The $50,000 luxury SUV space has some of the most popular SUVs on the market. Audi, Volvo, Genesis, Acura and BMW all fight hard to compete. In 2022, Infiniti redesigned the aging QX60 for racing and brought some serious luxury touches to the space, along with generous cargo capacity and a powerful V6. Can it compete with other brand alternatives in the $50,000 SUV space?
The QX60 grew for 2022
After taking some time to update much of its product line, Infiniti dove back in last year and completely redesigned the QX60. The new QX60 SUV has the same basic platform as the new Nissan Pathfinder, but has a host of upgrades that make it worthy of the Infiniti badge. The Infiniti still has the old 3.5-liter V6, but at 295 horsepower there’s not much to fault, especially when paired with a new nine-speed automatic transmission. Unlike the others on this list, however, the Infiniti has three rows, so it can seat six or seven passengers.
For the 2023 QX60, Infiniti didn’t see much of a need to update the QX60. The big addition is wireless charging up front, while the mirror and bumpers received cosmetic upgrades. The Infiniti holds a whopping 75.4 cubic feet of luggage with the seats folded down.
The Volvo XC60 is the Swedish alternative for less than $50,000
Sometimes you just want to make a statement and the Volvo XC60 certainly does. While the Infiniti is full of soft-touch leather and luxurious-looking wood, the Volvo uses brushed stainless steel and piano black accents. For a base price of $44,745 you get a long list of standard features, but that means you can also add a lot to this SUV and still stay under $50,000. But it’s bested by the Infiniti, with its standard 247-horsepower engine and limited 63.3 cubic feet of space, which is great for a variety of passengers, even four-legged ones.
Genesis GV70 is the new kid on the block
The new Genesis brand launched the new GV70 SUV to bring a lot of value to the world of luxury midsize SUVs. While its nameplate doesn’t have the same wow factor as, say, a BMW yet, those in the know know. The Genesis outperforms the competition in the engine bay with its 300-horsepower V6. It also brings a lot of value; With the upgraded Select trim, you can still stay well beyond $50,000 and get heated/ventilated seats with a heated steering wheel.
The interior of the GV70 is also modern, with a chrome spear protruding from the dash that houses the HVAC controls, with a large horizontal touchscreen positioned above. It’s unconventional, but like the XC60, Genesis does things its own way to stand out in a crowded and competitive marketplace. However, it only has 56.86 cubic feet of stuff under its fancy hatch.
The Acura RDX is the reliable alternative
Take a look at the rating agencies, and site after site, you’ll see the RDX top the reliability scores. Add in a potent 272-horsepower V6 and a healthy 59 cubic feet of storage space and it’s hard to beat an RDX. The A-Spec version adds some performance and appearance improvements, while Advance and Technology add more goodies. The center console is littered with buttons and switches in the Acura that make it feel more like a gunship when you drive it than a grocery picker.
The BMW X3 is BMW’s best-selling alternative
In many ways, the BMW X3 is hard to fault. It’s sporty, has plenty of cargo capacity, and sports the all-important BMW badge on the grille, if you care about such things. In 2022, the X3 received a big update that added size and extended the wheelbase. The big news was the addition of a 48-volt mild hybrid system in the X3 M40i version. The X3 comes in X3 sDrive30i, X3 xDrive30i, and X3 M40i trims, and starts at $45,400 for sDrive, or $47,400 for xDrive with all-wheel drive.
It accommodates 62.7 square feet of luggage in the rear, which means it’s within a couple of inches of the XC60’s cargo space, but far less than the Infiniti. However, it comes close to the reliability scores of the RDX in JD Power.
The Audi Q5 is a smaller but sportier alternative
Audi sells more Q5 SUVs than any other because it checks a lot of the right boxes, and it starts at $43,500. Unlike the Infiniti, it comes with all-wheel drive, in this case Audi’s quattro system, as standard. It launched in 2009 and saw a significant update for 2018, then a small update in 2021. It now has several new trim options. The Q5 has three engine options and handling that belies its tall stance.
The Q5 seats five and has a dual-clutch automatic gearbox, which is quicker than competing automatics, quattro all-wheel drive, and more. Many reviewers give the Q5 2023 high marks for its performance and reliability. However, if you need to carry things, the Infiniti may be a better option. The Audi has just 54.0 cubic feet of space when the seats are folded down.
RELATED: What is the best luxury SUV of 2022 according to Newsweek?