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Design is the 2022 Infiniti QX55's top selling point; the crossover-coupe's gently sloping roofline, expressively sculpted body and perky little tuchus all drive this point home. With plenty of visual drama and the functionality of a utility vehicle, this luxury coupe-over gives Infiniti something to entice motorists that would otherwise park an Audi Q5 Sportback, BMW X4 or Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe in their garage. But should you give into this temptation? In short, probably not.
Matching its avant-garde exterior, the QX55's cabin is similarly swoopy, with an artfully sculpted dashboard and a center stack that elegantly flows down to the console. Dark-finished aluminum accents brighten up Luxe and Essential trims, though the pinnacle Sensory grade benefits from open-pore maple-wood trimmings. In the midrange Essential model tested here, the materials used on the doors and dash look and feel good, though not everything is this nice.
Leatherette seating surfaces are standard in the base Luxe model, while Essential-level QX55s feature real cow hides… but you'd never know it. The seats are covered in a stiff and shiny leather that feels like low-grade vinyl that got slathered in the rubbery plastic you find on the handles of a pair of pliers. Top-shelf Sensory models, however, come with semi-aniline leather, which should be a huge step up.
But hey, at least the front seats are comfortable, using parent company Nissan's famed zero-gravity design. They manage to be both soft and supportive, as accommodating as the recliner in your living room. The QX55's rear seat is a good place to be, too. The backrest adjusts easily for greater comfort, there's plenty of legroom and even the head space is far better than you'd expect given this vehicle's racy roofline.
Cargo space is surprisingly generous. Behind the rear backrest, you get 26.9 cubic feet of room. Fold the 60/40-split assembly down and that figure grows to a generous 54.1 cubes. In both measures, this Infiniti has more junk-hauling capacity than a BMW X4 or Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe.
Plenty of tech comes standard in the QX55. Amenities like an auto-dimming rearview mirror, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic high beams and remote start are all included in the base model. Step up to the midrange Essential trim or higher and you get a heated steering wheel, rain-sensing windshield wipers, front and rear parking alert, embedded navigation and even a 16-speaker Bose audio system.
A 360-degree camera system is standard on the top two trims as well. It helps with parking and especially while reversing because the aft roof pillars and small rear window obstruct visibility in a major way. Unfortunately, the resolution is pretty low and the performance at night is extremely poor. After sunset, you basically can't see anything behind the vehicle while backing up.
No matter the model, a curious dual-screen infotainment system is standard equipment in the QX55. This includes an 8-inch upper display and a 7-inch lower panel. Both are touch-enabled and easy to read, but this is where the good news ends. Infiniti's Frankenstein InTouch multimedia array looks like it was designed by completely different teams. The lower screen could have been pulled from any modern Nissan, but the upper one is practically a throwback to Infiniti multimedia arrays from more than a decade ago. Altogether, this infotainment system is not the worst thing I've ever used, as it has some physical switches and is reasonably intuitive and snappy, but there's little to love, aside from standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, the latter of which can connect wirelessly.
The QX55 is hustled along by Nissan and Infiniti's ingenious variable-compression 2.0-liter turbocharged engine. This little dynamo automatically adjusts how much it squeezes each incoming air charge, shifting the compression ratio between 8:1 and 14:1 depending on driving conditions. Eager to run, this force-fed I4 delivers a competitive 268 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. Even though it sounds entirely synthesized, emitting a hoarse moan when wound out (amplified by the active sound-enhancement system), the QX55's engine is buttery smooth and punches well above its weight class.
Despite its impressive zeal and refinement, all is not perfect with this Infiniti's powertrain. The engine is matched to a continuously variable transmission. I don't automatically hate these "gearboxes" like some people do, but this one, regrettably, isn't well matched to the powerplant. The QX55 absolutely screams off the line, thanks to abundant torque and favorable gearing, so it feels plenty quick, but the power delivery tends to be inconsistent, a bit lumpy. Sometimes it surges, other times it sags, though it always gives the impression there's a little too much going on under the hood.
Even though it delivers bangin' performance, this powertrain is quite economical. With standard all-wheel drive, the QX55 is rated at 22 mpg city and 28 highway. In mixed driving, it's estimated to stretch a gallon of gasoline 25 miles, which isn't too shabby.
If you want to bolster your real-world fuel economy, the QX55 has a feature called Eco Pedal, which dovetails with the eco drive mode. Rather than just completely anesthetizing the accelerator, it provides real feedback to your right foot, with the pedal getting significantly stiffer when you push it past a certain point. This makes it easy to drive more efficiently because your right foot gets a tangible reminder of where it should be. I much prefer this to competing vehicles, which just neuter the throttle response in eco mode, leading to languid performance. Here, it's more like you're working with the car rather than fighting it.
Another clever feature of note is Distance Control Assist, which comes with the $800 ProAssist Package. When enabled, this driving aid works a bit like adaptive cruise control, automatically slowing the QX55 down as dictated by traffic. In fact, it will even bring the vehicle to a complete stop all on its own, creating almost a one-pedal driving experience. This is a bit odd at first, but you quickly get used to it because the system is smooth and conscientious. If you want ProPilot Assist, Infiniti's excellent version of adaptive cruise control with lane centering, you have to grab the $1,600 ProActive Package, which also includes a head-up display, traffic-sign recognition and the automaker's controversial Direct Adaptive Steering system.
Normally, a steering wheel is physically connected to a vehicle's front tires through a series of shafts, joints and other hardware. With this elaborate Infiniti design, those components are replaced by sensors, software and electronics. This allows engineers to fine-tune the steering feel, or change the ratio however they want for better handling, in theory, at least. In practice, Direct Adaptive Steering leaves much to be desired. As Roadshow Managing Editor Steven Ewing described in his QX55 first drive review, "There's a sharp initial response to turn-in, but … Direct Adaptive Steering continues to disappoint with its inconsistent feedback that varies between vague and totally disconnected." If you can avoid this feature, it's probably best to.
It may look as sporty as a tracksuit, but the QX55's driving dynamics don't jive with the wrapper. No, there's nothing inherently wrong with how this Infiniti carries itself, the vehicle is just not that engaging. This example features the standard steering setup and it's mediocre at best. The ratio seems a bit slow and the wheel is rather lifeless in your hands.
The QX55's ride is on the firm side, its standard 20-inch wheels make their presence known. Fortunately, the body remains well controlled, and this Infiniti feels surefooted, if a bit dense.
As you may have gleaned, the 2022 QX55 is offered in three trims: Luxe, Essential and Sensory. This coupe-over starts at $47,525 including the obligatory $1,025 in destination fees. That makes this Infiniti about five grand more affordable than a BMW X4 or Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe. It even undercuts the Audi Q5 Sportback by about $1,900. Similarly, the midrange model tested here is a decent value, having rolled off the assembly line in Aguascalientes, Mexico with $53,425 printed on the window sticker.
Even though it's aggressively priced, is the QX55 worth it? If you crave the latest and greatest tech or if sporty dynamics are a top priority, then probably not. Competing vehicles deliver more in these areas. However, if style is your no. 1 concern, then this Infiniti is worthy of your consideration thanks to its curb appeal and comfortable interior.