s design, which is sharp and aggressive, channeling some styling mojo from the NSX supercar. It’s eye-catching, but the design could be considered polarizing.
Inside, the RDX isn’t as sexy as the QX50, but it has its own unique flair. There’s a sporty vibe in the Acura, with red accents and well-bolstered seats. And with 29.5 cubic feet of storage in the trunk and 58.9 cubes with the rear seats down, the RDX doesn’t have as much cargo space as the QX50, but it does have secret cubbies and under-tray storage areas to take advantage of. It isn’t missing that much in terms of passenger space.
One thing that’s easy to get frustrated with is the number of buttons and controls on the dashboard. There are a ton of buttons and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Making things worse, there is a touchpad-controlled infotainment system that is not intuitive or easy to use. The touchpad is so sensitive that trying to use it while driving is frustrating, not to mention that there’s a big the learning curve associated with trying to navigate the system. This is a huge shame and hopefully can get resolved in some way, because it’s hard to use this system unless you have a lot of patience.
Sportier and More Fun to Drive
Under the hood of the RDX is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 272 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque. The car feels much sportier and more responsive than the Infiniti, but the 10-speed automatic transmission can sometimes deliver harsh shifts. The vehicle earns 23 MPG combined, and features Acura’s special Super-Handling All-Wheel-Drive system, which not only varies power to the front and rear axles, but also side-to-side. It’s one of the important pieces of the RDX that makes it much more fun to drive.
ALSO SEE: 2019 Acura RDX Review
With a suspension setup that’s a bit more firm and steering that’s heavier and more precise feeling, the RDX is more like a raised up sports sedan than a luxury crossover.
Like the QX50, the RDX comes with a lot of driver’s aids and safety systems. It doesn’t feel as smooth as the experience in the Infiniti, but it’s still quite good. The IIHS seems to think so, awarding the Acura with a Top Safety Pick Plus rating, while the Infiniti has yet to be tested. We found the driver assistance features in the RDX to be unnecessarily active and slightly annoying, which took away from the luxury experience. All the beeping and panicked warnings stressed us out more than actually helping us.
Before picking a winner, it’s a good idea to discuss the pricing of these two crossovers. Both can arrive with front-wheel-drive if buyers are interested in getting the base models. The Acura will set you back $38,295 while the Infiniti has a base price tag of $37,545. Those who opt for the most loaded, all-wheel-drive versions of these cars will have to spend $48,395 for the Acura and $59,895 for the Infiniti. But that Infiniti price includes the highest end interior offered on the vehicle. Without that, the prices line up very similarly.
The Verdict: 2019 Acura RDX vs Infiniti QX50 Comparison
That’s a pretty big price difference, but one look into the interior of the Infiniti and you’ll understand why. The QX50’s interior isn’t just good, it’s class-leading, and may even be good enough for a class above this. Those who don’t want the fanciest materials will still get treated with a clean interior with a beautiful design, and they also are treated with a comfortable, quiet and truly luxurious drive. Those are arguably the most important criteria in this segment, making the QX50 the ideal choice of the two crossovers here.
Photos and Video by Brett Colpitts