A Weak Powertrain Drags Down the 2022 Infiniti QX55

Few carmakers do luxury as well as Infiniti. Automotive publications regularly rank it alongside the top luxury brands. But unfortunately, those considering the 2022 Infiniti QX55 will need to decide whether they’re willing to sacrifice performance for luxury.

The brand-new Infiniti QX55

Many prospective buyers of brands such as Infiniti, Mercedes-Benz, and BMW prioritize style over functionality. And if you’re one, the new Infiniti QX55 has style in spades. This compact crossover is undoubtedly bold and distinct, with a coupe-like body, outsize grille, and sloping roofline. For a starting price of $47,525, it should be. And with LED headlights that resemble piano keys, a black rear spoiler, 8.6 inches of ground clearance, and standard 20-inch wheels, it’ll definitely make an impression.

All-wheel drive comes standard on all QX55 trims, as does a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four engine and continuously variable transmission. The QX55 can harness 268 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque and hit 60 mph in a quick 6.4 seconds.

The interior’s style is equally bold. Leatherette upholstery complements a dual-screen infotainment system in the Luxe — the QX55’s base trim.

Opt for the Essential trim and enjoy real leather styling, along with heated and cooled seats, a 16-speaker sound system, and a motion-activated tailgate, and other amenities. The top-level trim, the Sensory, comes with Infiniti’s full range of advanced safety features. Also, expect three-zone climate control, a head-up display, semi-aniline leather, and wood trim.

How well does the Infiniti QX55 drive?

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Looking great is one thing. But you might be wondering just how well the Infiniti QX55 handles on the road. In fact, that’s the first thing many car buyers consider. And if driving performance is at least as important to you as style, the QX55 will likely disappoint, a recent MotorTrend reports.

MT’s road tester contends that pairing a nine-speed CVT with the QX55’s I-4 engine is a bad idea. When shifting gears, a significant and noticeable lag occurs before the engine responds. And when it does, you can feel the sudden surge of motion throughout the cabin. Indeed, the jolting start-stop motion from the misalignment of the engine and transmission makes for a disconcerting and unpleasant driving experience, the reviewer notes.

The QX55, like other new Infiniti vehicles, also uses drive-by-wire, which supplants the mechanical parts with electrical ones. This relatively new technology needs refinement and, in the QX55, results in fairly unresponsive and vague steering. All in all, it’s not an ideal driving experience for a vehicle whose top trim costs upward of $60,000. But if you’re looking to get from Point A to B in style, the QX55 can deliver.

What this luxury compact SUV does well

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Despite its performance flaws, the Infiniti QX55 remains a well-designed vehicle. Its crisp interior is impressive, and nothing feels cheap or hastily assembled. The technology is solid, including Android Auto and Apple Car Play integration, along with wireless connectivity, which previous models didn’t provide.

This five-passenger crossover also comes with decent legroom and headroom, as well as a respectable space amount for luggage (26.9 cubic feet in the cargo hold).

Plus, Infiniti offers a solid warranty package covering the first four years or 60,000 miles, as well as a powertrain warranty good for six years or 70,000 miles.

However, despite Infiniti QX55’s impressive design, the poor powertrain detracts from the overall experience. And a good chunk of what luxury vehicle buyers pay for is experience. Still, the QX55 will get you where you need to go. And you’ll look fantastic doing it.