2011 Infiniti QX56 Review


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2011 Infiniti QX56

SEE ALSO: Infiniti Buyers Guide

THE AUTO PAGE
By JOHN HEILIG

SPECIFICATIONS: 2011 Infiniti QX56

Model: 2011 Infiniti QX56
Engine: 5.6-liter DOHC V8
Horsepower/Torque: 400 hp @ 5,800 rpm/413 lb.-ft. @ 4,000 rpm
Transmission: 7-speed automatic with manual mode
Wheelbase: 121.2 in.
Length/Width/Height: 208.3 x 79.9 x 75.8 in.
Tires: P275/50R22
Cargo volume: 16.6 cu. ft. behind third row
Fuel economy: 14 mpg city/20 mpg highway/13.6 mpg test
Fuel capacity: 26.0 gal.
Curb weight: 5,850 lbs.
Sticker: $56,700 base 2WD, $59,800 base 4WD

The Bottom Line: The Infiniti QX56 is one of the largest SUVs on the market today. Its size gives the driver and passengers the safety comfort of driving in a tank, while the three rows of seats make it an excellent people mover like a bus, a very attractive bus.

If you’re a fan of the Chevrolet Suburban or Ford Excursion, two of the super-humungous SUVs available on the market in recent years, then you’ll love the Infiniti QX56. Here is a vehicle that shares their size, but is much better than they were with regard to safety and looks.

Let’s go to the looks department first. Where the other two were boxy and utilitarian-looking, the QX is sleek and swoopy. I particularly liked the dark cherry color that resembled the Lincoln MKT we drove a few months back. The view out the windshield resembles the view from the Maxima; long sweeping curves from the fenders across the hood.

For senior citizens there is the comforting look of three Buick-style Ventiports on each fender.

The new QX rides on a wheelbase that’s 2.1 inches shorter than the previous model, while it is 1.4 inches longer, 1.1 inches wider and 2.0 inches shorter.

Safety-wise, this is not to criticize the two other models, but a recognition of the fact that each year, safety improves. Sure, there are enough airbags to satisfy a large group of mothers-in-law, but the QX has a host of other goodies as well.

For example, it has a blind spot warning system that alerts the driver through a light by the rear-view mirror that there’s a vehicle in the right or left blind spot. There’s also a rear view camera that aids in backing up, with the addition of a virtual 360-degree top view that gives a great sense of the surroundings all around. Added to these, there is LDW (Lane Departure Warning) that alerts the driver when he or she is veering right or left out of the lane you’re supposed to be in. If you don’t listen, there’s also LDP (Lane Departure Protection) that applies the brakes to send you back where you belong. One more goody is intelligent cruise control, which slows you down if the vehicle in front of you is going slower than you are.

Under the hood is a 5.6-liter DOHC V8 that delivers a whopping 400 horsepower and 413 lb.-ft. of torque. That’ll get you going. The engine is essentially quiet until you hit the loud pedal, when it comes to life and lets you know there’s something under that swooping hood.

Inside, you can seat a small village in the three rows of seats and probably carry all their belongings if you pack them carefully. The front seats feel firm and flat, even though there is some side support. The second row seats have their own console with a pair of cupholders. Legroom and knee room are very good. In the third row, however, leg and knee room are tight. The second row bucket seats tilt and fold to provide access to the rear, which isn’t too difficult, even for seniors. Second row passengers (and even third rowers if they crane their necks a bit) are treated to an infotainment system with screens behind the front seat headrests.

Entering the QX isn’t a real problem, despite its height off the ground. There are running boards and assist handles on the A- and B-pillars to help, and entering and exiting is almost easy.

Handling is good, despite the QX’s size. What helps is Hydraulic Body Motion Control that reduces body lean in turns. Ride quality is excellent, thanks to the long wheelbase and 5,850 pounds of weight, a secret discovered by Rolls-Royce decades ago.

There is a certain segment of the population that likes and prefers humungous vehicles. For this group (and those with large families who can’t bear to leave anything at home), the Infiniti QX56 is a vehicle that definitely should be in their radar. It isn’t cheap, but you get a lot for your money. At approximately $10/pound, it’s less expensive than a good meal, and it will stay with you longer.

2010 The Auto Page Syndicate

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