New Sport trim replaces Essence model in Infiniti's QX50 lineup for 2023

By Paul Borden

(February 24, 2023) Infiniti introduces a new model for its second-generation QX50 SUV. A new Sport trim replaces the Essential trim that had debuted at the top of portfolio in the 2019 makeover but quickly gave way to Sensory and Autograph models in recent years.

You might think that the 2023 Infiniti QX50 Sport that sits between entry level Pure and Luxe trims on one side and Sensory and Autograph on the upper realms is performance-oriented, but you would think wrong.

The differences between Sport and other models are largely cosmetic with the former getting a unique front fascia, 20-inch dark-painted and machine-finished wheels and gloss black exterior trim pieces. Inside the Infiniti QX50 Sport gets semi-aniline, leather-appointed seating, and a Bose Premium Audio System with 12 speakers as standard.

The differences are made more striking since most other trims for the 2023 QX50 are largely unchanged in looks or features.

All Infiniti QX50 models come with a 2.0-liter, inline turbocharged 4-cylinder engine rated at 268 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque and mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT). That’s not the quickest combination around and zero-to-60 mph times fall in the mid six-second range. Unfortunately, fuel mileage offers no real compensation.

With standard front-wheel drive, the 2023 QX50 Sport delivers 23 miles-per-gallon city, 29 highway, and 26 combined and available all-wheel drive shaves a mile off each number.

Though Infiniti trumpets the variable compression engine and CVT as delivering “impressive fuel economy figures” fuel mileage, those figures don’t stand out from the competition it is class.

So what does the 2023 Infiniti QX50 Sport have going for it?

For a start, there is a nicely appointed, roomy cabin that features semi-aniline leather seats, a Bose premium sound system, dual climate control, power lumbar support for the driver’s seat, and a panoramic moonroof with a power sunshade.

The 2019 redesign earned recognition of one of the year’s 10 best automotive interiors from Ward’s Auto, and the 2023 models build on that ambiance. There’s an overall feeling of understated luxury that wafts over you as you sit in the vehicle. It’s kind of like the feel you get being in a 5-star rated hotel suite as opposed to a double room at a Motel 6.

Infotainment features work off Infiniti’s dual-screen setup and include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as a wi-fi hotspot, navigation, and, as mentioned earlier, Bose premium sound.

Standard safety systems include blind-spot warning and intervention, Forward Collision Warning and Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, lane-departure warning and intervention, rear cross-traffic alert, and rear automatic braking.

Driver assistant standard systems include an Around-View Monitor with Moving Object Detection, front and rear parking sensors, Pro-Pilot Assist, and adaptive cruise control.
LED headlights, foglights, and taillights are standard, and it rides on 19-inch wheels.

All that is included in the starting MSRP of $50,500 for the 2023 Infiniti QX50 Sport. A couple of extras (Infiniti illuminated kick plates and Welcome Lighting with the Infiniti logo) ran the total for my test vehicle to $52,815 including destination charges of $1,195.

What I liked about the 2023 Infiniti QX50: The classy cabin is roomy and quiet on the highway. Critics often deride the dual screen setup to operate the infotainment system, but I like it very much. You don’t have to clear the screen of one function (navigation, for example) to operate another (say, audio). It also has lots of standard safety features. Cargo space is good.

What I didn’t like about the 2023 Infiniti QX50:
The CVT detracts from the performance potential and doesn’t deliver the kind of fuel economy you might expect of it.

Would I buy the 2023 Infiniti QX50? Yes. It as a classy interior and appealing exterior, and pricing is very competitive. I’m hoping a 9- or 10-speed automatic is in the future to replace the CVT, but would live with it if I have to.