After a complete redesign in 2011, the QX56 remains basically untouched for 2012. A few options packages were rejiggered, but that's about it. Maybe that's not a bad thing, though. Built on a completely new platform, the 2011 QX56 experienced strong sales numbers and good reviews, and rightfully so. The new QX56 is better-looking and more rugged. It gets 14-percent-better gas mileage than the previous generation QX56 -- although fuel economy is still nothing to write home about. A vehicle that weighs nearly three tons needs a lot of power under the hood, and Infiniti's 5.6-liter V-8 smoothly pumps out 400 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque, dispensing it to the rear wheels or all four via a seven-speed automatic transmission. This SUV can easily move up to eight passengers in leather-lined luxury, and it tows up to 8500 pounds. The interior is a sybarite's delight, and yet it doesn't overwhelm the driver with highly complex controls. If you regularly travel with more than four passengers, you may want to get the second-row bench seat rather than the two captain's chairs (a third row is standard). The captain's chairs, and the center console between them, make it more difficult to convert the QX to max-cargo mode. The QX drives well for a big beast. The ride and the handling are much better now that the QX has been designed as an SUV rather than being built off a modified pickup-truck platform. It glides over bumps and transmits only the slightest nudge to riders in the cabin. In the QX56, the outside world barely intrudes.
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