Our 2011 Infiniti QX56 is quickly accumulating miles, which is not surprising for big, luxurious vehicles in their first few months at Automobile Magazine. We've already visited the dealer for service at 5500 miles and had the engine oil and filter replaced for a total of $44.41.
It took copy editor Rusty Blackwell more than a month to get a chance to drive the QX. Blackwell's drive happened to coincide with the first snowfall of the year and he had a chance to put the heated steering wheel, heated seats, and all-wheel drive to the test, declaring the big Infiniti "wasn't fazed a bit." His only complaint was that it isn't possible to turn off the lane departure warning system without also taking blind spot detection offline as well. Associate editor Eric Tingwall first pointed out this flaw a few days after our QX56 arrived.
With the freezing temperatures throughout Michigan in December, many staffers wanted a crack at the QX56 simply to evaluate the heated seats and steering wheel. Associate Web editor Evan McCausland is one of the few who publicly admitted his vehicle selection criteria changes with the season and reported the heated seats "don't feel all that hot" though the steering wheel's heater is "a boon." The navigation unit impressed McCausland as well: "Displays are clear and legible, maps crisp and accurate, and the system is always quick to respond to user input. "
Despite our proclivity for powerful engines and sumptuous interiors, some staff members have blanched when it comes time to refuel the QX56. A few admitted to ignoring the manufacturer's suggestion to use premium fuel and topping off the SUV with regular instead. We've decided to stick with the recommendation for premium for the remainder of our test so we take full advantage of the 5.6-liter's 400 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque and don't compromise fuel economy or performance. It will certainly cost us a few dollars more on a vehicle that will undoubtedly see more than 30,000 miles during its time here, but owners of a $72,500 luxury SUV certainly have the extra $0.20 per gallon to make sure it performs as the manufacturer intended.