2011 Infiniti QX56 Technology Road Test Review

Jason McLoughlin - CAP staff
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The 2011 Infiniti QX56 has received some negative press due to its unusual exterior styling, not to mention its huge structure. And to be honest I wasn't too enthused by its design at first either, but I have to admit it's starting to grow on me. I can't even guess at the thought process that influenced the shape. To me it's a bit confusing. With a large front end featuring big round, soft corners, to a massive squared-off rear end, it's an automotive oddball for sure. At first glance I thought, what's going on here? But then I realized, yeah it's strange, but it's also totally different than all the other big boxy SUVs in its class, like the Cadillac Escalade, Land Rover LR4 and Lincoln Navigator, giving the QX56 a bit of an exclusive identity. Whether you love it or hate it on the outside will be a personal preference issue that no one can influence, but once you get inside I guarantee you'll be sold.

Infiniti has always built fabulous interiors, and the new QX56 is no exception. Nice soft luxurious leather is everywhere not already covered in wood and metal accents. It's breathtaking. But it takes more than a fancy interior to sell an as-tested $83,000 SUV. With a steep base price tag of $73,000 you get a lot of usable sport utility for your money. The large roomy and luxurious interior has plenty of space to take the entire soccer team on the road. You don't even have to climb around inside like a jungle gym to flip the seats. Everything is done at the touch of a button.

But I started thinking about those soft leather seats and the beautiful carpeting, and all those kids kicking, spilling, and dropping food all over the place. It made me jump out of my dream in a sweat. Oh well, I guess that's why we have detailers.

The Infiniti QX56 comes packed with all the latest in safety features too, as if the massive structure of the vehicle isn't enough. Everything from pre-crash seatbelts, side curtain airbags for all three rows of seats, forward collision warning, blind spot and lane departure warning, to the stuff you never even see like the dynamic control system, and of course the ABS brakes.

Some creature comforts on the QX56 are quite nice, like climate controlled heated and cooled front seats, a heated steering wheel, the large sliding glass moonroof, the power liftgate, DVD entertainment system with a 13-speaker Bose surround sound system, and the large SAT/NAV screen.

Most of that comes on the base QX56, but Infiniti added the technology package to my tester that jacked the price up another $8,000. It gave me quite a few nice extras, however. Not sure why it's called the technology package though, when it includes 22-inch alloy wheels and a wood grain steering wheel. Then again, some of the other features include lane departure and blind spot warning, intelligent cruise control, vehicle speed sensitive power steering, adaptive front lighting with auto leveling, and an advanced climate control system.

Powering this large recreation centre on wheels is a 5.6-litre 32-valve direct-injection V8 with 400 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque, mated to a 7-speed automatic transmission, which is plenty of get up and go even for such a big SUV. The towing capacity on the QX56 is 3,855 kilos (8,500 lbs), which is enough to go on any cottage-bound family adventure with boat in tow.

The handling of the QX56 is well sorted with practically no vibration or harshness at all, even on rugged terrain. The independent rear suspension with auto leveling control and Infiniti's all-mode 4WD system worked great together, even while taking on some tough Canadian back roads.

One thing I underestimated was the braking system. Infiniti used 4-wheel disc brakes on the QX56 with jumbo-sized rotors, giving it some serious stopping power. Their power was definitely unexpected at the first stop sign I encountered. With all the components involved, such as vehicle dynamic control, hydraulic body motion control, and of course the ABS with traction and stability control, I knew I was in good hands.

Say what you want about the styling, but the Infiniti QX56 is one great luxury SUV.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: SUV, Infiniti, 2011, QX56, $75,000 - $99,999,

Organizations: Infiniti

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