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First Drive: 2022 Infiniti QX55 is a stylish puzzle missing a high-tech piece

The 2022 Infiniti QX55 is a solid offering, but is it good enough to keep up with the competition?

Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motors

Have you ever worked on a puzzle for days only to get to the end and realize that you're missing a piece or two? That's exactly how it feels to be behind the wheel of the 2022 Infiniti QX55.

Billed as the spiritual successor to the Infiniti FX, the QX55 proves that marketing speak doesn't always translate to real life results. Instead, Infiniti's "demand center stage" tagline is more appropriate for the model. It's an SUV for people who like to be seen in certain vehicles.

The exterior of the QX55 is all Infiniti with a giant double-arch grille, bulbous hood creases, and sleek side styling. Its best looking features are at the back where wing-like taillamp, made up of 45 individual LED bulbs, flank the car highlighting its premium appeal.

2022 Infiniti QX55 The SU's stylish rear turns heads. Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motors

With a Dynamic Sunstone Red paint job, the QX55 is striking. It literally tuned heads in parking lots and on the street while on a lengthy test drive.

Under the hood of the QX55 is the same four-cylinder VC-Turbo engine that's in the QX50. It is paired with a continuously variable transmission that makes 268 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. The powertrain is perfectly capable but not inspiring. Standard all-wheel drive gives drivers confidence.

Of the four drive modes, Standard allows to be little too comfortable wobbling in its lane. Sport mode does tighten up the mechanics and delivers shorter shifts, but it falls short of a truly sporty drive experience. Switching to Eco mode is best left to times when you're sitting in traffic.

2022 Infiniti QX55 The interior of the QX55 is very similar to the one in the QX50. Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motors

The interior of the QX55 is basically the same as what is in the QX50. In today's premium market, that's not good enough. The materials that make up the cabin appear high quality but not luxurious. Fit and finish is good.

Let's address the elephant in the room - the dual-screen (one 7-inch and one 8-inch) infotainment system. Though it was billed as the new-generation Infiniti InTouch system when it debuted in the 2020 QX50, the system's already-dated appearance and the screens' resolution has quickly put Infiniti behind the eight ball. The menus aren't arranged for easy use and the screens are slow to respond to inputs.

Thankfully wireless Apple CarPlay, a first for an Infiniti product, is available to fill the void. There's also four USB ports, which allow for easy charging when necessary.

Seating in the QX55 is comfortable. There is a good amount of rear-seat legroom and the front seats.

2022 Infiniti QX55 Wireless Apple CarPlay is standard on the model. Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motors

Cargo room isn't anything to write home about, but it is good enough for the average owner.

Infiniti equipped the tester with ProPilot Assist safety and driver assist technology. The system is one of the best parts about the SUV and makes driving distances on the highway easier. The tech works exactly as it does in the Nissan Rogue and other Nissan vehicles.

The premium automaker has included a number of standard features in the QX55 that are usually gotten for an extra charge like all-wheel drive, heated front seats, a power-sliding tinted glass moonroof, active noise cancellation technology, 20-inch wheels, wireless Apple CarPlay, a power liftgate, Wi-Fi hot spot, and a long roster of safety features including high beam assist, lane departure warning, automatic emergency braking, blind spot warning, and rear cross traffic alert.

Infiniti sells the QX55 in three trim levels: Luxe, Essential, and Sensory. The SUV has a starting MSRP of $46,500. The QX55 Essential comes in at $51,600 and the Sensory model is priced at $57,050. A few packages are available that bump up the cost of each model by a thousand dollars or so. Destination and handling charges add another $1,025 to the total.

2022 Infiniti QX55 There's plenty of cargo space in the QX55 for the average family. Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motors

To put it plainly, the Infiniti QX55 isn't any better than its closest competition. The Acura RDX stands out compared to the QX55 for its engaging drive, gobs of cargo space, and modern infotainment system, as well as its all-in price that's just $2,000 more than the starting price of the QX55.

Lincoln has given its 2021 Nautilus a new, elegantly refined interior and an available powerful V6 engine that delvers 335 horsepower. It starts at just $41,490.

Buick has redesigned its Envision for the 2021 model year giving the model an upgraded level of sophistication though its engine falls into line with what the Infiniti offers, but at a far lower price. It has a starting MSRP of $31,800.

The Lexus RX is also healthy competition for the model, especially because it comes in a hybrid variant and the QX55 does not. The Land Rover Range Rover Evoque is a more capable off-roader. The RS starts at $45,170 while the Evoque comes in at $43,300.

Infiniti has designed the QX55 to be attractive. It's easy to see how customers who like the Nissan Murano may be persuaded to choose the QX55 when they are ready for their next model.

The Infiniti doesn't go far enough. It isn't fun enough to drive. It isn't innovative enough. It isn't stylish enough. It doesn't have enough to pull customers away from other models if they're cross-shopping without bias. It will be up to Infiniti dealers to make the case of the car.

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The 11th-generaiton Honda Civic Sedan has broken cover.

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co.

Marie was a little bit country and Donny was a little bit rock and roll. The design of the redesigned 2022 Honda Civic Sedan looks a little bit modern and a little bit vintage - and it's all a heck of a lot less polarizing than the previous generation.

Today Honda has offered the first official fully lighted glimpse of the 11th-generation Civic, which is set to officially debut April 28. The design of the model was previewed last year with the Civic Prototype.

2022 Honda Civic Prototype The 2022 Honda Civic Prototype showed off a nearly production-ready design late last year. Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

Honda openly admits that the look of the new Civic was inspired by the last. Head into the trove of internet photos of the fourth- and fifth-generation Civic to see parallels in design. Honda said that designers upheld Honda's human-centric design philosophy in the new model while also increasing the safety.

The result is a car that looks very much like a sedan but still retains sporty attributes. It also looks more like the Accord in this generation than the last. In the photo provided by Honda, the new Civic is in Touring trim level form.

Honda said that the car's interior design, which they haven't shown photos of yet, is "uncluttered", has "simple ergonomics", and delivers "exceptional visibility".

The 2022 Civic will arrive on dealership lots this summer.

Also this summer, the Honda Civic Tour will return for its 20th season. There will be two stops on the virtual tour that will be livestreamed on the Honda Stage YouTube channel. The first event will start at 5:00 p.m. PT, on April 28. The virtual concert event on Twitch will also give Civic Tour fans a special first look at the all-new 2022 Honda Civic Sedan around 6:00 p.m. PT, leading into the performance.

As previously announced, the all-new Civic Hatchback will follow Civic Sedan production by several months. Details about Civic Hatchback, to be manufactured by Honda in the United States for the first time in its history, will follow later this year. The Civic Hatchback will be built at the company's Indiana auto plant.

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The 2022 Lexus ES will debut next week.

Photo courtesy of Lexus

The meat and potatoes of the Lexus sedan lineup, the ES, is due for a refresh, and it will get one. The 2022 Lexus ES will be shown publicly for the first time this Sunday as part of the festivities of the Shanghai auto show.

While the photo doesn't tell a lot, there's some things you can bet on in the 2022 ES. For starters, look for all the improvements that the auto has gotten over the last two years to carry over into the new model. That includes the addition of all-wheel drive to the lineup and standard blind spot monitor and rear cross traffic alert.

The ES Black Line may not make its way to the 2022 version of the midsize sedan. Generally, blacked out editions are available only at the tail end of a model run ahead of a refresh or generational redesign. However, the blacked out elements could become available as part of a package.

The headlight photo that Lexus has offered as a teaser shows a housing that is not dissimilar to the one that the Lexus IS wears. However, the daytime running light is on the bottom here, instead off the top. Like the IS, there are strong hood lines.

At the back, the preview video shows a vehicle that is very similar to the current model. It's taillights, a strong chrome line that runs the width of the year, and rear lip spoiler all look mostly same as before.

As for what to expect underneath the body of the car, there's not a lot of indication from the teasers, which leads one to believe that's where the biggest changes are coming. There's a good chance that we'll finally say goodbye to the Lexus touch pad in favor of a touch screen display that's within a comfortable distance.

It's also likely that Lexus will fine tune the dynamics of the ES in a similar fashion to how the Lexus IS got more performance-focused driving dynamics in its latest redo.

Stay tuned for more specifics are the curtain is pulled back on April 19 in China (April 18 in the U.S.).

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