Wednesday, February 2, 2022




Having first experienced the”Essential” edition of Infiniti’s new QX55 SUV in the latter part of last year (see archives for December to the right), I recently had the opportunity for time in the top-of-the-line “Sensory” trim of the 2022 Infiniti QX55.

There is a lot to like about both, though, of course, the Sensory offers a bit more in the way of standard equipment. Not a lot more, but more on that later.

With their eye-catching fastback design and premium-packed interior, either would be a good choice if you are looking for a luxury crossover, and I might even say the same for the base Luxe model.

All three trims have identical power with the 286-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter engine paired with a continuously variable transmission that comes with paddle shifters for simulating manual gear selection. Unless looking closely, you get the feel of a smooth-shifting 10-speed transmission. Torque is rated at 280 pound-feet for responsive performance.

All-wheel drive is standard, making fuel mileage about average for its class.  EPA numbers are 22 miles-per-gallon city, 28 highway, and 25 combined using premium fuel.

Basics like cargo space (26.9 cubic feet with the second row seats in place, max of 54.1 with them folded), legroom (39.6 inches for front row, 38.7 for the second), length (186.3 inches), and wheelbase (110.2 inches) are the same on all three trims.
Both the Essential and Sensory trims build on standard features found on the base Luxe trim, like LED headlights, power rear lift gate, heated front seats, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Sensory’s lights get a unique cube headlight design that is optional on the Essential.

Safety features like forward and rear collision alert, lane-departure warning, and blind-spot monitor are included in all trims. 

Essential and Sensory models get real leather seats over the Luxe’s faux-leather, and the tilt-and-telescoping steering column is power-operated on the upper two trims.

The main issue here is what the Sensory offers over the Essential in the way of standard equipment, and, frankly, the answer may not be enough to justify the increase in price.

All the good stuff on the Essential is also included on the Sensory, including a power moonroof, driver seat memory settings, ventilated front seats, Infiniti’s InTouch infotainment systems with navigation, 16-speaker Bose premium sound system, and a surround-view camera to aid in tight parking situations.

What the Sensory has over the Essential in the way of standard features are  all the suite of features in the Pro-PILOT Assist  program (full-speed range adaptive cruise control and steering assist), LED daytime running lights, upgraded Semi-Aniline leather for the seats, black maple interior trim, advanced tri-zone climate control (in place of dual zone), and adaptive steering.

Also, the lift gate in the Sensory is hands-free, which can make loading packages easier. Carpeted floor mats are included in both models.

The thing is, the Essential carries a starting price of $51,600 and you can add the Pro-PILOT Assist as an option for $895 for a total of $53,520 (including freight charges). That is well under the $58,975 the Sensory will start you at.

Both the Essential and Sensory models that served for my reviews had $695 added for premium paint. The Sensory also included a special package for welcome and kick-plate lighting and a cargo package that included a reversible cargo mat, console net, cargo net, cargo blocks, and a rear bumper protector for a final bottom line of $60,045.

The extras on the Essential ran its total to $54,120. You shouldn’t need a calculator see the savings.

What I liked about the 2022 Infiniti QX55 Sensory: Love the fastback styling, and the interior is very classy as well as roomy. I like the two-screen setup to separate functions like the radio and navigation even though it has been the target of some reviewers’ derision. The ride is smooth and quiet. Intelligent (adaptive) cruise control is standard as well as other ProPILOT Assist features.

What I didn’t like about the 2022 Infiniti QX55 Sensory: I would like a knob to surf the radio dial or adjust volume rather than having to push a button. Also, I’m not a big fan of CVTs, though this one does simulate manual shifts and has a Sport mode that ups performance. The sloping roof line does infringe of headroom and rear stowage, but not much and I’m not back there so what do I care?

Would I buy the 2022 Infiniti QX55 Sensory: I love the QX55 and think Infiniti did a great job with it, but the higher MSRP for the top-of-the-line Sensory trim makes the Essential a financially wiser choice!

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