Early on in our 2011 Infiniti QX56's term questions about the 400-hp engine's thirst for premium fuel filled the logbook. Now that we've spent five months behind the wheel, we're finally beginning to appreciate the capability that Infiniti packs in its luxury SUV.
Assistant editor David Zenlea recently spent a lot of time piloting smaller SUVs and crossovers powered by mere V-6 engines and immediately sang the praises of a big engine in a big SUV; "Sorry, but there's still no magic concoction of technology that gets a heavy behemoth moving so smoothly and swiftly as a proper V-8." Zenlea particularly enjoys the 416 lb-ft of torque and wide gearing of the seven-speed automatic transmission for darting in and out of urban traffic. Big displacement means you never have to worry about turbo lag or search for the upper rev range to get to the fat part of the power curve.
While reflecting on the QX's impressive power delivery, Zenlea also put the fuel economy ratings in perspective for other staffers: "I'd argue the QX's 14/20 mpg ratings aren't quite so villainous when you remember that even crossovers with downsized engines don't score particularly well. An Audi Q7 with a 3.0-liter gas V-6 for instance, achieves 16/22 mpg. For that 2 mpg advantage over the Infiniti, the Audi gives up 3000-pounds in towing capacity along with, in my opinion, a good deal of driving pleasure."
As we've come to expect with big utility vehicles, the miles are quickly accumulating and the QX has already visited our local Infiniti dealer for its 15,000 mile service. This service included a multi-point inspection, tire rotation, oil and oil filter change, and a new in-cabin air filter. The total came to $240.74 and the $63.23 cabin air filter actually cost more than the seven quarts of oil ($27.30) and new oil filter ($14.47).
Our dealer also treated the QX to a complimentary wash while it was in for service, but the SUV is in need of a full detailing after a few months of salt and mud have assaulted the light colored interior. Rubber floor mats trap most of the nasty stuff on passengers' shoes, but it's an uphill battle to keep a wheat-colored interior clean when you're hauling families, dogs, and other assorted cargo on a regular basis.