Review update: 2022 Infiniti QX55 delivers style without substance

My mother always tells me it’s what’s on the inside that counts.

She might feel differently about the 2021 Infiniti QX55.

The 2021 Infiniti QX55 is a chic crossover SUV based on the more practical, less sexy, less expensive QX50. More expensive and less practical with the same compromised powertrain isn’t a compelling proposition. German rivals have filled this crossover coupe segment that Infiniti’s now joining late. Mom always says one should always arrive early or on time and heaven sakes, deliver the goods.

I spent a week running the kids around town, picking up groceries, and hauling the family up to northern Minnesota to find where the 2021 Infiniti QX55 hits and misses.

2022 Infiniti QX55

2022 Infiniti QX55

2022 Infiniti QX55

2022 Infiniti QX55

2022 Infiniti QX55

2022 Infiniti QX55

Hit: It’s really pretty

The best part about the QX55 is its gorgeous exterior design. The roofline has Infiniti FX vibes, the LED taillights have 45 individual LEDs in each cluster, and the subtle curves of the hood add dimension both from the driver’s viewpoint and for those looking at it on the road. This is easily the best-looking coupe-like crossover SUV and makes the Audi Q5 Sportback and BMW X4 look dowdy.

2022 Infiniti QX55

2022 Infiniti QX55

Miss: Too many variables

The QX55 is powered by the same 2.0-liter turbo-4 found in the QX50. The impressive bit about this engine is the variable compression technology that helps it churn out 268 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels. The issue is the turbocharged engine and its variable compression are hooked to a continuously variable transmission. This powertrain doesn’t work together cohesively. The V-6-like power creates a surging sensation while the CVT tries to shift its non-existent gears. The members of my family that experience motion sickness weren’t pleased in the QX55 despite my best efforts to keep the power delivery smooth from stop sign to stop light.

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2022 Infiniti QX55

2022 Infiniti QX55

Hit: At home on the highway

While the QX55’s powertrain isn’t ideal for driving smoothly around town it levels out and drops into the background on the highway. The suspension is well sorted despite not featuring active dampers. The passive dampers deliver a firm, yet controlled ride with some lean around clover leafs that’s never too harsh even over highway seams, and this is while riding on 20-inch wheels and run-flat tires.

2022 Infiniti QX55

2022 Infiniti QX55

Hit and Miss: Rear seat is a mixed bag

The rear seat isn’t a penalty box thanks to seat backs that recline for road trips. Despite the presence of three seat belts, three adults won’t fit across the bench comfortably. The seats slide fore and aft, allowing as much as 38.7 inches of leg room, which is great. But the seat bottom is a little too short and toe room is limited by the front seat frame. Head room is adequate for six-footers despite the roofline, but anyone taller is going to feel the roof.

2022 Infiniti QX55

2022 Infiniti QX55

Hit and Miss: Dueling infotainment screens

The QX55 infotainment system could be mistaken for something that’s from 2014. The 8.0-inch touchscreen mounted above a 7.0-inch touchscreen look very similar to what debuted in the Q50 sedan in 2014, but they have been updated. The two-screen design is nice in concept, as Apple CarPlay can be used on the upper screen while the satellite radio presets and controls are displayed on the lower screen. But the top screen has a different resolution and finish than the glossy bottom screen, which can look pixelated when not using Apple CarPlay. Worse, the bottom screen’s interface, like other Nissan and Infiniti products, isn’t very useful without the built-in navigation system.

Hit: Lack of shiny black plastic

In a time where automakers like Mercedes-Benz seem to believe shiny black plastic equates to luxury, it’s nice to see Infiniti use very little of it. There isn’t even a hint of the fingerprint-magnet finish on the center console. While there’s a smidge of the shiny black stuff used as the trim around the lower 7.0-inch touchscreen, it’s not a regular touchpoint, so it stays looking clean. The center console’s wrapped in leather and the plastic parts are covered in a matte finish that’s soft to the touch.

The 2021 Infiniti QX55 costs $47,525 while my top-spec Sensory model had a sticker price of $58,770. Aside from the exterior design it doesn’t feel worth the price with the same mess of a powertrain found in the less expensive and more practical QX50, but there were niceties such as a Bose 16-speaker audio system, Infiniti’s ProPilot Assist driver assist system, and a subpar navigation system. The exterior looks better than the German competition, but the substance is lacking. Mom was right, don’t judge based on looks alone.

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2021 Infiniti QX55 Sensory

Base price: $47,525
Price as tested: $58,770
EPA fuel economy: 22/28/25 mpg
The hits: Chic design, rear seat legroom, reclining rear seat, dual screens for infotainment
The misses: Complicated powertrain isn’t smooth, infotainment interface, rear seat bottom and toe room

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