By Peter Perrotta
The automotive landscape is literally littered with crossover models these days.
Every manufacturer has at lease two or three or even four crossovers in their lineups.
These popular relative neophytes to the industry aren’t quite full high off the ground SUVs. Neither are they low to the ground traditional sedans, either.
Rather, most of them are designed to either look sporty or rugged from the outside and give one the driving experience of both an SUV and sedan at the same time. Most of them are four wheel drive, but offer limited off-road capabilities.
I assume that well informed product engineers who make big bucks know a little bit more than me about what the general motoring public wants or needs. So, for now at least, this trend appears to be continuing.
In keeping with that seemingly popular trend, the folks at Infiniti for 2022 are offering up a brand new model in their lineup. Yep, you guessed it, another crossover.
Enter the 2022 Infiniti QX55 Sensory AWD.
In keeping with our efforts to provide our On The Road readers all the latest reviews, I recently had the privilege of jumping behind the wheel of this new model for one week just shortly after it first began showing up in showrooms for sale.
The new QX55 will be offered up in three trim levels: the base Luxe model ($47,525); the mid range Essential ($52,625) and the top-of-the-line Sensory $58,075.
The DNA of this new Infiniti model is rooted in the FX crossover models Infiniti introduced back in 2003. However, this new QX55 model shares the same platform as the compact Infiniti QX50 SUV.
Moreover, its powerplant is the same as the one offered in the QX50, a variable compression turbocharged 2.0 liter, four cylinder engine that is capable of producing 268 horsepower. It is paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and a standard four wheel drive drive train.
First off, as far as looks go, this new QX55 is a stunner. Designed to compete in the same crossover segment as the Porsche Macan, Mercedes GLC or BMW X4, I would say this new model can hold its own looks-wise, at least, with the competition.
The test model I drove came in a “Dynamic Sunstone Red” exterior with a graphite interior. This is an attractive combination.
The QX55 has a bold new look with an aggressive looking front fascia and 20-inch dark painted and machine finished aluminum alloy wheels.
The interior outlay is what you would expect from an Infiniti but not overly luxurious.
So, how does it drive?
Well, there’s the rub. When you put the drive of the QX55 up against its European top competitors like the Porsche Macan, Mercedes GLC or the BMW X4, I feel it comes up a tad short in the dynamic driving experience category.
The QX55 has a very smooth and comfortable driving feel to it – typical of most of the Japanese imports. In fact, it’s a very easy crossover to settle into and get used to.
However, when you switch it into the “Sport” driving mode with the anticipation that you are going to get a bit of a more dynamic feel to it, it’s a bit disappointing.
The combination of the 2.0 liter, four cylinder turbo charged engine and the CVT transmission lacks a real punch. When you try to aggressively accelerate in the sport mode the engine just revs more and sounds a bit tinny but there’s no real “Wow” factor there.
That being said, not everyone needs to or wants to drive in a sporty, more aggressive style – that happens to be my thing – but others may never need to go there.
Overall, the QX55 offers a very solid and comfortable ride with smooth and precise handling. This car has a softer more pillowy suspension and its AWD system is capable but not designed for any serious off road challenges.
The interior of the new QX55 is average. It’s not overly luxurious but it’s designed well and the dual screen infotainment system is easy to use and syncs quite easily with your phone or music system. The voice command system is above average.
With a base price of $58,075. my tester had tons of standard equipment. If you splurge and get this top of the line model, there isn’t any need to get any expensive options.
In fact, the only additional options on my tester were $900 for exclusive paint and $1,025 for destination charge. It carries a bottom line sticker price of $58,975.
The EPA has no fuel consumption ratings for the new QX55 yet and neither has it been safety crash test rated under the government’s 5 star rating system.
Overall, I think the QX55 will find its niche in this highly competitive segment. While I don’t think it will threaten the European leaders, I do think it will turn enough heads to attract a niche following for those who like the feel of the Japanese luxury imports.
Peter Perrotta’s On The Road column appears weekly. Email email@example.com with any comments or questions.