I had the opportunity to spend some time with a 2020 Infiniti QX50 and find out how the updated InTouch infotainment system and "CarPlay" work with the two screens that dominate the center of the dashboard, and I was pretty impressed with that Performance and ease of use.
The 2020 QX50 is available in five trim levels, starting at $ 37,250 for Pure's basic equipment and a little over $ 60,000 for fully loaded autograph equipment. All panels are available with either front-wheel or all-wheel drive, with the latter costing an additional $ 2,000. "CarPlay" and Android Auto are standard on all panels, and dual center touchscreens with an 8-inch display at the top and a 7-inch display at the bottom are uniform across the product range.
My test vehicle was an all-wheel drive essential fairing, which is the middle of the five available fairings. It came with a $ 1,200 appearance package that also includes ProASSIST features such as proximity control and intelligent control, blind spot monitoring, lane departure prevention, and adaptive front lighting. Throw in improved Majestic White paint and some welcome lighting and freight packages, and my tester checked in for just under $ 50,000.
InTouch Hardware and Software
Infiniti is certainly not the only manufacturer to pursue an infotainment solution with two displays, and I have already had some experience with such a system in the Audi A7. Part of what sets Infiniti apart here, however, is that the hardware buttons are fortunately not sacrificed in favor of all-screen controls. The bottom screen of the InTouch system is surrounded by hardware controls, including climate controls on the left and right as well as some hardware audio buttons and a button on the bottom just below the CD drive.
There are also some hardware quick access buttons that allow you to switch between the main InTouch home screen, audio screen, and climate screen, where few digital settings such as manual fan speed are possible but almost all of these are also accessible via the hardware buttons on either side of the screen. Add the usual amount of steering wheel controls, and you can accomplish a lot by just feeling what's fantastic.
The upper screen is largely devoted to integrated navigation, which is standard for essential and higher panels and is optional for second-level luxe panels. "CarPlay" is also shown here above. Here, too, Infiniti offers options for interacting with the content and supports both direct touch on the screen and indirect control via a button and a few buttons on the center console. In general, I prefer using touch or voice to interact with CarPlay and built-in navigation systems, but it's nice to have another indirect method of quick customization available, or for those who prefer it on a regular basis.
Infiniti's InTouch software bears some clear similarities to NissanConnect's infotainment system The parent company of the brand that I previously looked at in Leaf and Altima, but which added some high-end features and of course for that Dual display setup has been optimized.
The audio setup is very similar to the NissanConnect system that I have used in other vehicles. It has a relatively simple layout and a customizable bottom menu bar that can be set up quickly. Access your favorite audio sources. SiriusXM content in particular looks good with colorful channel logos and album art on the screen. The user interface for terrestrial radio stations is somewhat simpler, but offers a clean appearance with station and song information, if available, and support for HD radio.
Onboard navigation works well with 3D cityscapes, lane guidance, exit signs, and a variety of available views to customize the navigation experience, although the overall picture may need to be updated. There is support for Google’s street and satellite views, real-time traffic, and destinations, which provides an improved POI search experience compared to the embedded system’s database. Wireless card updates are also available. The overall look of the maps isn't as modern as what you see on Apple or Google Maps, for example, but functionally it's a pretty solid system. Of course, with CarPlay and Android Auto, you may not even want to use onboard navigation, but it's there when you want or need it.
In addition to the two displays in the middle stack, there is a digital display for the driver between two analog displays. The display offers a number of different views, including speed, audio information, navigation, ProPILOT Assist driver assistance functions and much more, to improve the availability of information from the various vehicle systems at a glance. A head-up display is available as standard for the autograph panel at the top and as part of a package option for the sensory panel.
The QX50 contains the usual steering wheel controls for access to functions such as volume, cruise control, telephone calls. and more, and the dedicated voice control button doubles as a short press that activates the InTouch voice system and a long press that calls "Siri" for "Siri Eyes Free" or "CarPlay".
"CarPlay" for the 2020 QX50 requires a cable connection, which is somewhat unfortunate at a time when more and more luxury brands such as Audi, BMW and Porsche are supporting wireless "CarPlay" and are about to roll is more mainstream brands like Ford, GM and Fiat Chrysler. Infiniti tells me that the wireless "CarPlay" is coming in the "near future", but it would have been nice to see it from the beginning.
Apart from the lack of wireless support, "CarPlay" works quite well on the InTouch system with two screens, and it's great to dedicate the top display to "CarPlay" while doing native functions like Audio and other functions remain fully visible and accessible on the lower display. The 8-inch screen offers enough space for the "CarPlay" interface, and everything looks big and bright when it sits fairly high on the dashboard so that it is not too far out of the driver's line of sight.
I had no problem reaching all parts of the screen to manipulate "CarPlay" by touching it, or you can use the control button on the center console to scroll through the various interface elements and select the one you want.
The flexibility to have two displays and the redundancy of many native system functions between them really make "CarPlay" shine like you really didn't have been worried about switching away from him to access the Infiniti system. Some adjustments trigger a brief overlay on the CarPlay screen. Otherwise, you can adjust the audio, climate and vehicle settings without affecting the "CarPlay" experience.
Connections and connectivity
All QX50 panels are equipped with four USB ports, which are highlighted by a USB-C and a USB-A port on the front of the center console next to the cup holders. Both connections support data connections for "CarPlay". The other two ports are USB-A ports, one in the center console compartment and one on the back of the console to power the passengers in the back seat.
A disadvantage is the lack of a good place for storing phones There is little space near the front USB ports, except for a pair of cup holders and a small storage compartment that is not big enough to hold a phone, without blocking at least one of the cup holders. Storing your phone in the center console compartment is also an option, but requires more effort to get in and out of the compartment and requires the USB cable to be inserted into the compartment. So at least it would have been nice if the USB connection had been in it. The subject-supported data transmission so that everything can be stowed inside. Charging mobile phones is not possible with any QX50 panel.
Vehicles with onboard navigation have Wi-Fi hotspot capabilities for up to seven devices, so your passengers can connect to the Internet with data. Plan from AT & T.
Infiniti had come too late for the "CarPlay" game, but has solidly asserted displays and in the QX50 2020 and also in the Q50, Q60 and QX80, which all have almost identical layouts with dual a variety of hardware controls. Infiniti did a great job building on the bones of the NissanConnect infotainment and taking it to the next level. IPhone users will be pleased with the popularity that "CarPlay" gets on the dashboard.
The flexibility of the new InTouch system, which allows you to interact with the system in your preferred way, is fantastic and offers you the choice between touchscreen, hardware buttons, language and even a control button. I also think it's good that the primary USB ports on the front are a bit future-proof, with a USB-C and a USB-A.
However, there are always a few nits to choose from, and the phone memory in the QX50 is one for me. There is no great place to store your phone while it is connected, and the USB port in the center console compartment cannot be used for "CarPlay". And as wireless “CarPlay” is becoming more common, especially among luxury brands, it would have been nice to see this here, but hopefully Infiniti will do this upgrade soon.
The QX50 is of course a luxury brand, so it has a price that starts in the mid to high range of $ 30,000 and roughly corresponds to the Acura RDX that I looked at a little over a year ago. But a decent amount less than other small luxury crossovers it wants to compete with, like the Audi Q5 and the BMW X3. With five embellishments available, there are a number of price points that can get things up to almost $ 50,000, but the good news for iPhone users is that CarPlay is standard on all disguises, so you won’t jump up a level or two or need to add an option package to get it.