In the world of premium crossover SUVs, it’s sometimes hard to tell one from another. That’s really not a problem with any Infiniti product.
The brand is gifted with sports car DNA from its parent company, Nissan, and the Infiniti engineers and designers never try to hide it. That makes every Infiniti an engaging driver’s machine, and at the same time a technology showcase.
The compact Infiniti QX55 crossover is in its second year on the market, and it’s already a favorite. That was easy to predict because the QX55 harks back to one of the original crossover coupes: the groundbreaking Infiniti FX that pioneered the coupe-profile in SUVs 20 years ago. But while the QX55 has a great ancestor, this SUV is also notable for the modern technology it brings to the market.
As mentioned, the QX55 has a fastback coupe profile, instead of the boxy rear end on most SUVs. Whether that’s a plus or not depends on your taste. As a rule, I don’t care for coupe profile SUVs because most of them take the U for utility out of the acronym. Too often, coupe profile SUVs sacrifice rear seat space and cargo space, but that’s not the case with the QX55.
Honestly, you can just about forget it’s a coupe profile unless you’re admiring the vehicle. Apart from the roofline, the QX55 is all Infiniti — it’s a good-looking, athletic, and sinuous exterior design.
I want to give one special shout-out for the Hermosa Blue exterior color on the test vehicle. This is a deep navy blue that appears almost black until the light hits it and you get treated to an oceanic sparkle. Nice work by Infiniti’s color and materials group!
The QX55 offers spacious interior accommodation for four passengers, or you can squeeze three into the rear seat if you had to. There’s no headroom problem in the back seat, which is nice.
The seats are comfortable and up front they’re both heated and ventilated in the base Essential trim. Controls are easy to use, with plenty of real buttons and switches that actually do things. The QX55 is easy to learn and within a week, driving it and using all its functions is second nature.
Engine power comes from a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine rated at 268 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. The engine is notable because it’s got variable compression technology. This allows the engine control computer to vary the stroke of the pistons between 8:1 and 14:1 compression. You won’t notice that happening, however. What you’ll notice is that the engine delivers plenty of power to make a pass when you step on the gas, and it all drives smoothly using a continuously variable transmission.
Yet while there’s not a single thing I could complain about, I found myself wistfully thinking about the old FX35 and FX45 SUVs, and the V-6 and V-8 engines they had. I prefer a bit more of that old-school torque. (Just listen to me, talking about the 2000s as old school, sheesh!)
Safety and Technology
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awarded the QX55 four out of five stars in its frontal crash test rating. Before you start to think maybe this isn’t that great, note that the same vehicle got five stars last year. They raise the standards every year. Across the street at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the QX55 got top marks on everything, but then they updated the side impact test and the QX55 slipped a bit. That’s OK, as these tests help make safer cars every year.
The real news on the QX55 is its driver assistance tech. Infiniti includes ProPilot Assist, which is one of the best steering assistance packages on the market. You also get adaptive cruise, parking sensors, traffic sign recognition, plus a full suite of collision avoidance and mitigation features.
Time for another shout-out — this time for Infiniti’s Around View camera system. Not only do you get the bird’s eye view and reversing camera, you can switch the view to a forward-looking angle from the passenger side mirror, giving you a perfect view of the right-front wheel and corner. You can also switch to a forward bumper view to eliminate the blind spot in front of the grille. Top marks to the Infiniti team for those extra camera views.
The interior tech story is peculiar to Infiniti. The company is still using that idiosyncratic twin screen setup with an 8-inch screen on top and a 7-inch screen down lower on the stack. At a time when 11-inch, 12-inch, and larger screens are coming on economy cars, this feels like a throwback. That being said, the infotainment system works well, and the 16-speaker Bose Audio system will do the job nicely.
The only thing I looked for and was disappointed not to find was a wireless device charging pad. I know the Essential is not the top trim, but come on Infiniti, it’s 2023. You included GPS navigation as standard, and I love the USB-C outlets, but you couldn’t put in the charging pad?
The QX55 is very pleasant to drive. In our week with the crossover we went for a weekend on the coast and made a trip into Portland for the evening. You can put 200 miles on the QX55 in a day and not feel like you spent too much time in the vehicle. The noise canceling tech that Infiniti puts in every QX55 does a great job of making the cabin a pleasant place to be.
Engine power is there when you want it, and the CVT is well-executed and not at all annoying. To be honest, I had to look it up to be sure it was a CVT and not just an abnormally responsive automatic. Steering is precise and the brakes are more than adequate — just ask the guy who pulled out from a sideroad right in front of me on US 101. On the whole, there’s nothing but good to report about driving the QX55.
2023 Infiniti QX55 Essential AWD Specifications
|Dimension||L: 186.3 inches/W: 74.9 inches/H: 63.8 inches/Wheelbase: 110.2 inches|
|Powertrain||2.0-liter 4-cylinder; CVT, AWD|
|Fuel Economy||22 mpg city/28 mpg highway/25 mpg combined|
|Performance Specs||268 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque|
|Price||Base price: $54,250; As tested: $56,580 including $1,195 destination charge|
|On-Sale Date||Available now|
The 2023 QX55 comes in three trims — the base Luxe trim, mid-grade Essential, and the top Sensory trim. Apart from the lack of a wireless charger, I thought the Essential trim was a pretty good package. But the base price on the Luxe trim is $49,150, or $54,250 for Essential, and $57,800 for Sensory. With such a short trim walk, why not go for the gold and get the Sensory trim?
All QX55 models are subject to a $1,195 delivery charge, and the test car came with $1,000 worth of options I wouldn’t pick — I don’t really need an illuminated kick plate ($485) or the puddle lighting with the Infiniti logo ($650). I’d rather put that money towards upgrading to the top trim.
2023 Infiniti CX55 Essential AWD — Frequently Asked Questions
Is the Infiniti QX55 reliable?
The QX55 is expected to have average reliability, which is to say, yes, very reliable.
Is the QX55 bigger than the QX50?
The QX50 offers more rear seat headroom than the QX55.
How long will the QX55 last?
Most Infiniti models will last at least 200,000 miles.