After a complete redesign in 2011, the QX56 remains basically untouched for 2012. A few options packages were rejiggered, but that's about it. Maybe that's not a bad thing, though. Built on a completely new platform, the 2011 QX56 experienced strong sales numbers and good reviews, and rightfully so. The new QX56 is better-looking and more rugged. It gets 14-percent-better gas mileage than the previous generation QX56 -- although fuel economy is still nothing to write home about. A vehicle that weighs nearly three tons needs a lot of power under the hood, and Infiniti's 5.6-liter V-8 smoothly pumps out 400 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque, dispensing it to the rear wheels or all four via a seven-speed automatic transmission. This SUV can easily move up to eight passengers in leather-lined luxury, and it tows up to 8500 pounds. The interior is a sybarite's delight, and yet it doesn't overwhelm the driver with highly complex controls. If you regularly travel with more than four passengers, you may want to get the second-row bench seat rather than the two captain's chairs (a third row is standard). The captain's chairs, and the center console between them, make it more difficult to convert the QX to max-cargo mode. The QX drives well for a big beast. The ride and the handling are much better now that the QX has been designed as an SUV rather than being built off a modified pickup-truck platform. It glides over bumps and transmits only the slightest nudge to riders in the cabin. In the QX56, the outside world barely intrudes.
Drive: Rear-wheel, 4-wheel
Trim levels: 2WD, 4WD
Body Style: SUV, 7- or 8-passenger
Engine: 5.6L V-8, 400 hp, 413 lb-ft
Transmission: 7-speed automatic
Passenger volume: 167.9 cu ft
Capacities: Towing 8500 lb; cargo (behind third/middle/front seats) 16.6/49.6/95.1 cu ft
Blind-spot intervention becomes part of the technology package, a Bose surround-sound audio system with fifteen speakers is added to the deluxe touring package, and heated, remote tip-up second-row seats join the theater package. Introduced in late 2011, the twenty-two-inch wheel package carries over to 2012.
Front, side, and side curtain air bags; ABS; and traction and stability control are standard. Blind-spot warning and intervention systems; lane-departure warning and prevention systems; intelligent cruise control with brake assist and forward collision warning; and adaptive front lighting with auto-leveling headlights are optional.
EPA Fuel Economy
All: 14 mpg city/20 mpg highway
- Impressive towing capacity
Acceleration belies its size
You Won't Like
- Plenty thirsty
Better at hauling people than cargo
A burly but luxurious SUV.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Cadillac Escalade