It isn't uncommon for Four Seasons test vehicles to begin their stay in the Automobile Magazine fleet with lots of enthusiasm and unrelenting demand. Somewhere over the next three seasons the newness fades and interest wanes. Maybe an editor or two even forgets we have a given vehicle in the fleet. But our 2011 Infiniti QX56 remained in demand until the final day of our test.
I recently purchased an enclosed trailer for my 24 Hours of LeMons car and used the QX to bring it home. Apparently the QX didn't look like an adequate tow rig for the empty 24-foot trailer, and the seller asked if I was really going to pull it home behind the Infiniti. He had always pulled it with a diesel heavy-duty truck because his Chevy Suburban's rear suspension couldn't handle the tongue weight when it was loaded. Using the rear view camera, I was able to back under the trailer and hook everything up while he was inside the house filling out his half of the paperwork. By the time he returned to the trailer, the rear air suspension had leveled out and he didn't realize the trailer was already attached to the Infiniti.
With an 8500-pound capacity, the QX had no problem towing the 4200-pound box and I only wished for larger mirrors on the 45-mile trip because the enclosed trailer is so wide and tall. As I've come to expect, the tow/haul mode performed flawlessly with the seven-speed automatic transmission always in the correct gear and the 5.6-liter V-8 -- with 400 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque -- didn't mind the extra weight one bit. According to the in-dash computer, fuel economy averaged a respectable 10 mpg with the trailer in tow.
If you want to drive something luxurious during the week and need to tow on the weekend, the QX is perfect. Otherwise you'd be looking at a luxury sedan and a pickup truck to fill both of these roles. Not having to choose between those two extremes is a luxury in itself that cuts down on insurance costs and the hassle of maintaining two separate vehicles.
Look for our more detailed Four Seasons Wrap Up of the 2011 Infiniti QX56 in a future issue of Automobile Magazine to get the full report on our cost of ownership, service requirements, and the all-important star rating from our editors.