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Exemplifying the "bigger is better" school of thought, the Infiniti QX56 is a worthy competitor among full-size luxury SUVs. From the beginning, the QX56 has benefited from a powerful V8 engine and above-average towing capabilities. Off-road prowess, on the other hand, has never really been a primary concern, as the QX is intended more for urban recreation or pulling a boat to the river. In either of these scenarios, though, the QX56 has managed quite well, with a comfortable cabin and myriad high-tech features.
Initially, the QX56 suffered from some less-than-luxurious interior materials and a smaller cargo capacity. But the new, second-generation model has addressed these shortcomings. As the QX is more of a luxury transport than a wilderness tamer, rugged outdoorsmen may want to look elsewhere. But those seeking a well-appointed luxury SUV should be well served by the brawny Infiniti QX56.
Current Infiniti QX56
The current Infiniti QX56 is a full-size luxury SUV that seats seven or eight passengers and comes loaded with a wealth of standard features like 20-inch wheels, xenon headlights, tri-zone automatic climate control, a top-view camera system, a power-folding third-row bench seat and a 13-speaker Bose audio system. Options are arranged in a succession of packages, most of which require the preceding option package. Highlights include an active suspension system, a twin-screen rear entertainment system, ventilated front seats, adaptive cruise control and a host of high-tech safety features designed to either prevent a crash or protect the occupants in the event of one.
Powering the Infiniti QX56 is a 5.6-liter V8 that produces 400 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque. A seven-speed automatic is the only transmission offered and features manual shift control with rev-matched downshifts. Rear-wheel drive is standard, with four-wheel drive optional. When properly equipped, the QX can tow an impressive 8,500 pounds and is aided by a tow/haul mode for the transmission as well as an automatic-leveling rear suspension.
In reviews, we've found the QX56 to be a pretty impressive luxury SUV, with the large collection of features and potent V8 being the main draws. Downsides include cramped third-row seating and a ride quality that's not as smooth as what's provided by competing models.
Used Infiniti QX56 Models
The current QX56 was redesigned for 2011. Unlike the previous-generation model, which was related to the U.S.-built Nissan Armada pickup truck, this QX56 is based on the Japan-built Nissan Patrol, a dedicated all-wheel-drive utility vehicle that is the company's answer to the Toyota Land Cruiser. Compared to the older model, the second-generation QX56 has improved handling, better overall refinement and more power.
The first-generation QX56 debuted for the 2004 model year and lasted until 2010. It shared its chassis and other major mechanicals with the Armada SUV and Titan pickup. Under the hood the QX came with a 5.6-liter V8 that produced 320 hp and 393 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed automatic was standard, and buyers could choose between rear-wheel- and four-wheel drive. There was only one available trim level, and pretty much every feature was standard. The few notable options included a rear-seat entertainment system, adaptive cruise control and a sunroof.
Infiniti made only minor changes early on, including a 60/40 split for the third-row seat, a standard Bluetooth hands-free system and enhanced exterior mirrors for 2006. The biggest changes occurred for '08, when subtle styling changes and a significant interior redesign made it look and feel like a more upscale vehicle, with improved materials quality and a new instrument cluster design. That year, the standard equipment list grew and the audio and navigation systems were updated.
In road tests, our editors praised the Infiniti QX56 for its refined powertrain, smooth ride and family-friendly passenger quarters. Acceleration was impressive and fuel economy, though dismal, was at least comparable to other full-size SUVs. However, many of its competitors offered a better mix of everything. Models previous to 2008 were also let down by lackluster interior quality.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Infiniti QX56 page.