It’s inevitable that a big SUV like our 2011 Infiniti QX56 4WD will be put to the test towing and hauling a variety of objects over the course of its year with us, and we’ve done quite a lot of both in the past month. In other words, we put this big luxury vehicle to work.
“The QX may be a supple suburban cruiser, but lately, I’ve been grabbing the keys more for its cargo capacity and less for its fantastic cabin,” said associate web editor Evan McCausland, who has been using the QX to move. “When you’re moving from house to house, 95.1 cubic feet of cargo space is far more important than heated seats, burlwood trim, or any other interior amenity that typically wins buyers over.” What can one fit into the QX’s cargo area? Try an assortment of books, clothing, and even a disassembled Honda S90 motorcycle all in the same trip. Not bad for an SUV that doesn’t look out of place in a valet line.
There are still some objects that are too big or heavy to fit inside the QX’s cargo area. Luckily there’s a V-8 with 416 lb-ft of torque and a trailer hitch out back, which means we can pull up to 8500 pounds behind the Infiniti. Frankly, though, it’s been tough to find a trailer big enough to really test our QX. Copy editor Rusty Blackwell towed a Wheel Horse lawn tractor on a single axle trailer, which of course was far below the Infiniti’s maximum towing capacity. Another editor needed to take his race car to the shop and that car and trailer combination weighed about 4600 pounds, which was barely more than half the QX’s maximum rating. With 4600 pounds in tow, we did wish for an integrated trailer brake controller.
When there’s nothing hitched to the back, we’re frequently surprised by how quick the QX56 is. Several logbook commenters reported finding themselves travelling 10 or 20 mph faster than they expected because the 400-hp V-8 and seven-speed automatic work so well together. Open it up to hear some exhaust burble, and you can easily find yourself hitting triple digits on highway on-ramps. Luckily Infiniti’s hydraulic body-motion control system does an admirable job of keeping the QX under control during these high speed bursts.
Our more frequent hauling and regular speeding have put added stress on the brakes so we’ll need to have the pads and rotors inspected the next time our SUV heads in for service. Our last service visit, a regularly scheduled 18,750 mile checkup, was performed slightly early at 18,398 miles and included an oil change and multipoint inspection. The service, which rang in at reasonable $51.90, inexplicably didn’t include an inspection of the brakes. Everything else checked out just fine.