Base pricing for the QX55 starts at $51,995 in Canada, $46,500 in the US.
The QX55 is a monumental sales flop but really at being a luxury SUV.
About the sales, no more than 4,900 were sold in Canada and the US combined in 2021.
When I reviewed the Infiniti QX50 two years ago, I concluded that there was nothing inherently flawed with the small luxury SUV. Quite the contrary, I enjoyed the styling, content, and the driving experience. As the QX55 is nothing more than a QX50 with a revised roofline and different hatch, I was expecting to like it and I did.
While I did cover roughly 700 km in a week with the QX55, I know that I would never buy one. And clearly, the overwhelming majority of you out there in the market for a smaller luxury SUV feel the same way. In Canada, only 484 were sold in 2021, out-selling the Q60 which was more or less “abandoned” by Infiniti a few years ago. US figures for both models are equally abysmal at 4,332 and 2,728 respectively. The QX55 is a flop by all accounts but it’s not entirely its fault.
It’s got nothing to do with the FX
My first issue with the QX55 has to do with what Infiniti wants you to think it is. Upon its reveal, Nissan’s luxury arm stated the following: “The INFINITI QX55 is the spiritual successor to another one-of-a-kind moment: the INFINITI FX.” Other than both being SUVs sold by Infiniti, they have nothing else in common. And clearly, no one is buying into it. Infiniti had quite the following in the 90s and 2000s. For those who recall the FX, which became the QX70, and who might be in the market for a premium SUV today, will not fall for the fake hype. They’ll head over to BMW and get an X4.
The marketing ploy sets expectations to which the QX55 can’t deliver. Mind you, the VC-T turbocharged 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine has 260 horsepower and 280 lb.-ft. of torque is, other than needlessly complex, gifted. The power comes on early and is aided and abetted by the standard continuously variable transmission. Although it robs the SUV of some clout, it’s really quite good. Its influence on the engine will see engine revs rise and drop under mild acceleration but overall, it’s an asset.
The VC-T engine’s compression varies infinitely between 8:1 and 14:1 thanks to a sophisticated set of actuators. It’s impressive as its operation is entirely transparent and has no negative impact on throttle response. Quite the opposite in fact. The QX55 is quick from a standstill and is unimpressed when loaded and passing maneuvers are required.
Also, another highlight is ride comfort. The chassis is tuned to be a tad more dynamic than comfortable however even when riding through my hood and over the broken roads, and despite the standard 20-inch wheels, the QX55 is poised and serene. Less amusing is Infiniti’s steering. For a while now, vehicles equipped with the brand’s direct adaptive steering are uninspiring to drive. There exists no feedback between the tires and the steering wheel. This disconnect isolates the driver in you but for most, they’ll likely report that steering feels good. Braking performance is excellent.
Attractive if unique
In this segment, looking the part or at least drawing attention is crucial. This is especially true for an Infiniti vehicle as brand recognition continues to wane and lag behind the competition. The QX50 is a handsome small SUV but even so, it quickly disappears in the background. The QX55’s rearward flowing roofline and angled hatch are very trendy. Certainly, the SUV is good-looking but not a head-turner.
The cabin is exemplary. The craftsmanship and materials are a match for Audi and Lexus without a doubt. Contrast stitching and the excellent fit make for a very premium interior. Unfortunately, with the speed at which technology and presentation evolves, the QX55’s twin-screen setup (8-inch upper and 7-inch lower) has already aged.
The functionality and ergonomics are still relevant. Some of the graphics however are dated and portions of the interface, though purposeful again, set back the Infiniti’s appeal for a slightly younger crowd. This is a difficult fact to swallow for a “new” 2022 model year vehicle.
Despite the QX55’s compact-ish outer dimensions, the cabin is reasonably roomy. With the kids in their seats, parents up front, and a stroller, and a series of bags in the 762-litre trunk, we were surprisingly comfortable. In fact, there was enough room left over to fit a quick Holiday shopping spree while out on a road trip.
Everything is right except…
Given the chance, the 2022 Infiniti QX55 will impress, even surprise. The question is why would anyone give it a chance? Price-wise, it provides reasonable value that, along with content and styling, makes the QX55 a valid purchase.
The fact of the matter is that none of it matters because Infiniti’s not doing anything new or novel with the QX55. It’s a copy of the BMW X4 and the Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe without clout or let’s be frank, any attached sense of desirability or even purpose. The fact that Infiniti wants potential buyers to think it’s somehow related to the FX is in many ways sad.
As I stated in my QX50 review, consumers don’t see the value in the overreaching efforts put forth in the QX55, so it’s just another small premium SUV. Or worse, it’s not an Andi, BMW, Lexus, or Mercedes-Benz.