The 2022 Infiniti QX55 may be the first CVT-equipped crossover that I find intriguing.
If you look at the 2022 Infiniti QX55, you may see something special – beauty, some athletic ability and a tiny bit of utility. It is a combination of the past and future of Nissan and Infiniti. I think it is a delightful design that covers an interesting, but slightly flawed powertrain.
If you go on to any social media site, you will see people who are obviously abusing Contour, and other programs that alter their appearance. Sure, people are free to do what they want, but it is selling a bill of goods that is inaccurate. I wish people would be happy with who they truly are. That’s one of the things that I thought about as I drove the 2022 Infiniti QX55, it’s not just smoke and mirrors. Sure, its QX50 brother is more practical and logical. It holds more, and it’s easier to see out of, but the QX55 looks outstanding.
The 2022 Infiniti QX55 has a gem of an engine, but the transmission…
I adore the 2.0-liter variable compression, turbocharged (VC-Turbo) four-cylinder engine. It truly has two different personalities. Select the “Sport” setting, and the 268 horsepower wakes up and sends 280 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels via Infiniti’s “Intelligent All-Wheel Drive” system. It hustles nicely, with an unusual engine growl that reminds me of a small-displacement boat engine.
The VC has a cool feature that can change the stroke of the piston, changing the compression ratio. When hammered, it will go from an efficient 14:1 air/fuel ratio to a lower 8:1 ratio. Simply put, it will give you lots of power, or good economy – depending on your demands. Unfortunately, a lot of that fun tech and power is lost on the continuously variable transmission (CVT).
As it is, the CVT is smooth, but allows the engine to howl in an unnatural concert of shouts. Leave the QX55 in “Eco” mode, and the noise calms considerably, but so does the fun.
The CVT works great for day-to-day economy driving. Still, it saps the sporty-looking personality of the QX55, which is a shame. It’s the one part that feels like a misrepresentation of the beautiful exterior. Remember my issue with folks who alter their photos to hide something?
An almost spectacular interior
Infiniti did a brilliant job with the interior mix of sport and luxury. It is right up there with many German and Japanese challengers. The blend of leathers, metals, plastics, woods and colors is youthful and pleasing to the eye. Everything inside feels expensive, as does their appearance. In fact, the whole kit and caboodle competes with the Mercedes-Benz GLC and BMW X4; with some exceptions.
There are two issues. Backseat comfort is compromised with a low sloping roof, and mediocre leg room. Fortunately, the rear cargo area is still useful at 26.9 cubic feet of space. The other issue is the dual screen infotainment screens. It is entirely out of place in such a nice, modern interior.
If you don’t care about the use and look of the tech – then it’s no biggie. Compared to just about every competitor, it is dated and it looks out of place. One big, easy-to-use screen would be a better choice.
The economics of the 2021 Infiniti QX55
According to EPA figures, the QX55 manages 22 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. That’s just one mpg less than its QX50 sibling. The tester in this video is the loaded, top-of-the line Sensory model which has a total MSRP of $58,770. The base model (Luxe) starts at $46,550. The mid-trim model (Essential) starts at $51,600. While these prices seem steep, they are competitive with German, Japanese and American small luxury crossovers.
I will say this: I think the looks and handling are excellent. It will satisfy a wide range of buyers. As a matter of opinion, though, I know that if I had to choose between this and (my favorite) the Acura RDX A-Spec – I would opt for the Acura.