The Infiniti QX55 is an all-new compact luxury SUV whose design influence was the company’s outside-the-box FX model launched in 2003. It uses the same platform as the current QX50 compact SUV model introduced in 2019, but is trendier in its styling, adopting the look of a sporty fastback coupe.
QX55 comes standard with all-wheel drive, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration (with wireless CarPlay), a split-screen infotainment system, ergonomically designed “zero gravity” heated front seats, sliding second-row seats, and a jumbo cargo area for a compact SUV.
There are three trim levels: Luxe, Essential, and Sensory.
With a $1,025 destination charge included, pricing for the Luxe trim starts at $47,525 and includes leatherette upholstery, 20-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, power moonroof, power liftgate, Wi-Fi, a six-speaker audio system, and four USB ports. Safety features include lane departure warning, front and rear collision mitigation, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.
The mid-level Essential ($52,625) has leather upholstery and adds a power-adjustable steering wheel with heat, 16-speaker Bose Performance Series premium audio, surround-view camera system, and driver-seat memory settings. The Essential trim also enables opting for a number of driver-assist features such as adaptive cruise control and lane departure intervention.
The top-level Sensory model ($58,075) has premium leather upholstery, provides everything included on the other two trims, and adds a hands-free liftgate.
The QX55 power supply is a rousing turbocharged four-cylinder engine in tandem with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). Output is 268 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. There are three driver-selectable drive modes: Standard, Eco, and Sport. Unlike similar modes in some cars, the QX55 Eco and Sport modes take their jobs seriously. Eco regulates acceleration to the level of sensation that the engine has stalled, and Sport invigorates the already eager turbo to the opposite extreme. Meanwhile, the CVT has its work cut out for it.
Fuel economy ratings are 22 mpg city, 28 mpg highway, and 25 mpg combined.
The interior of the QX55 provides generous space for five passengers, and the fastback roof barely diminishes ceiling height for back-seaters. Second-row seats flip down easily with a lever but do not lie flat. A nice touch is the hidden compartment beneath the cargo area floor, providing extra security for stowing valuables. There’s a bit too much open space between the front seats and the center console, as I discovered when my key ring fell down into it. My laden key ring looks like it could belong to a janitor, so it’s really saying something that it was almost able to escape to the floor.
A handsome dark brushed aluminum trim in the Essential model I drove lends an air of elegance to the cabin, whose overall design is tastefully understated. The dual screens of the infotainment system look good but the touch response of the lower screen could be less fussy.
QX55’s ride is buttery smooth and quiet. Infiniti took extra steps to guarantee unwanted noise suppression by installing laminated front side glass, active noise cancellation, and active sound enhancement. The latter provides a pleasant tone via three microphones that detect unwanted frequencies and then neutralizes them with phase-shifting noises transmitted through speakers. Active sound enhancement is basically a head game, but it works very well.
2022 INFINITI QX55 ESSENTIAL
Base price, including destination charge: $52,625
Price as driven: $54,120
Mary Lowry is a member of the Motor Press Guild and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. She lives in Snohomish County. Vehicles are provided by automotive manufacturers as a one-week loan for evaluation purposes only. Manufacturers do not control content of the reviews.