Visiting my family usually involved spending a ton of time packing my bags and then, as if stuck in cement, sitting still in traffic for a very, very long time. Compound that with the visit occurring over the holidays, and you have a recipe for travel misery. But with an opportunity to spend some much-cherished time with my folks—not to mention savoring my mom’s spicy pork tamales—off I went.
On the Friday before Christmas Eve, I neatly loaded my bags into the cargo space of our long-term 2019 Infiniti QX50 crossover and waited until nightfall to depart in hopes of avoiding the herd on the 405. I felt like a genius when I hit the on-ramp and merged into a remarkably expeditious flow of traffic, but the feeling lasted until Culver City, when everything ground to a halt. It turns out that a late-night departure strategy no longer qualifies as a strategy when it is everyone else’s strategy. I still had 110 miles of highway to cover, so I availed myself of the QX50’s creature comforts to make things tolerable.
That was a good idea. I was able to keep color-coded tabs on traffic conditions via the onboard navigation map, obsessively zooming in and out to look for alternate routes or—even better—a miraculous parting of the concrete sea that would allow me passage. I switched from my Bluetoothed Spotify playlist to The Howard Stern Show on satellite radio as I plodded toward the interchange of the 405 and 5, where I happily partook in the horn ritual that happens when things are gridlocked. (Angelenos will know what I’m talking about.)
I pulled off at Valley Plaza to buy the Christmas gifts I swore I wouldn’t be buying for anyone this year—not even the kids; I hate shopping that much—and strategically parked near an exit far away from all the chaos. Two exasperating shopping hours later, I pressed a button on our handsome crossover’s key fob to open the tailgate and loaded my haul. At least one time-saving decision went right; it took me less than three minutes to exit the lot from my parking spot.
Once in Bakersfield, I hauled a few family members to my mom’s house, each one taking a ridiculous amount of care to not soil the Infiniti’s light-colored leather, but so far in our test, the upholstery’s color—which we worried about—hasn’t proved to be a problem. (And we have leather cleaner onboard in case it does). In fact, a lack of problems characterizes our time with the QX50 as a whole, and it keeps racking up the miles with nary a hint of trouble. The 7,500-mile service snuck up on us so quickly that we nearly missed it; Infiniti of South Bay changed the oil and filter, rotated the tires, and performed a multi-point inspection, all for a reasonable $86.22. Fuel economy is down slightly to 20.3 MPG, probably because the QX has spent a higher proportion of its driving time in the kind of Los Angeles traffic I suffered through to get here.
As a coda to my trip, I went on a lunch date with the QX50 to a local favorite called Moo Creamery, which was featured on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. I ordered the 24-Hour Burger and followed that up with a cruise around my hometown. It was no bad way to end the trip, and the Infiniti has thus far been no bad way to journey around Southern California.
Our 2019 Infiniti QX50
|MILES TO DATE||7,784|
|GALLONS OF FUEL||382.98|
|FUEL COST TO DATE||$1,510.64|
|RECALLS AND TSBs||None|
|OUT OF POCKET||None|
|ENGINE||2.0-liter turbocharged DOHC 16-valve I-4; 268 hp @ 5,800 rpm, 280 lb-ft @ 1,600 – 4,800 rpm|
|LAYOUT||4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, AWD SUV|
|EPA MILEAGE||24/30/26 mpg (city/highway/combined)|
|LxWxH||184.7 x 74.9 x 66 in|
|OUR OPTIONS||Sensory package, $7,500
Autograph package, $2,500
ProAssist package, $550
ProActive package, $2,000
Illuminated kick plates, $465
115-volt outlet, $150
Premium paint, $500
Welcome lighting, $425