2019 Infiniti QX50 Long Term Update 5: Holiday Road Trip

This year—thanks to Christmas falling on a Tuesday, MotorTrend’s holiday schedule, and a few days of PTO—I found myself a full 11 days off in a row. But because my brother got married earlier in December and my wife isn’t allowed to work remotely, flying back to Georgia to spend time with family wasn’t really an option. So what do you do for Christmas when you’re 2,200 miles from home? Road-trip the QX50.

The plan was simple. Head north on the Pacific Coast Highway, keep driving north until we hit Oregon, cut across the top of the state, and then head south until we got back to Los Angeles. We’d camp in state and national parks along the way, spend some extra time in the really pretty places such as the Redwood National and State Parks, and by the end of it, we’d have basically driven a loop of the entire state of California.

Typically, we use our 10-year-old Subaru Forester for camping trips because`e it doesn’t matter if we bang it up. But when you have a 2,000-mile road trip planned, why not take something quieter and more comfortable? Plus, it would give us the chance to test the QX50 in some less than ideal circumstances.

From the get-go, our long-term Infiniti showed itself to be close to perfect for the task. Between our camping equipment, food, and clothes for more than a week of travel, we had a ton of stuff. And although we might have been able to cram it all into a station wagon, there’s no way I would have been able to see out the back once it was packed. The QX50, on the other hand, swallowed everything with room to spare.

Once we hit the road, the same qualities that make the QX50 such a great commuter car made it an even better road trip car. Basically, it’s a La-Z-Boy with wheels and very fancy cruise control. Plus, because we weren’t in stop-and-go traffic, I never had to deal with ProPilot’s low-speed jerkiness. Honestly, it ended up being one of the least exhausting road trips I’ve taken in years.

That said, there were a few issues. Apparently, when connecting via cable, the infotainment system only recognizes Apple products, so we had to pull over and connect my wife’s Pixel 2 via Bluetooth. And although the USB port in the armrest was powerful enough to recharge her phone, the two in the center console could barely maintain whatever charge she already had.

I also had a moment of panic when I realized the glitching navigation screen was actually my wife’s leg hitting the control knob. In a previous update, I claimed Infiniti’s navigation system was having problems, and I feared I would have to retract those claims and apologize to Infiniti when my wife’s refusal to sit like a normal person had been the cause of everything. But then I watched it glitch a few more times when she wasn’t touching the knob. And then it froze a few times, which definitely wasn’t her fault. It was frustrating, but at least I know for sure that the problems I pointed out before are real. After we got back, I actually found out Infiniti had issued a recall for the display control module. One reflash later, the problem seems to have been fixed.

We didn’t plan to do any off-roading, but if you drive far enough out of the city, sometimes a little off-roading finds you. In one case, we encountered a dirt road with one pretty serious water crossing. Another time, the road was covered in deep snow. Thankfully, the QX50 had enough ground clearance to handle both without issue. If we’d been in a station wagon, I don’t think we would have made it.

But we did make it, and after one last very cold night in Yosemite, we were back home. Over the course of eight days, we’d traveled just under 2,100 miles and seen almost the entire coast of California, and although the QX50 wasn’t perfect, I’d happily do it all again.

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Author: Collin Woodard

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