Formerly known as the EX35, the QX50 is essentially a wagon version of the old G sedan (now the Q40), only taller. It continues to ride on Nissan’s venerable Front-Midship platform, which makes it a distant cousin of the 370Z.
Just as the bones are the same, so is most of the styling. The biggest change is a new face consisting of LED running-light-equipped headlights, a new front bumper, and Infiniti’s current double-arch grille to bring the QX50 in line with the rest of the current range.
Another big change will only be noticed from the inside. Infiniti stretched the wheelbase 3.2 inches, which it says yields an extra 8.3 cubic feet of interior volume, and 4.3 inches of rear legroom.
That interior also features Infiniti’s current “double-wave” instrument panel, with an integrated 7.0-inch display screen. An 11-speaker Bose audio system, navigation, and an Around View Monitor camera system are among the notable tech options.
There are no mechanical changes for 2016. The QX50 continues to use a 3.7-liter V6 with 325 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque, connected to a seven-speed automatic transmission and either rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
As an older model dressed up with a new name and styling, the 2016 QX50 exemplifies the period of transition Infiniti is currently in.
Whether that combination of old and new elements will appeal to buyers in the now red-hot small luxury crossover segment remains to be seen, but the QX50 probably won’t have to hold the line for very long.
Infiniti is on the verge of launching its QX30, a smaller model based on a front-wheel drive platform. While that doesn’t ensure it will disappear, the refreshed QX50 does seem like something of a placeholder.