By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 6.8
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.
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.
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.
Driving Impressions 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
By Taxi mom on Saturday, August 09, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 75,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"Needed is large SUV to haul around six teenage boys plus gear 25 miles to school and back each day. Had an Acura MDX prior but they don't make a large vehicle so had to look around for something else. Checked out the Lexus, but the jump seats in the third row would not do. Suburban? too big, Sequoia? too truck like plus the service departments stink compared to what I had grown accustomed to with Acura (exceptional service), GMC? heard of several issues with things breaking and poor service again, Mercedes? Too expensive plus small inside, Volvo? way too small. So I tried the Infiniti Qx - the big boy I call it. It has a HUGE engine that roars (which is fine) and the interior is high quality and comfort. I can fit all the boys in comfortably for the 45-60 minute ride to school. The service department in town in great - almost as good as Acura. In the four years I have owned it only had an issue with the gas cap and the backup camera, but both were still under warranty so really not a problem. One slightly annoying issue is the heat and air conditioning - never gets warm enough in winter or cold enough in summer despite having it looked at a couple times. Must be a Nissan/Infiniti engineering issue. Last comment is that the value is not holding up very well - could be due to the newer body style released in 2011? I do see many of these on the road in my local area in the past couple years so they seem to be gaining in popularity. Hopefully that will reflect in my trade when I need to upgrade soon. Perhaps Acura will get on the stick and create that large SUV I have been waiting for....."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By Otis on Saturday, April 26, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 39,500overall rating 3 of 10rating details
Pros: "Comfort inside"
Cons: "Not a Real Truck or SUV-- Very expensive to operat"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"the QX56 is a nice car. The interior is quite nice. The 4 Wheel drive can't handle mud or snow unless driving on a flat straight road. The car seems to have been designed with the interior in mind forgetting functionality. The Back is too high, and you have to lift cargo over a painted and usually scratched bumper. You can not open the rear window and if you need an 8 foot board you have to drive with the door wide open, because they didn't think to give you any way other than the windshield wiper to tie the door shut. There is also a shrill alarm that you can shut off. My car spent the first 45 days I owned in pieces on the dealership floor as the engine needed a significant repair and parts were not available. The car runs noisy and the navigation and other technology is terrible. I am trading mine in at a loss to go buy US Made Real SUV"
6 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By Wendy on Wednesday, March 26, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great in snow. Very comfy. Sporty look."
Cons: "gas mileage"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I wanted the Lexus LX SUV. But it starts at $80,000+. I thought the Infinity was a better value around $65,000. Withing a few days I was no longer disappointed I didn't get the Lexus. This was great in a very snowy winter this past year. Never had a problem getting through the snow. Comfortable inside. Kids will confirm even third row is comfy. Great car. Would highly recommend."
5 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By Sojivm on Friday, March 07, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 41,450overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Lots of space, stylish, lots of power, comfortable"
Cons: "Poor to average Gas mileage, larger turning radius"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I purchased this as my 3rd car to travel long distances with my family. This is so far my most comfortable ride equipped with all the power you would ever need. The drive quality is superb and the passengers have enough and more leg room in all the rows of seating (including the 3rd row; where 3 adults can be seated). THis vehicle is wrapped in luxury and high quality parts and features. I decided to get one with a bench in the second row so that I could install a car seat and works very well for me. The gas mileage is what is expected for a vehicle of this size and I am averaging around 14.5 mpg. This maynot be your everyday vehicle due to the gas mileage but would be a good addition and I wouldnot recommend this vehicle if this is going to be your only mode of transportation."
4 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Cabin Fever on Monday, January 27, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 78,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Big Engine, Great Styling, Quite Interior, Roomy"
Cons: "Fragile Windshield, Lacks Tire Options on 22's"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"The QX56 is easily the finest SUV I've ever owned. I know it's a big SUV, but you would never know it by the way it drives. After almost 80,000 miles in three years it's still great to drive and always gets the job done. I occasionally haul trailers, often put the seats down and load it up for trips to the mountain cabin, and regularly load it up with people. Highway driving is where the technology shines. Lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, navigation with traffic, and especially the hydraulic suspension on winding mountain roads (drive with great confidence). I've have only three issues that have been annoying: 1) the windshield is a huge target and stressed in a way that causes any rock hit close to the edge to ruin the glass. I've replaced the windshield 5 times. 2) the front camera is exposed (no lexan cover) and was hit by a rock after 12 months. It can't be repaired only replaced for over $1,000. Needless to say I never replaced it. 3) the Bridgestone tires on 22 inch wheels are one of a kind and hard to get. If you get a flat requiring a single tire replacement, good luck finding one. If you're going to buy a full size luxury SUV there isn't a better value out there. Compared to the QX56 (now QX80) everything else is over priced and under featured."
6 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By ChelMel on Friday, October 11, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 57,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Luxurious, loaded, HOT!"
Cons: "Thirsty, but I knew that when I bought it! :)"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I was coveting these and finally took the plunge. So glad I did! With kids and a boat to haul and both my husband and I being tall... it seemed like the perfect vehicle. I "look" for errands to run because I enjoy driving it so much. Very comfortable, very stylish and enjoyable to drive. Kids love it, husband is happy that I am happy... ;)"
6 people out of 7 found this review helpful