When you’re introducing a new car model to your lineup, one of the best things you can do is make it a head-turner. Get everyone’s attention first before the excitement wears off and it blends into the background with all its competitors.
Infiniti did just that when they introduced the QX55 for the 2022 model year.
Some call this crossover SUV “striking,” others have used the term “great curb appeal.” No matter what adjective you apply, there’s no denying the QX55 looks terrific.
The question is: Will it stand up to closer scrutiny?
There are three trim choices available on this new Infiniti, starting with the base model known as the Luxe. From there, you work your way up to the mid-level Essential and the top-of-the-line Sensory.
The 55 is built upon the platform of Infiniti’s QX50, which itself was a reboot of the Infiniti EX. That first model debuted about 15 years ago.
For the QX55—which has been mentioned by multiple sources as the “spiritual successor” to the FX, another sporty luxury SUV—they’ve given the vehicle more of a coupe look and feel, most noticeable with its sloped roof. That adds to the gorgeous first impression mentioned above.
The 55 shares the engine that powers the 50, although the 55 comes with standard all-wheel drive. It generates 268 horsepower.
As a luxury SUV, albeit one of the smaller models, I see what Infiniti is trying to do. They very much want to compete with similar animals from BMW and Mercedes.
And they’re almost there.
It’s not like the QX55 isn’t luxurious. It’s certainly elegant, with upscale materials. The leather seats look fantastic—but they’re not the most comfortable in the class. I was surprised, actually. Again, not horrible, but not up to the comfort level in some of the competitors. Nice stitching, though.
You get dual screens on the dash, and I’m torn on this design. Part of me feels like it’s overkill—I mean, our entire LIVES are built around screens these days. Do we need two more just to drive around town?
But at the same time, it does come in handy to have your map going on one screen while you control your other menu items with another. In general, the layout of the cockpit is well-designed and functional.
Storage space up front is quite good. I like the large bin between the seats, and you get healthy spaces for your beverages. Rear storage is very good, one of the best in its class, with nearly 27 cubic feet available. The opening through the rear hatch isn’t huge, so don’t expect to put a sofa in there. But you can haul boxes for days.
While it falls into the smaller SUV category, this doesn’t feel small on the inside. Even the back seat has good legroom and headroom.
This is one of those areas where Infiniti is thankful the vehicle looks so damned good. It’s not blowing anyone out of the water with its drive.
In fairness, most of that criticism revolves around the 55’s initial giddy-up. It felt like it was working a tiny bit too hard to reach speed. Once you start accelerating, though, there were no complaints.
The same could be said with the steering. There are some luxury cars where it’s almost a pleasure to feel that smooth control. The QX55 hasn’t achieved that yet, but my guess is that the engineers will make it a priority.
Braking was good, and the overall handling was about average. For an SUV in the luxury class, it’s another area where I expect Infiniti to concentrate moving forward.
I drove the Sensory edition for six days, which means I got the cream of the crop.
But this is one area where Infiniti does well. They don’t skimp on the tech, regardless of the trim size.
The dual screens could stand a bit of an upgrade, however, when it comes to functionality. They seem just a tad outdated—which, given the mind-numbing speed at which technology changes, is totally understandable. I actually feel sorry for engineers having to keep up.
I loved the wireless Apple CarPlay. It had one or two minor hiccups during my test, but otherwise performed very well. If you’re an Android Auto person, you get that too, although it’s wired.
You get a full assortment of driver assist tools, such as front and rear parking sensors, intelligent cruise control, and traffic sign recognition.
The Bottom Line
It seems to me like the Infiniti QX55 suffers from an internal battle. The design folks have grand ideas and are perhaps nudging the engineering team to keep up. That would explain the smart looks paired with average performance.
But none of that seems to be holding back the success of the brand. Infiniti owners are loyal and—at least so far—welcoming the 55 with open arms and mostly glowing reviews.
The future looks bright.
2022 Infiniti QX55 Sensory
2.0-liter variable compression turbo engine
Fuel economy: 22/28/25 combined
As tested: $60,350
Reviewed by Dom Testa
Vehicle provided by manufacturer