2022 Infiniti QX55 Sensory AWD review
Mixing fashion and fun in a luxury SUV/crossover is about as commonplace as legislators agreeing on something. Yet, Infiniti has done it with its new QX55 for 2022, and this comes after its launch of the near perfect QX50 for 2021.
The QX55 rides on the same platform and has an identical wheelbase, but is about 1.5 inches longer than the QX50 with a much more stylish rear end and profile that insinuate fastback and sporty as opposed to square back and utilitarian.
Some vehicles simply look snazzy. This one does. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that it was bathed in a brilliant metallic red called Dynamic Sunston (a $900 option). Nor did it hurt that its interior was a creamy soft light gray leather trimmed in charcoal-colored soft finishes for dash and doors.
Styling aside for a moment, the QX55 mostly excels for its nimble and energetic driving coupled with a supple yet responsive ride. These are tough mixes to get just right, but Infiniti manages it.
There’s an alacrity to the handling that makes this Infiniti seem more sport than utility. The turning radius is modest so the SUV/crossover feels more crossover than truck — almost sport sedan. Point the toothy nose toward a turn’s apex and the turn-in is swift and the grip from 20-inch tires and a standard AWD system is dead on.
Power is identical to the QX50 with a high-tech 2.0-liter variable compression turbo I4 (VC-Turbo) kicking out 268 horses and 280 pound-feet of torque. The power is smooth and well managed by the slick shifting CVT. Not all CVTs are this good, but Nissan/Infiniti have pretty well mastered these and they also mildly help gas mileage.
But it’s the VC-Turbo that still merits a special mention. Nissan worked on this system for 20 years before perfecting it. No one else has. Variable compression means it can automatically vary the piston’s stroke and thereby change compression as the driver demands more or less power. That makes a more efficient engine, and one may surmise could extend the life of ICE (Internal Combustion Engines).
I got 24.1 mpg in a mix heavier on freeway driving and the EPA rates this at 22 mpg city and 28 mpg highway.
Any way you look at this power plant, it provides oodles of oomph to aid the QX55’s agility and fun-worthiness. One drawback is the engine sounds like it’s working pretty hard under full acceleration, so the thrum is more than one might expect in a luxury vehicle. All this is more pronounced in Sport mode than in any of the other three drive modes, engaged via a console toggle. Smartly, the QX55’s power chant calms quickly and it cruises in relative silence on the freeway.
Ride also is pleasant, which is something that often can’t be said for SUVs and larger crossovers. The suspension here takes the edge off crude city bumps and pavement crumbles, and there’s a bit of sporty firmness to help the Infiniti feel in tune with the road.
Move inside and the cockpit is impressively quiet with acoustic glass to silence wind and road noise along with enough sound deadening to immediately impress that this is a luxury vehicle. That leather interior makes a good impression too as does the stylish design and trim that confirm the QX’s upscale leanings.
Light gray semi-aniline leather seats are soft and moderately supportive, yet comfy. There’s light gray stitching in the dash and doors plus black open-pore maple trim on both dash and doors with a satin chrome trim encompassing the wood. Gloss black trim surrounds the upper info screen and a flat black finish keeps the console from reflecting sunlight. Gray leather also trims part of the console and center armrest.
Seats are heated and cooled and the info screen simple to use, plus this bad boy offers up a Bose Performance Series stereo with 16 speakers that stimulates the ears. There’s also wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Navigation and traffic update info is included while the radio functions are adjusted on a second lower screen with climate and seat buttons all around it for easy access and functionality.
Adding to the luxury feel is a power tilt/telescope steering wheel, power hatch and sunroof. That hatch is motion-activated so can be opened with the wave of a foot below the bumper.
Plenty of head and legroom here for front and rear seat occupants too. No third-row seat as this isn’t a land yacht, but there's good storage behind the rear seat at 26.9 cubic feet and more than 54 cubic feet if you fold down the rear seats. Its sister, the QX50 has more cargo room since it’s boxier, so if you haul a lot the 50 might be your better bet.
I must mention that the A-pillars and C-pillars are thick, so it can limit outward visibility. Of course there’s a 360-degree camera to help in parking lots, which is a plus. The top-trim Sensory model that I had also includes smart cruise control and ProPilot Assist — Infiniti’s semi-autonomous driving system. It engages with cruise control only, so doesn’t impede lane construction dodging in town. Smart!
On the freeway this allows you to punch in a speed and let the crossover do most of the lane watching and slow-traffic avoidance. You MUST keep hands on the wheel though or it’ll let you know you’ve been negligent. I really like this system compared to most.
All the other usual safety systems are here too and all trims come with blind-spot warning and forward emergency braking.
Three trims are offered for the QX55, all with AWD. The Luxe starts at $47,525, while the mid-level Essential is $52,625 and adds leather seats and the spectacular Bose 16-speaker system. This top Sensory model loads on all the goodies and that smart cruise and ProPilot system at $58,075, including delivery.
With only a couple minor options the tested QX55 settled at $60,250. That’s competitive with the likes of BMW’s X4, the Mercedes-Benz GLC, Land Rover Evoque and equally sporty and fun Alfa Romeo Stelvio.
I fawned over the QX50, but this QX55 is way sportier looking and driving. Can I have one of each?
Overview: 2022 Infiniti QX55 Sensory AWD
Hits: Sporty styling and handling, good power, nice ride plus AWD. Luxurious, quiet interior, comfy heated/cooled seats, Bose premium stereo, 4 drive modes, easy climate buttons, power hatch, power tilt/telescope steering wheel, sunroof and lane departure only engages with smart cruise control
Misses: Big A- and C-pillars limit visibility and Sport makes engine noisier than expected in luxury crossover.
Made in: Mexico
Engine: 2.0-liter VC turbo I4, 265 hp /280 torque
Transmission: CVT automatic
Weight: 4,065 lbs.
Wheelbase: 110.2 in.
Length: 186.3 in.
Cargo: 26.9-54.1 cu.ft.
Base Price: $58,075 (includes delivery)
Invoice: $55,374 (KBB Fair Purchase Price)
Major Options: Exclusive paint, $900
Lighting package (welcome lighting, illuminated kick plate), $925
Cargo package (reversible cargo mat, cargo blocks, console net, cargo net, rear bumper protection film), $350
Test vehicle: $60,250
Editor's Note: Mark Savage's auto review column, Savage On Wheels, looks at a new vehicle every week and tells consumers what’s good, what’s not so good, and how the vehicle fits into the marketplace.