The new QX56 is a huge beast, but it’s also incredibly useful and luxurious. You could say the same about previous-generation QX, too, but the new model also adds a great deal more refinement, slick styling (rather than a simpler, truck-like look), more available features, and significantly more power. I particularly enjoyed the heated steering wheel, ventilated seats, and seriously nice sound system.
As you’d expect, handling is not the QX’s strength, but power for passing and for carting around stuff definitely is. The new, smoother design makes the QX look smaller than before (and indeed it is narrower), but there’s still more than enough room for most of the tasks that buyers would ask of such a vehicle.
– Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor
With its bulging hood, protruding rear end, and supersized exterior bling factor, the QX56 has a massive presence. Just how big is it? When I lumbered into the parking garage yesterday in my old Land Cruiser, the result was shocking: the QX literally dwarfs it. Most surprising was the height difference — my truck’s hood was significantly lower than the Infiniti’s.
And as for feeding a 17-mpg habit? I get excited when my own truck manages 15 mpg on the highway. It just goes to show that, in the eleven years since my Land Cruiser was produced, Nissan has apparently figured out how to make a bigger, faster, and more efficient jumbo SUV.
– Jeffrey Jablansky, Associate Web Editor
Infiniti is selling the QX to an upscale clientele with money and taste. To prove I’m not part of that group, I towed my tired $300 LeMons racing car from its unsecured storage spot (someone stole the driver’s seat out of the car!) to my hopefully more theft-resistant garage. It must have been quite a sight to see a brand-new, $70,000 SUV towing a ridiculous rust bucket down the highway last night, but the QX shrugged it off and was eager to run at 80 mph or more. The towing mode was excellent; downshifts are quick and the transmission is happy to stay in a gear that provides maximum torque instead of rapidly upshifting to maximize fuel economy. This made city traffic a non-issue for the last few miles of towing. That said, if you’re planning to tow frequently, I’d certainly invest in a trailer brake controller. The brakes in this SUV were adequate, but the mushy pedal did not inspire confidence with about 4000 pounds in tow.
Even if you never need to tow with a QX, it’s possible to appreciate it as a luxurious way to transport a group of people through any weather or over any terrain. Everything inside the QX is much nicer than the last-generation truck and it all feels as if it has been assembled with more care and attention to detail. The last time I rode in a QX there were some squeaks coming from the back of the vehicle driving over normal roads but this time it was very solid and quiet.
Critics can complain about the physical size, sticker price, or fuel economy all they want, but for some buyers nothing will replace a full-size luxury SUV.
– Phil Floraday, Senior Web Editor
Like Phil, I also subjected this luxury SUV to blue-collared duty. I towed my racing car and trailer to a car show in downtown Ann Arbor, about 64 miles away. The massive QX did quite well doing the job, however the brakes felt too soft. I was impressed with the 5.6-liter V-8 engine’s pulling power when moving off from a standstill. It’s no diesel, but it pulled hard thanks to the 413 lb-ft of torque.
The exterior is another story. I didn’t find anybody who liked the way this new QX looked. But if you can look past the exterior, though, the cabin of the QX is absolutely beautiful, with the tan-leather seating surfaces and accented stitching. Our loaded four-wheel-drive test vehicle came with the deluxe touring package and the theatre package, some $8250 worth of add-ons, which means passengers can watch movies while sitting on a cooled seat.
– Mike Ofiara, Road Test Coordinator
Count me in the group that hates this truck’s styling, particularly its whale-like front end. If you can get beyond that, the QX indeed has a cushy, commodious interior that is executed with the style and quality we’ve come to expect from Infiniti. I wasn’t able to find any cheap racing cars to tow like Mike or Phil, but even in city driving, the QX didn’t feel out of its element. Steering is surprisingly precise, and the 5.6-liter engine is quick to respond to any jab of the throttle. In other words, it drives as well as most crossovers while providing the expected capability of a body-on-frame truck.
– David Zenlea, Assistant Editor
Base price (with destination): $60,750
Price as tested: $69,000
7-speed automatic transmission
Hill start assist
Automatic self-leveling rear suspension
HID Bi-Xenon headlights
Power sliding tinted glass sunroof
Front wiper deicer
Power rear liftgate
Heated front seats
Heated steering wheel
Tri-zone automatic climate control
Power tilt/telescoping steering column
Infiniti hard drive navigation system
Around view monitor with rear sonar system
Auto-dimming rearview mirror
XM satellite radio
Auxiliary input jack
Options on this vehicle:
Deluxe touring package — $5800
22×8-inch forged-aluminum wheels
Hydraulic body motion control system
Climate-controlled front seats
Heated second row seats
Advanced climate control system
Theatre package — $2450
Dual 7-inch color monitors
Two wireless headphones
Wireless remote control
Auxiliary audio/video input jacks
120V power outlet
Key options not on vehicle:
Technology package — $2850
Lane departure warning
Intelligent cruise control
Intelligent brake assist
Blind spot warning
Fuel economy: 14/20/17 mpg (city/hwy/combined)
Size: 5.6L DOHC 32-valve V-8
Horsepower: 400 hp @ 5800 rpm
Torque: 413 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm
Transmission: 7-speed automatic
Curb weight: 5850 lb
22×8-inch forged-aluminum wheels
275/50R22 Bridgestone Dueler H/T all-season tires