Normally we stream all of our TV and movies, so we never see any commercials, but as luck would have it, we just happened to be watching live TV and an ad for the All-New 2022 Infiniti QX55 came on. Oh my… that is VERY attractive!! Must test one of those ASAP!! Luck struck twice, because there was one available in the press fleet in a stunning colour and we got to drive it for a week-long test.
Having been invited to spend a couple of days in Prince Edward County (cottage country), we were more than happy to take this beauty on a Road Trip!! Would the Infiniti QX55 leave an impression on us? Would we love it as much as we thought we might? Let’s find out…
What Is It?
- Mid-size Luxury CUV
- All-New for 2022 – its first redesign since 2003
- 3 Trim levels: LUXE, ESSENTIAL ProASSIST, and the top-of the line SENSORY (which is what the test vehicle was)
- 2.0L Turbo 4-cylinder engine with Intelligent All-wheel drive
- CTV Transmission (Continuously Variable automatic Transmission) with manual shift mode and Downshift Rev Matching
How Does It Look?
- In these eyes: Gorgeous! Especially in the “Dynamic Sunstone Red” paint job
- Perfectly proportioned and size
- Compared to most other SUV’s the face is well proportioned and looks good, instead of a disgusting mess of grills and lights (Toyota anyone?)
- Great looking rims too – 20” Machine Finished Alloy’s with 255/45R20 all-season run-flat tires across the range
- Full LED headlights, taillights, fog lights and DRL’s
- 45 individual LEDs in each tail light – no I didn’t count them!
- Black Obsidian is the standard colour. Dynamic Sunstone Red (test vehicle) is $1,200 and all the others are $750
- The Sensory trim level has no other options available
What’s It Like Inside?
- Interior layout is very nice, but on longer trips you find there isn’t much storage for things like phones, coffee cups, USB drives etc. The cup holder is way too small – forget Big Gulp, never mind a Super one! I kept getting the lid on my coffee cup caught on the lid of my wife’s cup every time I took a drink (see pictures). There’s very little room to store anything around these “mini” cup holders.
- Black open pore Natural Maple wood – nice touch accents along with the leather(ette?) dashboard makes it very classy in appearance
- Power Moonroof with power open/close/tilt is standard, however the sunshade is manual – very odd
- SENSORY models get “premium semi-aniline leather” interior
- Heated and cooled front seats, with 8-way power driver and passenger seats + 2-way power lumbar adjustment
- Memory seat, wheel and mirrors with reverse tilt-down feature – I wish all vehicles came with that!!
- Zero Gravity seats (front) are quite comfortable – designed to reduce physical fatigue by minimizing pressure on the back and hips of the front occupants
- Dual, high-resolution touch screens 8-inch upper and 7-inch lower for infotainment and vehicle controls
- Navigation deserves its own special place in hell – more details below in a separate section
- Not sure if it’s connected to the navigation or not – we weren’t using it at the time… out of nowhere we get: “Warning! Thunderstorm reported 7.8 kilometres from your location.” OK, what am I supposed to do with that information? Where is the thunderstorm and why should I care?
- Another time we’re driving on the 403 highway heading into Toronto: “Caution! Road with restricted access!” What the hell does that mean? A couple of seconds later… “Caution! Road with restricted access!” Oh, now I get it… the HOV lane is right beside me. EVERY entrance/exit area for the HOV lane and we get the same caution notification!!! That’s every kilometre or so… for 20 kilometres. I have no idea if it can be switched off or not, but I certainly don’t need a car stating the bloody obvious to me, thank you very much!!
- Bose Performance Audio System with 16-Speakers is very, very good – superb even, oh and there’s a CD player too!!
- Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) – three microphones inside the cabin detect unwanted frequencies and neutralize them with phase-shifting noises transmitted through speakers. Nissan have done an admirable job of keeping the cabin very quiet
- Active Sound Enhancement (ASE) – using the audio system, a signature engine note transmitted through the cabin – I have no idea how to switch this on or off. Did it work? No clue either way
- There’s Plenty of knee and legroom for rear passengers with the completely flat floor
- The cargo area offers plenty of space, even with the steeply raked rear end and the rear seats split 64/40 offering even more room
- Thanks to its sliding (up to 6”) and reclining rear seat, you can get up to 38.7 inches (983 mm) of rear-seat legroom
- Cargo Space: 26.9 cu.ft (761 L) behind the second row – folding the seats flat, cargo capacity is 54.1 cu.ft (1,532 L)
The QX55 Navigation From Hell
I hate to be so negative about this one Infiniti, but your SatNav is so bad that I had to dedicate a whole section to our bad experience! I can only hope this is a technical problem with the unit we drove, but, buyers beware! Be sure to give the SatNav a thorough going through and judge for yourself.
- The SatNav is beyond terrible. It randomly turns the arrow south, instead of north – the way you’re driving. Every time you program/reprogram it, it points the arrow south…again, so you end up driving in the wrong direction and then it tells you to turn around
- The split screen will give you TWO different directions. For example, the right screen was showing the road curving to the right, but the left screen and the voice told us to turn left. After turning left it told me immediately to do a U-turn and continue on the road that curved to the right!! It happened more than once on the same trip
- When following the list of directions on the bottom screen – goes from the bottom upwards…who reads a list from the bottom!!?? AND it doesn’t give you the distance till the next turn, it gives you the distance to the destination
- When searching for a business it cuts off the wording, so now you have to guess which one you want to pot-shot and see if it’s right.
- Even after typing the exact address it doesn’t recognize it, unless you wait and wait and wait for it to give you another pot-shot guess in the dark
- When it gives you a choice of which route to take (Econo, Fast, Shortest route), most times it’s the same route!!
- It took us 10 minutes to type in our home address and a pit stop at Starbucks along the way. Then it said “go to the nearest road” – we were already beside the road, in a parking lot. Which way? Left or right? Zero direction from the navigation. Took a potshot and went left – yay, it was a right guess, then it wanted us to turn immediately down a tiny side street – but we were on a major highway – going to a freeway! We ignored the directions and everything went fine, sort of
- We had to continue ignoring the Nav’s fetish for taking a tour of every back alley and residential street it deemed necessary to take, instead of just following the “big” road!
- 9-inch Head-Up Display (HUD) comes standard on SENSORY – shows warnings for slower vehicles or traffic ahead, including Automatic Emergency Braking information, lane guidance for navigation, Lane Departure Warning, and speed information including Traffic Sign Detection.
- I usually love HUD’s but this one is useless. Unless you crank the seat all the way up, you can’t see the HUD unless you’re over 6’ tall – I’m not. I couldn’t find any way to adjust it, so I put the seat down to my comfort level and used the information in the binnacle, which worked perfectly
- Forward Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection – I found this worked… and it didn’t, completely hit and miss whether it chose to warn me
- Blind Spot Warning – LOVE where Nissan/Infiniti place the blind spot light – nice and high inside the vehicle and within eyeshot, not in the outside mirror!
- Around View Monitor with moving object detection – worked well
- Switching on the Adaptive Cruise Control, you immediately feel the steering change, it feels like it tightens up, but at the same time the QX55 takes control of the steering by keeping it between the lines – a very odd feeling, almost like losing complete control – certainly not what I expect from cruise control.
So How Quick Is It & How Does It Handle?
- It’s pretty quick and fun to drive – especially in Sport mode, where the steering instantly changes and becomes a lot stiffer – everything just feels better!
- Blasting into a twisty S-bends, the QX55 corners flat and stable with no body roll. I was doing more than 90 km/h in a 50 zone and could easily have gone faster with no fuss
- The test model (SENSORY) comes with Direct Adaptive Steering (DAS), which is a steer-by-wire setup that changes how it feels based on vehicle speed and the drive mode selected by the driver… and it works well
- Even in Econo Mode, it doesn’t let you down if you mash the throttle
- In the QX55 the CVT features “shift-by-wire” technology, ensuring driver inputs are transferred almost instantaneously when shifting in manual mode – that works as promised
- According to Infiniti: “Personal” allows the driver to pick Sport mode, and then either Dynamic or the Dynamic+ response sub-modes – I found the Sport mode, but try as I might, I never found a way to access the Dynamic or the Dynamic+! I found the little selection in the driver’s binnacle, but couldn’t find a way to change that, making it pointless.
- Intelligent AWD system – At takeoff, the system doles power to the front and rear axles in a 50:50 split and if no slip is detected, the system can send up to 100 percent of the power to the front wheels only
- CVT Transmission (Continuously Variable automatic Transmission) with manual shift mode and Downshift Rev Matching. Some (most) people and especially journalists’ hate them. We’ve always liked them…until now. We’ve had lots of experience with CVT’s as we owned a Dodge Caliber for 4+ years with a CVT and loved it. Last year we drove the Nissan Sentra SR and loved it because the car is always in the correct ‘gear’ when you need it. BUT in the QX55 it doesn’t work. It always felt like it was searching to get into a gear and there was plenty of that “rubber band feel” that virtually every auto journalist points out and complains about. Here’s my theory – it works great on smaller, lighter cars – but bigger, heavier vehicles like the QX55 – it just doesn’t work
- Additionally, it has eight pre-selected ratios when the manual mode is selected, so it feels like it’s an actual 8-speed automatic transmission – it works perfectly in that situation
Horsepower: 268 @ 5,600 rpm
Torque: 280 @ 4,400-4,800 rpm
Top Speed: 220 km/h / 137 mph
0-62 mph (sec): 6.7
2022 QX55 starting prices: LUXE – $51,995 // Essential ProASSIST – $56, 998
(A $6,500 price bump over the 2021 version)
As Tested: Sensory – $60,998 + Dynamic Sunstone Red paint – $1,200 = $62,198
- Rated at (L/100 km): City – 10.5 / Highway – 8.3 / Combined – 9.5
- For the entire week we got 9.5 L/100 km no matter what type of road or driving style we used
- Premium Unleaded Fuel
- Gas gauge… We picked up the QX55 and it said it had 635 kms till empty. At ½ a tank we filled up at Costco and it said 535 kms till empty. Hmm. That’s weird – 100 kilometres less?! Got to 1/2 way again and filled at Canadian Tire (91 octane – no ethanol) started up, and it said 646 till empty. Hmmm. Either the ethanol eliminates 100 kilometers or the gauge is wonky. Filled up again at Costco and got 646 till empty!!
- Basic: 4 years/100,000 km
- Powertrain: 6 years/110,000 km
- Roadside Assistance: 4 years + 4 Year Travel Planning Service
BMW X3/X4, Jaguar E-Pace/F-Pace, Lincoln Corsair, Mercedes-Benz GLC/GLB, Porsche Macan, Volvo XC60
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
- The Good: Looks and the Colour
- The Bad: Price – just a little too high + HUD
- The Ugly: Navigation
What’s The Verdict? This is a tough decision. Compared to the previous generation (the QX50 – is probably one of the fugliest SUV’s ever thrust upon us) the QX55 looks fantastic and we’d never tire of looking at it parked in our driveway. Everyone we spoke to loved its look. We LOVED the QX55 to drive and it is just the perfect size. BUT that navigation system really came to the fore – and only because we took a trip to somewhere we’d never been before. THAT’S when you need a SatNav the most, and it failed us miserably – its 2021 and this is unacceptable. We couldn’t connect to Waze for some reason, or we’d have bypassed using the SatNav. The HUD is useless unless you’re tall or like to sit high upon a throne. Any “tweaking” to the vehicle is so deeply hidden you can’t find it. If I’m dropping $40k on a vehicle in 2021, I’m NOT willing to forgo many quirks, but $62k?
SAFETY – Safety Shield 360
(Several cameras, radar technology and sonar work together to create a system that looks in front, behind and beside the vehicle as it drives)
- High Beam Assist
- Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection – can provide audio and visual alerts and even apply the brakes to help avoid or mitigate a collisions
- Blind Spot Warning – I love where the light is places in the door instead of on the mirror, like most manufacturers – it’s so much easier to see
- Rear Automatic Braking – watches out directly behind you for stationary items you might not see.
- Rear Cross-Traffic Alert – can alert you to approaching cars that might be out of sight
- Lane Departure Warning – vibrates the steering wheel just enough to get your attention without being annoying
- Intelligent Forward Collision Warning – It watches two cars ahead, monitoring your speed and distance, and when it detects sudden deceleration, it can give you a warning to slow down.
- Driver Attention Alertness – analyzes driver steering behavior to provide an alert if signs of drowsiness or inattention are detected
Copyright © 2021 by Iain Shankland. All rights reserved.
Text: Iain Shankland / Images: Nissan