The Infiniti QX55 is all-new for 2022.
Do you remember the Infiniti FX? If you don’t, then that’s a shame. The FX debuted in 2003, was renamed the QX70 in 2013, then was retired in 2017. It shared the same bones as the 370Z sports car and drove like a performance utility vehicle. In other words, it took the best attributes of a sports car and an SUV and combined them for an outstanding driving experience.
We were sorry to see the FX-derived QX70 leave as it was one of the few fun-to-drive SUVs with no pretense of off-roading. That model, despite its high profile, licked curves and pulled in and out of corners with acclaim. Its burly looks set it apart, giving Infiniti a unique entry in a sea of luxury SUVs.
Well, the FX is not back, but the Infiniti QX55 arrives for 2022 and brings styling elements that should remind you of its predecessor. The QX55 is a derivative of the QX50, but it gets a unique model name to separate it from the other model. Interestingly, Infiniti used the same QX5 naming convention, adding another “5” to denote its connection, yet separation. We will explain what the similarities are as well as the differences that allow the QX55 to stand on its merits.
2022 Infiniti QX55 Overview
We previewed the Infiniti QX55 in February, the first of the 2022s to cross our path. That one-day opportunity revealed much, but a second chance was welcome. Thus, when we had the opportunity to spend a week with one, we were glad about it.
Infiniti offers the 2022 QX55 in three trims: Luxe ($46,500), Essential ($51,600), and Sensory ($57,050). Add $1,025 for the destination charge.
There are a few things worth noting about the QX55 before we break things down. First, this model comes with standard all-wheel drive. It rides on the same front-wheel-drive platform as the QX50, but Infiniti wanted to bring in a handling element from the onset.
Second, there are two fewer trims than the QX50. In effect, the QX55 starts at a higher trim level, adds more standard equipment, and splits the difference between the QX50 and the all-new QX60 arriving this fall.
When Infiniti’s designers went to work on the QX55, they may have had a few European competitors in mind. Notably, the Mercedes-Benz GLC, BMW X6, and the Porsche Cayenne Coupe are among the elite few with similar design aspirations.
Infiniti, though, chose to match them on styling, not performance (more on that below). Most notably is the coupe-like roofline gracing the new model, which roughly parallels its competitors. However, that design meant Infiniti did away with the recognizable C-pillar kink, a design that we’ve long appreciated.
The front fascia is the most telling change for the new model. Here, Infiniti slapped on a larger and wider grille. They also choose slender headlights, added a larger lower intake, and went with deeper recesses for housing the fog lamps. It represents an in-your-face look with a luxurious kiss. Add in the curvaceous hood (an FX trait) and the front fascia is imposing.
From the rear, the glass is shorter and tilted higher. A pronounced spoiler connects the rear lamps. Those lamps are also wider and match the look upfront. The LED detailing is at once handsome as it is practical. Lastly, the dual exhaust ports accent the diffuser trim.
Infiniti dresses the QX55 with 20-inch wheels. LED lighting is common everywhere and this model comes with black roof rails. On the top-trim Sensory model, the QX55 gains a motion-activated liftgate, adaptive front lights, and upgraded LED headlights. In all, the look is the sportiest you’ll find among Infiniti utility vehicles.
Inside, the cabin is bright, roomy, and modern. We like the two-tone color scheme with the red leather band running from the rear of the center console and connecting to the dashboard as it moves up and splits the screens. Lots of flair and distinction here with trim running across the dashboard and connecting with the doors. Not overly wrought by any stretch. Instead, this model showcases a fine use of high-quality materials including leather and metal.
We will say the QX55 is ideal for transporting four individuals, but suitable for five when taking short trips. The front seats are generously padded and supportive, although not especially bolstered. The rear seat is also comfortable, but tall individuals may find the space confining. That said, the roofline conveniently tapers behind the seat, saving much-needed headroom for average-sized adults.
Cargo space measures 26.9 cubic feet behind the second row or 54.9 cubic feet with the rear seat folded. If you are looking to tow, this is not the model for doing that. Instead, choose the QX50 with its 3,000-pound towing capacity to get the job done.
The QX55 comes with a leather interior, a sunroof, and heated front seats. Move up to the Essential trim and ventilated front seats and a heated steering wheel come in. At the Sensory level, Infiniti adds semi-aniline leather seats, open-pore wood, and ambient lighting.
Advanced Safety Features
The QX55 features a standard list of advanced driver-safety features. These include high beam assist, forward collision warning, and forward emergency braking with pedestrian detection. Also, Infiniti includes lane departure warning, blind-spot warning, and rear automatic braking. Rear cross-traffic alert closes out the standard features.
Optional packages include such features as adaptive cruise control. Also, active lane support, a head-up display, and semi-autonomous driving can be had.
Manufacturers typically include larger display panels with their vehicles. We are seeing 10.25-inch displays commonplace, with still larger ones available.
Infiniti, though, continues with a divided approach. Specifically, you will find an 8-inch display stacked on a 7-inch display. It is part of an older system, at times clunky, but we found it relatively easy to follow. The top screen is for navigation, while the bottom screen manages HVAC and audio functions.
Among the standard features are wireless Apple CarPlay and standard Android Auto smartphone integration. Bluetooth, four USB ports, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and an audio system with satellite radio and HD Radio come standard.
Choose the Essential trim and Infiniti includes navigation and an around-view monitor. At the Sensory level, ProPilot Assist and a head-up display come in.
On the Road With the Infiniti QX55
Yes, the same 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with variable compression in the QX50 is used here. Power routes to all four wheels utilizing a continuously variable transmission. This powertrain combination is supposed to optimize performance and efficiency. On the first point, it acquits itself. On the second point, we expected something better than about 25 mpg, but we did not find it (note: the EPA rates this vehicle a combined 25 mpg).
Take the QX55 on city streets and it is composed and handles most bumps with ease. Hit the highway and the changes become apparent – the transmission makes the engine work harder and louder – this is where an automatic transmission would be best.
On the other hand, the CVT is smooth and reacts rapidly until you are pushing the QX55 at highway speeds. We enjoyed the throaty din throughout our drive time as it is not something expected with a small engine.
On the straightaways, the QX55 performs admirably. Hit the twisty roads and the connection to the FX dims considerably: you will notice body roll while moving in and out of curves as well as when cornering. The big wheels are offset by improved damping, but the ride quality is better with the QX50. In all, the QX55 delivers a solid look for the exterior, a decent interior, but some disappointments when seeking spirited driving.
We think Infiniti moved smartly when developing the QX55. Instead of designing an all-new model, the marque reworked an existing model and elevated it. Moreover, the good news is that the existing model is still available, giving consumers two choices in the compact range.
No, the QX55 is no FX in terms of overall performance. This one begs for a performance variant, perhaps with a V6 engine and a 9-speed automatic transmission. But that is a dream for now and a possibility that only Infiniti knows.
Lastly, we do not typically recommend a base model. But with the higher standard content level, starting your search with the Luxe is a reasonable approach. Just know that the main package upgrades for the safety and tech features appear beginning with the mid-level Essential. In that case, your final cost will top $55,000 and that is in line with what we would expect for this model.
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