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  5. 2022 INFINITI QX55 Essential Test Drive Review

Exterior view of the 2022 INFINITI QX55 Essential

While its popularity has grown exponentially over the past few years, as far as vehicle platforms go, the compact crossover remains a newcomer. So it's been interesting to see all the directions designers have been exploring as they attempt to marry sleek looks, hatchback practicality, and SUV-like capability. The "rules" are still being written for this class, and that's exciting. Which brings us to the QX55.      

Technically, the QX55 is an all-new model. That said, it's essentially the QX50 with a coupe-like roof and sharper exterior styling, and designed to compete with compact SUVs like the Mercedes-Benz GLC 43 and BMW X4. In my opinion, the designers did an excellent job with the nips and tucks, and the result is a striking vehicle that's one of the most visually compelling in its class.

  

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2022 INFINITI QX55 Essential Exterior

Exterior view of the 2022 INFINITI QX55 Essential

The QX55 is defined by its sloping roofline, and it gives the compact crossover a sleek profile that makes it stand out on the road. I particularly liked how the C-pillar blends beautifully into the pronounced rear fenders, and loved how the segments inside the taillights look like extended wings. Another cool design touch I appreciated was how the button to pop the liftgate was integrated into the INFINITI badge. Unless you're looking for it, you wouldn't know it was there. 

Along with the new roofline, the QX55 has been given some additional details to separate it from the QX50, including a redesigned front fascia. On the QX55, the INFINITI badge is bigger, as is the grille. The pattern inside the grille also features larger openings, and the fog lights are framed by aggressive piano black trim. This black theme is also reflected on the mirror caps, roof rails, and rear spoiler. Unlike the QX50, the QX55 comes standard with 20-inch wheels, and the two-tone aluminum alloys on my tester looked trick.

 

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2022 INFINITI QX55 Essential Interior

Interiior view of the 2022 INFINITI QX55 Essential

The cabin of the QX55 was essentially identical to the QX50 I tested over the summer, down to the color. This is hardly a bad thing, as the overall design is well done, with lines that flow organically from a wide center console. The contrast between the white seating surfaces and the gray of the dash made for a compelling visual, and all the touchpoints felt soft and high quality. 

In recent years, INFINITI and parent company Nissan have gotten loads of praise for their Zero Gravity seats, and I can confirm that I'm a fan. They're built with 14 specific pressure points in mind, and designed specifically to reduce fatigue and increase blood flow. While there's nothing particularly flashy about them from a looks perspective, spending any amount of time in these babies will make you appreciate the decade Nissan's engineers spent perfecting them. In an already-lux interior, these are the jewels.     

In the QX50, infotainment functions are handled by a twin-screen system. The lower unit, situated toward the bottom of the dash, allows access to the stereo and climate settings. Conveniently, there are redundant physical controls for the radio volume and creature comforts like the heated and cooled seats. As you'd expect on a vehicle in this price range, wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a Wi-Fi hotspot are standard equipment. The upper screen is dedicated to navigation, and while some of the map icons looked a little dated, I found it easy to use. For example, zooming in and out is as intuitive as it is on any tablet.   

The sloping roofline does shave off a bit of headroom for rear-seat passengers. But while I'm over six feet tall and long waisted, I didn't feel cramped back there. For some buyers, the bigger question will be regarding cargo room, as the sleek profile means the QX55 will carry 26.9 cubic feet of gear with the seats up, and 54.1 with them folded. For reference, the QX50 can handle 31.4 cubic feet with the seats up, and just over 65 with them folded.

   

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2022 INFINITI QX55 Essential Performance

Engine bay of the 2022 INFINITI QX55 Essential

As mentioned above, the QX55 is mechanically quite similar to the more traditionally styled QX50. But INFINITI's engineers have tweaked the engine tuning, and also updated the transmission's torque converter to provide a driving experience which better matches the sleek sheet metal. Under the hood, the QX55 is packing INFINITI's innovative VC-Turbo engine, a turbocharged 2.0-liter which utilizes variable compression to better balance performance and fuel economy. 

This little mill is good for 268 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque, and pipes power to all four corners via a continuously variable transmission. Overall, the QX55 feels quick and light on its feet. The engine note isn't particularly inspiring, but while I'm generally not a fan of CVT transmissions, I felt that the unit used here did a good job of mimicking a conventional automatic.The suspension is also well sorted, and provided good feedback about the road surface while insulating the cabin from the harsher bits of Seattle's blacktop. 

Given the sloping roofline and relatively small rear window, visibility out the back isn't particularly great. But it's nothing drivers can't get used to, and the camera system makes it a non-issue when parking or maneuvering in small spaces. And honestly, the roofline is cool enough that the style points are worth the tradeoff.

 

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2022 INFINITI QX55 Essential Safety

Infotainment screen of the 2022 INFINITI QX55 Essential

At this time, the INFINITI QX55 does not have an overall crash-test rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. This is not unusual for luxury vehicles. 

However, the QX55 was equipped with a wide array of cutting edge safety tech, including Predictive Forward Collision Warning, Forward Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Rear Automatic Braking, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Blid Spot Warning, and Lane Departure Warning. Additionally, INFINITI's ProAssist optional package included Intelligent Cruise Control, Distance Control Assist, Blind Spot Intervention, and Lane Departure Prevention.

    

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2022 INFINITI QX55 Essential Overall

Exterior view of the 2022 INFINITI QX55 Essential

As an old-school gearhead, I'll admit I was initially puzzled by the industry trend toward coupe-like styling for sedans and SUVs. That said? Over my week with the QX55, I often stopped to check it out after I parked. So if you're looking for a compact luxury SUV that looks the business while taking care of business? Pay a visit to your local AutoNation-affiliated INFINITI dealer and arrange a test drive of the QX55. 

The base price of my tester was $51,600, and given it was delivered in Essential trim, it was already packing a host of creature comforts. So the biggest options bumping the final figure were the ProAssist package ($800), and the Majestic White paint ($695). After the destination charge, that brought the as-tested price of this INFINITI to $54,120.

 

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John Coyle | Dec 14, 2021

2022 INFINITI QX55 Essential Specs

Layout

4-door, 5-passenger, AWD

Engine/Transmission

Turbo 2.0L I4
268 hp, 280 lb-ft
CVT automatic

Mileage

22/28
(city/hwy)

NHTSA Rating

N/A


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**Based on EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending on specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.