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2022 Infiniti QX55: This is the VC-Turbo We Were Promised

2022 Infiniti QX55: This is the VC-Turbo We Were Promised

Sportier Styling with Minimal Compromise

  • A new SUV for 2022
  • Essentially a QX50 with a chopped roofline for a sportier profile
  • New engine software and hardware smooth out the driving experience
  • Part of the first QX55 generation introduced for 2022

What is the QX55?

The 2022 Infiniti QX55 is a new SUV for the brand. It's heavily based on Infiniti's QX50 small luxury SUV but has a sloping roofline for a sportier, coupe-like look. Infiniti also gives the QX55 standard all-wheel drive, 20-inch wheels and a revised trim level lineup that forgoes the QX50's base trim level. Notable rivals include the Audi Q5 Sportback, BMW X4 and Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe.

The sloped roofline certainly gives the QX55 a more striking profile than its traditionally styled sibling. Infiniti also revised the transmission and engine to make them smoother and more consistently responsive. That's enough to pique our interest. But is it enough of an improvement to back up this sporty style?

How does the QX55 drive?

We had some reservations about the QX55's turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. It's the same one that's in the QX50 and has the rare ability to automatically adjust its compression ratio to maximize fuel efficiency or power when you need it. Unfortunately, this technology seemed half-baked during our yearlong test of a QX50. We disliked the extra-jumpy gas pedal feel at low speed, the lazy responsiveness on the highway, and the disappointing fuel economy relative to the EPA's estimates.

To our delight, drivability is improved in the 2022 QX55. Infiniti retuned the engine and continuously variable automatic transmission to respond quicker when you hit the gas. We're eager to properly measure the QX55's performance and fuel economy over a longer time period, but our first impressions are good.

How comfortable is the QX55?

The QX55 is a pleasant place to be, with comfortable front seats that provide good support. It also has a smooth ride quality considering its short wheelbase and standard 20-inch wheels with correspondingly short tire sidewalls. You will feel rattles over cracks and bumps, but they're not intrusive.

So what about the back seat? As to be expected, it has less headroom than its QX50 sibling. But the QX55 still has plenty of room for adults in the back. Just be aware that anyone approaching 6 feet tall will need to duck to fit in the door opening. The back seat also slides forward and backward 6 inches.

How's the QX55's interior?

The QX55's interior is almost a picture-perfect re-creation of the QX50 cabin. The multi-tone interior is visually interesting, and open-pore wood trim further bolsters an overall impression of quality. It's not up to par with Mercedes and BMW interiors, but those are more expensive vehicles. Our test vehicle came with a sharp-looking Monaco Red interior, which is new and exclusive to the QX55.

We also appreciate that Infiniti uses physical buttons for oft-used controls; too many of its competitors have taken to burying these controls in the touchscreen interface, to frequently irritating results. Unfortunately, some of the buttons aren't worthy of a luxury-branded vehicle; they feel cheap to the touch and have cartoonish fonts and icons.

How's the QX55's tech?

The split-screen infotainment system — with an 8-inch display screen above a 7-inch touchscreen — is generally easy to use. However, the map graphics look dated and the rearview camera resolution is embarrassingly low-res for a luxury SUV. We're also disappointed that Infiniti doesn't offer a wireless charging pad for the QX55. The QX55 does have wireless connectivity for Apple CarPlay smartphone integration plus regular (wired) Android Auto.

Advanced driving aids worked very well in our evaluation. The adaptive cruise control and lane-centering features were effective in our limited testing.

How's the QX55's storage?

The QX55's chopped roof reduces the amount of space in the cargo area. It drops from 37 cubic feet in the QX50 (behind the rear seats) to 26.9 cubes in the QX55. Infiniti points to versatility with the sliding second-row seat, but in practice we found sliding the seat forward creates a gaping canyon between the rear load floor and the seatbacks. Those seats don't fold all the way flat, either.

Still, the QX55 is pretty competitive for this class. The BMW X4 has just 18.5 cubic feet behind its second row, for instance. The QX55 wins again when it comes to storage capacity with the second row folded — 54.1 cubic feet for the Infiniti versus 50.5 for the BMW.

What are the QX55's trim levels?

The QX55 comes in three trim levels: Luxe, Essential and Sensory. Feature highlights include:

Starts you out with:

  • Turbocharged 268-horsepower four-cylinder engine
  • Continuously variable transmission
  • All-wheel drive
  • 20-inch wheels
  • LED headlights
  • Roof rails
  • Power liftgate

Inside, the QX55 Luxe has:

  • Simulated leather upholstery
  • Power-adjustable front seats with heating
  • Dual-screen infotainment system
  • Six-speaker sound system
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration (wireless functionality for CarPlay)
  • Wi-Fi hotspot

Safety features include:

  • Lane departure warning (alerts you if the vehicle begins to drift out of its lane)
  • Forward and rear collision mitigation (warns you of an impending collision and applies the brakes in certain scenarios)
  • Blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert (warns you if a vehicle is in your blind spot during a lane change or while in reverse)

Adds on more luxury features, such as:

  • Power-adjustable steering column
  • Driver-seat memory settings
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Leather upholstery
  • Ventilated front seats
  • 16-speaker Bose premium sound system
  • Surround-view camera system (gives you a top-down view of the QX55 and its surroundings for tight parking situations)

There are two main option packages available for the Essential:

  • Adaptive headlights (they swivel as you turn) with distinctive design
  • Adaptive cruise control (maintains a driver-set distance between the QX55 and the car in front)
  • Blind-spot intervention (automatically steers the car back into its lane if you try to change lanes while a car is in the vehicle's blind spot)
  • Lane departure intervention (warns you of a lane departure when a turn signal isn't used and can automatically steer to maintain lane position)

ProActive (requires ProAssist)

  • Upgraded adaptive cruise control
  • Lane keeping system (makes minor steering corrections to help keep the vehicle centered in its lane)
  • Adaptive steering
  • Head-up display (displays important information in your sight line on the windshield)

This top-shelf QX55 trim comes with all of the above features as standard, plus:

  • Hands-free liftgate
  • Premium leather upholstery

Edmunds says

The new 2022 Infiniti QX55's sleek style, plentiful standard features and roomy interior could make it an appealing pick for a coupe-style small luxury SUV. Unfortunately, the behind-the-times infotainment system and ho-hum switchgear hold it back from truly rivaling the best from Audi, BMW and Mercedes.