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RIDES 2022 Infiniti QX55 DRiVing WitH Dan Dan WieSe Dan Wiese is a freelance automotive writer. You can e-mail him at: firstname.lastname@example.org Based on the QX50, new 55 is a sport-utility with more sport, less utility Infiniti’s compact QX50 crossover has spawned a fashion maven: the 2022 QX55, which shares 50’s platform and mechanicals. Although, from a styling standpoint, it’s pretty much identical to its source material from the B-pillar forward, QX55 from its B-pillar aft goes its own way, showing a fastback roof and seductive profile. Of course, you gotta make some sacrifices in the name of fashion. Compared to QX50, the dashing 55 surrenders an inch-and-a-half of rear head room, 10 cubic feet of seats-folded cargo space and roughly 6 cubes of total interior volume. On the other hand, when you’re behind the wheel -- well, as Billy Crystal’s “Fernando” used to say, “Dahling, you look mahvelous. Absolutely mahvelous!” Like QX50, which itself debuted in 2019, this new QX55’s styling starts with a mug that blends a catfish maw with raptor-eye headlights and slashing front-fascia vents. That remarkable face is capped by a hood that shows raised character creases sharp enough to cut steak, along with edges that overlap the fender crowns! Finally, the draped hood edge melds into a flank-long character line that, unlike 50, runs along 55’s flank through the door handles to a virtually deckless rump. Oh, and out back are wide hips and a racy backlight. Have mercy! Cover the eyes of impressionable children! Along with that hey-look-at-me haberdashery, QX55 shows a roofline that’s 2.2-inches lower while casting an overall shadow that’s 1.6-inches longer, despite sharing QX50’s 110.2-inch wheelbase. Another departure is the number of available trims: 55 drops 50’s base trim 2022 infiniti QX55 VeHicle tyPe: All-wheel drive, fivepassenger, compact luxury crossover baSe PRice: (not including destination charge): luxe: $47,525; essential: $52,625; Sensory: $58,075 PRice aS DRiVen: $58,770; a Sensory with $695 exterior paint upgrade engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 HoRSePoWeR: 268 at 5600 rpm Under its hood, QX55 features a turbocharged four that, in an industry first, can alter its own compression ratio. and its ultra-tony “Autograph” top trim, leaving QX55 available in Luxe, Essential and Sensory raiment. We drove a Sensory. Inside, room is fine up front and surprisingly accommodating in back. Tall guys might squawk in the rear seat, but average stature adults will be OK. And everyone loved the decor in our Sensory -- gray boat-like wood, red and black leather and satin metal throughout. Very snappy. Regarding infotainment, 55 has more screens than the local Cineplex. There’s a reconfigurable display in the gauge pod with 14 info choices -- navigation, trip, mpg, audio, digital speedometer and more. Meanwhile, an upper centerstack screen, though mainly for navi in our Sensory, can. at the twist of a console knob, show other info. And a lower center-stack touch screen, though mainly for audio, can, again, display other information. Mix and match. And, happily, there’s a knob for audio volume. Of course, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility is included. Regardless of trim, the greasy stuff caR talk For Cruiser’s squealing problem, look at the driving surface Ray Magliozzi King Features Content email@example.com DeaR caR talk: I have a 2003 Chrysler PT Cruiser Limited Edition with 225,000 miles. It is running fine, but when driving at lower speeds and turning, like in our condo parking garage, it makes all kinds of squeaks and squeals. They are not heard when driving at higher speeds on the road. I think in the old days, new grease plugs and a lube job would have taken care of this. Is there a way to quiet things down short of replacing ball joints? -- William William, we love having customers like you at the shop. Guys like you come in, having already diagnosed the problem and tell us you need grease plugs (whatever they are), a lube job and ball joints. We sell you all that stuff, and when you come back and say the car was still squealing, we can just shrug and say “Hey, you asked for all that stuff.” I think the squealing is actually coming from your tires, William. But I don’t think you need new tires, either. What you’re hearing is the tires scrubbing or dragging along the smooth, sticky, concrete floor of your parking garage. Chemically sealed concrete is almost perfectly flat and nonporous. That means 100% of the tire’s contact patch is in touch with the garage floor. So when you turn the steering wheel, you end up dragging the tires -- in tiny little movements -- over the garage floor. The tires are intermittently sticking and then sliding a little bit. And that stick-and-slide creates the eeerrr-eeerrr-eeerrr squeaking sound you hear. It’s a lot like what you hear on a basketball court, as players stop and pivot and their sneakers drag along the court surface. When you’re on a normal road, it doesn’t happen, mostly because the pavement isn’t as smooth. Those chunks of asphalt create a much more porous surface than concrete, so not every square millimeter of your tire’s contact patch is touching the road. Plus, when you’re driving, there are other noises that would drown it out, like engine noise, wind noise, road noise and your copy of “Led Zeppelin IV.” What can make the squealing noise worse? If they recently resealed the garage floor. If you have wheels that are out of alignment and more likely to drag or scrub on turns. Or if you’ve been watching too many Charles Bronson movies, William, and are flying into your parking space at 30 mph. Got a question about cars? Write to Ray in care of King Features, 628 Virginia Drive, Orlando, FL 32803, or email by visiting the Car Talk website at www.cartalk.com. (c) 2021 by Ray Magliozzi and Doug Berman Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc. is identical to QX50 with one exception: all-wheel drive, optional on 50, is standard under 55. Power comes from Infiniti’s fourcylinder “VC-Turbo” -- “VC” being shorthand for “variable compression.” It’s a 2.0-liter blown four that, depending on engine load, alters how high the pistons rise in the cylinder cans. In so doing, it alters engine compression for -- in theory -- the “best combination of power and efficiency.” We found the engine surprisingly willing, given that it’s lashed to a standard CVT. It proves gutsy as it unloads its full complement of 280 lb.ft. of torque at a low 1,600 rpm. Bury the skinny pedal and even the CVT works hard to get into the spirit of the proceedings, mimicking step-gear ratio-trades and, in so doing, pretty much eliminating the dreaded CVT drone. Throw in paddle shifters and selectable chassis modes -- Personal, Sport, Standard, Eco -- and drivers greet 60 mph in the 6’s. In 125 miles, about 50 highway, 75 around town, we realized 23 mpg while toRQue: 280 lb.-ft. at 1,600 rpm RecoMMenDeD fuel: Premium tRanSMiSSion: CVT automatic, manual shift mode, downshift rev-matching ePa MPg: 22 city/28 hwy/25 combined WHeelbaSe: 110.2 inches lengtH: 186.3 inches caRgo (seat up/down): 26.9 cu. ft. /54.1 cu. ft. baSe cuRb WeigHt: 4,015 lbs. WHeRe built: Aguascalientes, Mexico enjoying fine ride quality and a civil cabin. So the choice is the buyer’s: a similar driving experience accompanied by square-back utility in QX50 or a racy styling statement in the new QX55. This content was produced by Brand Ave. Studios. The news and editorial departments of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch had no role in its creation or display. Brand Ave. Studios connects advertisers with a targeted audience through compelling content programs, from concept to production and distribution. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org. olD caR coluMn Waxing nostalgic: Two decades of TKCS-STL bRuce kunz Brand Ave. Studios Contributing Writer email@example.com For those of you who may be new to the Old Car Column, I have been Photo by Larry Hassel all time fav favorite fin cars is the 1960 Dodge Polara, or in this case, the writing this column for nearly 18 years, One of my all-time nearly identical, one-step-down Matador. The owner of this example upgraded starting in October of 2003. Fast forward his Matador with Polara trim which included the super slim red taillights at the seven years to 2010 when I started local trailing edge of those great fins! This thing looks supersonic even standing still! Standing next to me is Pablo’s nephew, Lou Hernandez, one of my TKCS-STL promotion of SEMA’s Take a Kid to a Car volunteers, and ‘survivor’ of over 100 shows from 2011 to 2019! He is presently Show, a program which dates back to the Lance Corporal Luis Hernandez and was recently deployed to Kuwait and soon after stationed in Saudi Arabia. late ‘90s. The mission of the program is to promote interest in the special interest car It’s been one heck of a ride, and while hobby with kids in their formative years so that COVID-19 put shows on a hold last year, we’re the hobby will continue to thrive for generations anticipating slowly getting the ball rolling again to come. for 2021. On Easter Sunday, 2010, with a pop up tent borrowed from the St. Louis Jaguar Association, Pablo Rodriguez and I set up the first TKCSSTL booth at the Horseless Carriage Club of Missouri’s Concours d’Elegance on the upper lot of the Muny in Forest Park. Since that first year, along with volunteers, I have done nearly 200 car shows and cruises. In 2011, we adopted lovable, laughable Roy the wonder dog at a Kiwanis car show in Columbia, Illinois. It was a Cinderella story for sure. Roy quickly became the TKCS-STL mascot and was loved by all who encountered him. As of 2019, Roy had attended more than 70 car shows and cruises! 2015 saw the introduction of Breakfast with the Fin Man – breakfast meetings with Old Car Column readers and Fin Man fans, where guests often bring special cars to display at local fast food eateries in the metro area. In 2017, I introduced Rollin’ with the Fin Man, with a bus tour which drew 300 people, filling six Vandalia Bus Line, luxury motor coaches – headed to Springfield, Illinois, for lunch and to view an amazing private collection of cars, motorcycles and Cessna business jets! Two similar local tours on a smaller scale followed. Check out this story at stltoday.com/lifestyles/ autos for photos of the Dodge Matador and others. Rollin’ with the Fin Man, Lite! We’re on the road again! Saturday, May 15. Meet me at the Flying J Truck Stop in Pontoon Beach, Illinois. Look for the school bus, boarding from 8:309:00 a.m. We’ll travel to Carlyle, Illinois, have breakfast or lunch at the Old Route 50 Cafe (from a limited menu) and then go to see John Cook’s 15-car garage collection. We will return to the Flying J mid-to-late afternoon. Ticket prices are $40 per person and include breakfast or lunch items (from a limited menu) at the Old Route 50 Cafe in Carlyle, Illinois. I want this to be a funfor-all day. ‘50s and ‘60s music will be playing on the bus, and TKCS-STL mascot, Roy (our very lovable basset hound), will be joining us. I have only three rules: 1. Your temperature will be taken upon boarding the bus. 2. Face masks must be worn only while riding the bus. 3. Please leave your partisan, political opinions at home when you walk out the door! We still have seats available, so join us for a fun day. Please mail your check, made out to Bruce Kunz, c/o St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 901 N. 10th St., St. Louis, MO 63101. If paying by check, I’ll need your check by Saturday, May 8. To purchase using a card, call me at 314-327-FINS (3467). This content was produced by Brand Ave. Studios. The news and editorial departments of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch had no role in its creation or display. Brand Ave. Studios connects advertisers with a targeted audience through compelling content programs, from concept to production and distribution. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.