The holiday season is a great time for many things: Overspending, overeating and driving huge distances to visit family. This year I did all three — putting my metabolism, credit limit and driving skills to the test behind the wheel of our 2017 Infiniti Q50. And while I had appreciated the Q50 before the trip, this journey into the frozen North opened my eyes to how versatile the Infiniti really is.
Before setting off on my trek to Upstate NY, I suspected that the Q50’s somewhat small trunk wouldn’t have enough space to accommodate my girlfriend’s luggage, as well as my own. After all, the Q50’s trunk only provides 9.4 cu ft. of storage, which is actually less than 60 percent as big as the trunk on our 2016 VW Passat from last year. Sure enough, we had to use the back seat as a cargo annex for some of our eleventy bags. Luckily, we were the only two people riding in the Infiniti, otherwise our rear passengers might’ve been sitting with a steamer trunk on their lap. Then again, it might’ve helped had we not brought enough baggage to ground a Gulfstream, but I am a firm believer in being prepared — especially in colder climates.
The trip from Atlanta to Rhinebeck, NY clocks in at just about 1,000 miles, which could take anywhere from 14-20 hours depending on traffic, weather conditions and the number and duration of pit stops along the way. Thankfully, the Infiniti’s large 17.8 gallon fuel tank allowed us range between fill-ups of 450+ miles each, which helped reduce the amount of time spent at the pump. Unfortunately, the Q50 requires premium gasoline, so filling the tank generally required anywhere from $45.00 to $60.00. So while this can get a bit expensive when you’re filling up a few times in one day, the respectable 25 miles per gallon the Infiniti returned easily made up for the pain I felt in my wallet, as we were able to make it to New York in about 16 hours.
Essential Road Trip Features
My personal favorite features for a road trip are adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist, and thankfully the Q50 has both. The adaptive cruise control functioned well, as expected, without the overexcited braking that has plagued some other systems I’ve tested. The lane-keep assist worked great too, although more subtly than equivalent offerings from other manufacturers. There are also selectable settings for sensitivity of the lane-keeping system, which allows drivers to dial in how much assistance they would like to have. Personally, I thought the normal setting didn’t feel like it was doing much, but the high setting seemed to add ample feedback to the wheel to keep me from meandering into other lanes.
Twists and Turns
My aunt had told me that the roads out in Rhinebeck were great for driving, and I’ll be honest — I didn’t believe her. I mean, yeah, her Audi A4 was kind of cool, and, sure, she had stated that she just loved going for Sunday drives out in the country, but what did a former hippie and current grandma know about piloting a finely tuned piece of machinery to the limits of its performance capabilities? That being said, I figured routine trips to the grocery store would be exactly that — routine. That is, until I took the Q50 for a supply run on the back roads of the sleepy upstate NY town. There were twists, turns, hills, valleys, chicanes, ascents and descents combined with scenery out of an Ansel Adams dreamscape. But instead of letting the winding and picturesque New York country roads take all the attention, the Q50 thrilled me at every curve, seemingly begging me to test the otherworldly grip of its all wheel-drive. I worked our agile little Infiniti for a few hours that afternoon, ending my circuit with a controlled fishtail onto my aunt’s gravel driveway. Merry Christmas to me!!!
That evening, the first snowflakes of our white Christmas began to fall. So while this meant no more sprints to the local CVS for Snapple and Diet Coke, it did afford an opportunity to test out the Q50’s Snow mode. As mentioned in a previous review, the Infiniti has several drive modes, each of which I had the opportunity to test out — except for this one — so I was excited at the chance to see what the attractive sport sedan could do in inclement weather. The first thing I noticed when switching into Snow mode was that all of the Q50’s semi-autonomous functions turned off, likely due to the unpredictable nature of driving in the snow. Aside from the lack of some of the safety features, the Q50 was an absolute show stopper taking on powder-covered back roads like a skier carving through a slalom to a gold medal. No slushy hill seemed steep enough to turn the Q50 away, and instilled the type of confidence behind the wheel usually reserved for drivers of SUVs, given the weather.
Climate Control Saves the Day
Along with plenty of fluffy, white snowflakes, my journey to upstate NY featured temperatures that plunged into the single digits. Anyone who has spent any time in frigid weather knows how uncomfortable, and even painful, the cold can be. After leaving a restaurant in Rhinebeck, we returned to the Q50 and saw that the temperature had dipped to 0. The leather interior surfaces were so cold that even holding the steering wheel felt as if your hand might freeze to it. Luckily, our Q50 has a heated steering wheel and heated seats, so as soon as the vehicle had a couple of minutes for these to warm up, the ride through the frozen tundra became much more bearable.
As a final overnight stop on our trip, we found ourselves in Baltimore harbor with the mercury still well below freezing. While driving around the area looking for food and cool things to do, I noticed that many of the streets weren’t paved but actually made of cobblestones. Behind the wheel of the Q50 however, there wasn’t much of a difference at all. The able Infiniti took each bump and minimized its effect on the drive, making our expedition through older parts of Baltimore feel like we were driving on a modern road instead of a street that was constructed around the time of the revolutionary war.
After so much driving on Northern roads after a snow storm, the Q50 had more salt on it than a happy hour margarita. I actually had to wash it a total of three times on my journey because salt would continue to accumulate on the freshly cleaned car. But sure enough, every time I washed the sodium chloride off the Iridium Blue paint, the shiny Q50 would turn heads as onlookers strained to keep the beautiful exterior of the Infiniti within sight. It’s one of many reasons to love the 2017 Infiniti Q50, even though the capable sport sedan is so much more than a pretty face. Find a Certified Pre-Owned Infiniti Q50 for sale
Check out our 2017 Infiniti Q50 New Car Review