The Infiniti QX56 is a full-size luxury SUV that features an old-school body-on-frame layout. This design ensures that, unlike many car-based crossovers that masquerade as tough trucks, the QX56 can back up its rugged looks with excellent towing and off-roading capabilities.
Power for the QX56 comes from Infiniti's 5.6-liter V8, now with a 25 percent bump in power for a rating of 400 horsepower and 413 lb-ft or torque. Despite the sizable increase in power, the latest QX actually returns 10 percent better fuel economy than the model it replaces, with both two-wheel and four-wheel drive models being rated at 14 city, 20 highway miles per gallon.
The QX56 comes standard with a seven-speed automatic transmission with Adaptive Shift Control (ASC) and manual shift mode with Downshift Rev Matching (DRM). Versus the outgoing QX's five-speed automatic, the new seven-speed transmission boasts a wider range of gear ratios, a variable lockup torque converter, a new improved shift schedule and a new automatic transmission fluid warmer designed to reduce fuel consumption at start up.
The QX is offered in rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive, with the 4WD model featuring Infiniti's All-Mode 4WD system with Auto, 4H and 4L modes. The system is designed to distribute torque to all four wheels when road conditions warrant (up to 50 percent can go to the front wheels on demand), helping to enhance traction.
Every QX comes with 20-inch, forked seven-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels with P275/60R20 all-season performance tires, while 22-inch, nine-spoke forged aluminum-alloy wheels with P275/50R22 all-season performance tires are included with the Deluxe Touring Package. A Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) with four-corner pressure readout and Tire Inflation Indicator is also standard.
The QX's maximum towing capacity is 8,500 pounds for both 2WD and 4WD models. A special tow mode revises shift patterns when engaged. Standard towing features include a Class IV tow hitch and 7-pin wiring harness integrated into the rear bumper (with a cover for an elegant appearance when not in use).
The QX's inner sanctum features standard seven-passenger seating capacity, with eight-passenger capacity available with the 2nd row 60/40-split folding bench seat. Leather-appointed seating is standard for all three rows, with even more luxurious semi-aniline leather seating surfaces offered in the Deluxe Touring Package. The driver's seat is 10-way power adjustable, including 2-way power lumbar support. It features a standard dual occupant memory system for the driver's seat, steering wheel and outside mirrors.
The front passenger's seat is 8-way power adjustable, including 2-way power lumbar support. Heated front seat are standard, with available climate-controlled (heating and cooling functions) front seats and heated 2nd row seats (outboard positions only when equipped with a bench seat). The 2nd row captain's chairs offer a tip-up function for easy 3rd row entry/exit.
The standard Bose 13-speaker Premium Audio System includes two subwoofers. Rear headliner-mounted 3rd row speakers ensure that sound quality is not compromised by obstructions such as luggage or cargo. Other standard equipment includes a single in-dash CD/DVD player with MP3 playback, a 9.3GB Music Box hard drive, XM Satellite Radio, USB connection port for use with iPod Interface or other compatible devices and Streaming Audio via Bluetooth.
The QX56 comes standard with an around view monitor system that provides a live-view impression of a camera suspended above the vehicle when backing out of a parking spot or driveway. For the latest model year, the system includes Moving Object Detection, which provides visual and audible warnings if it detects objects in motion within its field of vision.
Those looking for a coddling full-size luxury 'ute like the QX56 that tow, hit the trails and carry numerous passengers in comfort should consider the Cadillac Escalade, Lincoln Navigator, Land Rover LR4 and Lexus LX 570.