What's New for 2010
The Infiniti QX56 stands pat for a second straight year.
The seven- or eight-passenger 2010 Infiniti QX56 is 5,705 pounds of honest truck-based luxury SUV. It's large, its 320-horsepower V8 puts it in charge, and it's got more presence than all those car-based luxury crossovers put together. This full-size luxury SUV also brings the bling, thanks to mirror-finish bodywork and standard 20-inch wheels. Even entering its seventh year of production, the QX56 remains an excellent choice for followers of the "bigger is better" school who want to make a bold vehicular statement.
But the QX56 is about more than just its imposing physical presence and under-hood brawn. There are plenty of techno-geek features inside, including a navigation system with voice activation, real-time traffic updates and a 9.3-gigabyte hard drive that can store thousands of music files for the 12-speaker Bose audio system.
The QX56 is also quite pleasant to drive, with impressively disciplined body motions given its enormity. And should you wish to tow something -- your chrome-hulled speedboat, perhaps -- the QX56 has you covered with a tow rating of up to 9,000 pounds, thanks in part to its tough Nissan Titan pickup truck underpinnings.
If you're considering buying one of these leather-lined behemoths, consider also the Cadillac Escalade, Mercedes-Benz GL-Class and Toyota Sequoia. The latter is relatively spartan in lower trims, but it's similar to the QX56 in concept, and its more luxurious variants are aimed squarely at the Infiniti.
If maximal bling is your thing, it's still tough to top the Escalade. If you appreciate thoughtful German engineering and don't mind a slightly smaller package, the GL-Class should appeal, and it's even available with a fuel-efficient diesel. Nonetheless, the worthy 2010 Infiniti QX56 is one of the best of this outsized breed.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2010 Infiniti QX56 is a full-size luxury SUV available in two- or four-wheel-drive versions with seven-passenger seating. The standard equipment list includes 20-inch chrome wheels, an auto-leveling rear suspension, xenon headlights, a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, a sunroof, a power liftgate, a heated steering wheel, power-adjustable pedals, dual-zone automatic climate control and separate rear zone controls, leather upholstery, power front seats, second-row fold-flat captain's chairs, a power-folding third-row seat and first- and second-row heated seats.
On the technology front, the QX56 offers keyless entry/ignition and a hard-drive-based navigation system with real-time traffic, voice-activated electronic functions, Bluetooth connectivity and a 12-speaker Bose audio system with 9.3GB of built-in digital music storage. 4WD models add standard towing preparation.
Options are limited to a second-row split bench seat (increasing seating capacity to eight), a rear-seat entertainment system, a Technology package with adaptive cruise control and front parking sensors, and a tow package for 2WD models (standard on 4WD).
Powertrains and Performance
The 2010 QX56 is powered by a 5.6-liter V8 that produces 320 hp and 393 pound-feet of torque. The sole transmission is a five-speed automatic. Buyers can choose between rear-wheel drive and 4WD, with the latter offering low-range gearing for off-road use.
Those 320 horses must be well-fed, as the 5,705-pound QX56 dispatches with the 0-60-mph sprint in a swift 7.3 seconds. Towing capacity is 9,000 pounds on properly equipped 2WD models. In typical large SUV fashion, the QX56 drinks fuel like a dehydrated nomad at an oasis. EPA fuel economy estimates for the 4WD model are 12 mpg city/17 mpg highway and 14 mpg combined (2WD models eke out an additional mile per gallon on the highway).
The 2010 Infiniti QX56 comes standard with antilock disc brakes with brake assist, stability control, active front head restraints, front-seat side-impact airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, rear parking sensors and a rearview camera. In frontal crash tests by the government, the QX56 scored a perfect five stars for driver protection but four stars for the front passenger.
Interior Design and Special Features
The Infiniti QX56's instrument panel and materials are visibly upscale, helping to justify this SUV's mid-$50,000 luxury price tag. Real wood, soft leather and creature comforts abound. The standard rear seating layout consists of second-row captain's chairs with a removable center console and a power fold-flat third-row bench. A flat-folding second-row 40/20/40 split bench seat is optional for those who would rather be able to carry an extra passenger. The QX56 provides 97 cubic feet of maximum cargo capacity -- more than the GL-Class but less than the Escalade and Sequoia.
The 2010 Infiniti QX56 piles on speed effortlessly thanks to its smooth and powerful V8. Gearchanges are seamless, yet the transmission downshifts quickly when necessary. The fully independent suspension provides a supple ride and reasonably confident handling for a vehicle approaching 3 tons.