The Infiniti QX is like a mobile living room that can tow a boat. With a plush interior, seating for up to eight, a BOSE sound system with available rear entertainment and tow rating of up to 8,500 pounds, the QX can accommodate just about any large family, their cargo and their toys.
You'll Like The 2011 INFINITI QX56 If...
In an era of downsizing, not everyone needs three rows of seats, a thirsty V8 and an 8,500-pound towing capacity. And, if you need even more room, the QX56 is not available in long-wheelbase form like the Cadillac EXT or Lincoln Navigator L.
You May Not Like The 2011 INFINITI QX56 If...
While the QX56 name carries over for 2011, there isn't much shared with the last generation. With a new platform, new ride and new design inside and out, this SUV is a little less truck, a little more luxury 8-passenger cruiser.
If you're looking for a well-equipped and comfortable vehicle that can haul up to eight passengers in luxury and tow your boat to the river, the 2011 Infiniti QX56 may just fit the bill.
The designers at Infiniti were shooting for an "executive jet" feeling inside the 2011 Infiniti QX56 and, judging by the spacious seating and the amount of adjustable buttons and knobs available to each passenger, they certainly tried to give every occupant complete control over individual riding comfort. Legroom in the rear is excellent, with 41 inches behind the first row and 28.8 inches behind the second. Even in the third row, where passengers are often forced to be at the mercy of those sitting in front of them, the seats can be reclined up to 27 degrees. Our only major quibble? We wish Infiniti would offer a panoramic sunroof as an option, as it would really add to the overall spaciousness of the interior.
While the last-generation QX56 shared a good portion of its exterior look with the Nissan Armada, the 2011 QX is an entirely new beast that belongs to Infiniti only. Noticeable features include a prominent chrome arched grille framed by high-intensity discharge (HID) headlights, side air vents (the driver's-side vent is actually functional), and standard 20-inch wheels. Overall, the QX56 is lower, wider, longer and lighter than its predecessor, as well as more square-like in shape.
Composed and quiet, the 2011 Infiniti QX56 is a far cry from the truck-like (and Titan-based) QX of the past generation. Its fully-independent suspension does a good job of isolating occupants from road imperfections, and the powerful V8 engine and 7-speed automatic transmission work seamlessly to offer a refined road-going experience. We did find the steering to be a little on the light side but, in numerous shopping mall parking lots around America, we're sure this will be appreciated. We had the chance to test out the Hydraulic Body Motion Control and found it to be a largely non-intrusive system; it would be much appreciated on twisty roads, and perhaps more from the back seats (where body motion can seem more noticeable) than the fronts.
The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of the two-wheel drive 2011 Infiniti QX56 opens just under $60,000, while choosing the All Season 4WD brings the price closer to $62,500. The similarly-sized Lexus GX 460 and Lincoln Navigator start closer to $58,000, while the Cadillac Escalade and Mercedes-Benz GL450 open at $64,500 and $63,000, respectively. Doing your research before going to any dealership is an integral part of the car-buying process, and we'd recommend checking out the QX's Fair Purchase Price on kbb.com as well. Residual values for the 2011 Infiniti QX56 are expected to be better than average over time, higher than those of the Navigator and Escalade, on par with the Mercedes-Benz GL450, and below those of the segment-leading Lexus GX 460.
The 2011 Infiniti QX56 is one well-packaged SUV. Inside, there's a 2-channel, 13-speaker premium Bose sound system with 9.3GB hard drive, streaming Bluetooth audio, second-row bucket seats, keyless start, a USB port, tri-zone climate control, auto-dimming rearview mirror, push-button start and an 8-inch touch screen with navigation and real-time traffic and weather alerts.
Although the 2011 Infiniti QX56 comes with just about everything anyone might want, there are some notable extras. For catering to those sitting in rows two and three, there's the Theater Package – with dual 7-inch color monitors and wireless headphones – to keep them entertained, while a second-row bench seat (no extra cost, but available only with the Theater Package) allows the 2011 QX56 to accommodate one additional passenger. The Technology Package lumps together blind spot warning, lane departure warning and prevention and Adaptive Front lighting systems with auto-leveling headlights. Those looking for the ultimate QX56 statement can opt for the Deluxe Touring Package, which adds climate-controlled front seats, heated second-row seats, semi-aniline leather and Hydraulic Body Motion Control; it requires the Tire and Wheel Package, which includes sharp-looking 22-inch tires.
Around View Monitor
Our hands-down favorite feature? The Around View Monitor system, which shows not only what is behind, but also to the immediate right and left, providing a "birds-eye" view of the QX56 in relation to its surroundings. Considering the QX56's girth, having such a system makes maneuvering this beast in parking lots a much easier task.
Tire Pressure Inflation Indicator
Putting air in those tires? Don't have a tire gauge handy and aren't sure of the gauge at the gas station? No problem. When filling the tires with air, the tire pressure monitoring system will let you know when you've reached the correct pressure by flashing the hazard lights and beeping the horn. Simple, but effective.
Under the Hood
The 2011 Infiniti QX56 is powered by a 5.6-liter V8 that makes 400 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque, 25 percent more than the outgoing V8, while delivering 14 percent better fuel economy. All of this muscle is mated to a 7-speed automatic transmission with downshift rev matching and a manual-shift mode. All QX56s come with Hill Start Assist and Snow Mode, which adjusts throttle response for smooth starts when the roads are slick. The All Season 4WD automatically operates as a rear-biased all-wheel drive system that continually adjusts power between the front and rear wheels (between 100-percent rear to 50-50, front-to-rear).
400 horsepower @ 5,800 rpm
413 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/20
The days of the high-end, ultra-luxury SUV may be numbered (at least in countries that aren't major oil producers) but those days are not yet over, and the market for the people-carrying, trailer-towing, luxury-laden SUV is still in business in America. For buyers of those vehicles, there's the 2011 Infiniti QX56. This second-generation luxury sport-ute favors the softer things in life but, when necessary, it can still function as a full-sized trailering machine, with towing capacity rated at a hefty 8,500 pounds.