QX55: Beauty and the CVT?
All new for 2022 is the QX55 from Infiniti and what a looker it is! Infiniti has done an excellent job in the design of the QX55, making it stand out from the competition.
From any angle the QX55 looks beautiful. The design has flowing curves and sharp creases. The LED headlights, bulging hood, large grill, front splitter, we could go on, all combine and work together to complete eye catching design.
From the front the grill is the most prominent feature immediately drawing the eye to the giant Infiniti logo in the center. Next to draw attention is the hood, it is rounded and bulging in the center with ridges on the edges. Also noteworthy are the LED headlights and fog lights.
Moving down the side, we see a swept fastback design. Again, we find a perfect compilation of bulges and creases to create an attractive design. Down low are the beautiful 20-inch chrome and gloss black wheels which tie in nicely with the Slate Gray exterior paint.
From the rear we can see the impressive LED taillights. Here the design is less rounded and sharper than elsewhere on the vehicle. There is even an attempt made at a horizontal rear deck. Dual chrome tipped exhaust ports similar in shape to an HDMI plug sit at the bottom of the bumper.
Upon opening the door, you are greeted with the Monaco red and black interior. The cabin is a little tight, but comfortable.
As expected, the steering wheel is full of buttons for controlling the audio, cruise control, hands free features, and driver information center. Also attached to the steer wheel are the paddle shifters.
The center console is oriented slightly toward the driver, making it easy to see and use. We didn’t like the dual infotainment screens when they came out years ago, but they’ve grown on us. Having one screen dedicated to maps and another for other features just makes sense.
Rear seat room is limited for taller passengers. The sloping roof at the rear also decreases headroom significantly. It’s still a comfortable place to be with a center arm rest and two cupholders that fold down from the middle seat. There is only one USB charging port and a single 12-volt outlet, but the second row does have its own climate zone.
Much like the rear seat, the cargo area is very limited due to the fastback nature of the QX55. The rear seats can be folder from levers in the cargo area if more space is needed, but this isn’t helpful when 4 or 5 people are going on a road trip.
Driving the QX55
Driving such a small crossover is easy. Making it even easier, Infiniti also has a 360 degree surround view camera that increases driver confidence in tight places.
For safety the QX55 comes with a plethora of features. These include various forms of automatic braking, adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition and many other features.
There are four drive modes that adjust steering, throttle, and the transmission on the QX55. They are personal, sport, standard, and eco. Personal mode can of course be customized how the driver prefers and each of the others adjusts according to their name.
Ride and handling are good. Unlike other front wheel drive-based vehicles, the QX55 handles potholes and bumps without sending a shudder through the vehicle. They are isolated form the interior while still providing the driver with good feedback. While the QX55 can corner well, it’s more at home cruising on the open highways.
Driving the QX55 is a bit confusing. The variable compression 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder makes 268 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque, which is plenty. On the other hand, the CVT has a hard time providing a linear and predictable power delivery.
For some reason Nissan and Infiniti believe that a CVT needs to feel like a regular automatic transmission. This makes the CVT behave in entirely unpredictable ways. Sometimes asking for a little more power will be met with nothing and other times the rpms will jump and much more power than is called for will be delivered. Having a well-tuned CVT can still be fun to drive, but having a CVT pretend to be something it’s not just doesn’t work.
Pricing the QX55
The base price for a 2022 Infiniti QX55 Sensory AWD is $57,050. Our tester was equipped with three options: Premium Slate Gray paint for $695, Lighting Package for $925, and the Cargo Package for $350. Add in the $1,025 destination charge and the total comes to $60,045.
Overall the looks on the QX55 are stunning. It is a very comfortable crossover that makes highway cruising a breeze. However, as is common with coupe crossovers in luxury vehicle lineups, the QX55 comes in at a higher price with less interior space than its QX50 sibling. The value quotient just isn’t there on these types of vehicles. Replace the CVT with the 9-speed auto and drop the price $10,000, then the QX55 will be an excellent choice.
Matthew Barnes is an experienced towing expert. He works as a mechanical engineer and his day job involves testing a variety of vehicles while towing trailers of all types and sizes. Matt shares his knowledge by writing for automotive news outlets in the evenings. When he’s not working he can be found spending time in the great outdoors with his family. He enjoys camping, hiking, canyoneering, and backpacking. Whenever possible he spends time riding in or on any power sports vehicle he can find and claims he can drive anything with a motor, which probably isn’t true.