Every automaker would like us to believe that their new models really stand out from the crowd. As a rule, though, they don't. It's not that they're bad vehicles; they're all pretty good these days in terms of safety, convenience features, build quality, and reliability. It's just that the dramatic differences have been refined away. Choosing the right SUV is mostly about which one appeals to you personally.
The exception to this trend is the all-new 2022 Infiniti QX55. Infiniti launched this new coupe-profile crossover with a great deal of fanfare and I have to say that the hoopla was justified. Not only did I enjoy driving the QX55, I found it to be fresh and exciting, with sports car handling and crossover utility in one package.
The QX55 is designed to complement the QX50, which offers a more traditional square-back SUV profile. Many automakers have produced coupe or fastback profile crossovers in the last couple years, but the designers at Infiniti did a particularly good job on the lines and proportions of the QX55. It's got enough height to give you the good access to both front and rear seats, but enough of a curve to the rear end to make the vehicle look sporty, rather than boxy.
Under the hood, Infiniti has a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine good for 268 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. The engine is matched to a continuously variable transmission, and all-wheel-drive is standard on all trim levels. If the idea of a continuously variable transmission turns you off, don't turn the page just yet. I had to look it up to confirm that this was a CVT. Infiniti has refined the operation with paddle shifters and drive modes, and there's none of the elastic feeling that characterized early CVTs in this model. You can just drive it like any automatic.
The QX55 is offered in three trim levels — Luxe, Essential, and Sensory. As a premium sports brand, Infiniti doesn't skimp on any trim. The base Luxe trim includes heated front seats, glass moonroof, active noise cancelation, and a long list of standard advanced safety features. The mid-grade Essential trim adds navigation, leather, ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, and a 360-degree camera system. The top Sensory trim adds open grain wood trim, better leather, a motion-activated liftgate, and ambient interior lighting.
The surprising thing, to me at least, is that you don't have to pay a lot more to get into this Infiniti. The starting price of $46,500 is not that much higher than economy brands, and you can go all the way to the top for $57,050. If I was spending my own money, I'd opt for the Essential trim at $51,600, as this gets you almost all the good stuff and saves some money.
Infiniti always shines on the road, and the QX55 is a great vehicle to drive. From the moment you get, it, this SUV is comfortable and offers great visibility, as well as a well-designed infotainment system. That already places the QX55 ahead of the pack. But then you get out on the road and there's plenty of power paired with crisp, responsive steering and a smooth, firm ride. This is an SUV that a sports car fan will love to drive, rather than a ponderous penalty box.
Infiniti is taking orders for the QX55 online right now, but the vehicle won't be at dealers for another year. If you're thinking about making the change to a coupe-profile SUV, I'd say the 2022 Infiniti QX55 is worth waiting for.
2022 Infiniti QX55
Base price: $46,500
Price as tested: $58,770
Type: Compact crossover SUV
Engine: 2.0-liter turbo (268 hp, 280 lbs-ft)
Transmission: Continuously Variable Transmission
EPA estimated mileage: 22/28
Overall length: 184.7 inches
Curb weight: 3810 pounds
Final assembly: Aguascalientes, Mexico
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