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2012 Infiniti QX56

Base MSRP: $59,200 to $62,300
Reviewed
April 2012
by ConsumerSearch
2012 Infiniti QX56

Best large luxury SUV

Pros
  • Feature-laden
  • Towing capacity
  • Excellent V8
  • Handles well
  • Great interior
  • Priced well for the class
  • Fold-flat third-row seating
  • Reliable
Cons
  • Cramped third-row seat
  • Styling polarizes
  • Driver aids alerts can get naggy

According to reviewers, the 2012 Infiniti QX56 delivers pretty much everything a driver could expect from a large luxury SUV: a brawny V8, big towing capacity, a luxurious interior and plenty of techno-gadgetry. While the QX's bold, in-your-face exterior styling polarizes reviewers, none have a problem with the QX56's competitive pricing in a class that can get really expensive. These attributes combine to make the Infiniti QX56 the best-reviewed large luxury SUV. Other large luxury SUVs, such as the 2012 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class ((Base MSRP: $61,570 to $85,300)), get plenty of love from reviewers, but as noted, that model and others can run up sticker prices that soar past that of the excellent QX56.

Infiniti builds a better Escalade

The Infiniti QX56Ôs engine is a highlight with everyone reviewing the SUV. The 5.6-liter V8 cranks out 400 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque, and is mated to a smooth-shifting seven-speed automatic transmission. AutoWeek.com says, "we love the V8 power on tap in this big InfinitiÉit comes on strong, resonates with a note of anger and is smooth through the band." Car and Driver corroborates this finding, saying that "the power delivery and the gearswaps are silky smooth, and the overall feel is befitting of a luxury vehicle." All that power allows for 8,500 pounds of towing capacity, about as good as it gets in the luxury SUV realm. A trailer hitch is standard.

Lousy fuel economy is typical of the category

That the QX56's V8 delivers unimpressive fuel economy shouldn't come as a surprise. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the Infiniti QX56 will deliver 14 mpg city/20 mpg highway/16 mpg combined with either two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive (which offers selectable modes for various driving situations, like towing). This is about average for a vehicle of this size but is relatively poor when compared to smaller SUVs.

Great ride, beautiful interior

Some reviewers find that the QX56 can get unsettled under poor road conditions, but the majority say ride quality is excellent, especially with the optional Hydraulic Body Motion Control System, which actively works to limit body roll when cornering. Cars.com says the ride "isn't trucklike at all" and that the QX56 "rides smoothly and confidently, even on the massive 22-inch wheels." Steering is good for a large truck-based SUV, with one surprised reviewer calling it "unexpectedly direct."

The Infiniti QX56's leather-lined passenger compartment is nicely finished using very high-quality materials across the board. The interior has "an attention to design detail and material finish that rivals Lexus and even Land Rover," which is certainly high praise from an Automobile Magazine reviewer. Third-row seating is best suited for small children, say testers, as it doesn't offer enough space to carry adult passengers in true comfort.

Less space than the Caddy, but it's easier to use

Cabin storage spaces are plentiful, and maximum cargo capacity is 95.1 cubic feet with the seats folded. That's roomy, but it trails the 2012 Cadillac Escalade (Base MSRP: $63,170 to $82,495) in this regard. What the QX does that the Escalade cannot is deliver full cargo capacity without requiring the owner to remove the rear seat from the vehicle and store it somewhere, a cumbersome process that seems even more inconvenient when compared against a vehicle with flush-folding third-row seating.

Standard features in the 2012 Infiniti QX56 are extensive. A power-folding rear liftgate, three-zone climate control, leather seating, a heated steering wheel, a power-folding third-row, a 13-speaker DVD Bose audio system and a hard-drive based GPS navigation system are a just a few of the features worth mentioning. The available Theater Package adds dual 7-inch monitors, wireless headphones and seat heating for the second row. The Deluxe Touring Package includes a variety of additional amenities, including the aforementioned Hydraulic Body Motion Control System and semi-aniline leather seating.

Innovative camera system is genuinely helpful

The QX56 includes Infiniti's Around View Monitor standard. This system uses cameras mounted around the car to stitch together a 360-degree overhead view on the standard touch-screen display, which can make parking the big SUV in crowded parking lots much easier. Additionally, the driver can switch the view to any of the individual cameras for help judging tight spaces. ConsumerSearch has used this system in this vehicle firsthand, and it is remarkably accurate and genuinely useful, especially for a vehicle this massive.

Finally, the available Technology Package adds intelligent cruise control, lane departure warning, a blind spot warning system and a distance control assist that alerts the driver of potentially unsafe traffic situations by actually pushing the accelerator pedal towards the driver. Be sure to test drive the vehicle with these options installed if you are considering them, as many reviewers find these driving alerts to be more annoying than useful (particularly the lane departure and blind spot warning systems).

Reviewers also like the clever tire-pressure feedback system, which is handy when you're topping off the air in your tires. The standard tire-pressure monitoring system monitors the levels as you're inflating, and when you've reached the proper tire pressure, the QX56 will flash the hazard lights and chirp the horn to alert you. This feature is available on other vehicles offered by Nissan/Infiniti as well.

Hasn't been crash tested

The Infiniti QX56 has not been tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Standard safety equipment includes electronic stability control, traction control, front airbags, front-seat side airbags and full-length curtain airbags that protect occupants in all three rows of seating. As previously mentioned, QX56 models equipped with the tech package also have a suite of additional electronic driver aids.

At least one major survey suggests that the Infiniti QX56's reliability should be above average, something that isn't true for all large luxury SUVs. The QX56 comes with a four-year/60,000-mile basic warranty.

If you need to go big and go plush, this is the one

While this is the best of breed among large luxury SUVs, with excellent power, comfort and technology features, reviewers still note that a variety of midsize luxury crossovers may make better sense for the majority of shoppers. If you don't explicitly need to tow heavy loads, you'll find stylish luxury midsizers can offer comparable seating, practical cargo and storage options, superior handling, and much better fuel economy.

Where To Buy

Our Sources

1. Edmunds.com

Edmunds.com is one of the most reliable sources for automotive reviews and news. Editors review nearly every new car, complete with on-road testing and a thorough description of most aspects of the vehicle. Aside from the somewhat cramped third-row seating, the editors find only good things to say about the QX56.

Review: 2012 Infiniti QX SUV, Editors of Edmunds.com, Jan. 5, 2012

2. ConsumerReports.org

ConsumerReports.org reviews are packed with information and analysis, and also include the publication's exclusive and valuable reliability data. To view content on ConsumerReports.org, you must have a subscription.

Review: Infiniti QX56, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not Dated

3. ConsumerGuide.com

ConsumerGuide.com reviews the 2012 Infiniti QX56 in its traditional format in which it provides brief descriptions and numeric ratings around 11 performance criteria. The editors like the finely appointed interior, well-controlled ride and fair pricing. They say it's a good option for shoppers, though they fall short of naming it a Recommended or Best Buy vehicle.

Review: 2012 Infiniti QX56: Road Test, Editors of ConsumerGuide.com, Not Dated

4. FuelEconomy.gov

The Infiniti QX56 has a thirsty but powerful V8. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates fuel economy will be 14 mpg city/20 mpg highway/16 mpg combined when configured with two-wheel drive and slightly lower in the four-wheel drive version.

Review: 2012 Sport Utility Vehicles, Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy, Not Dated

5. Automobile Magazine

Joe DeMatio from Automobile Magazine reviews the 2011 QX56 (basically identical to the 2012) and finds the updates to be pleasing inside and out, though this particular review doesn't offer a lot on what the driving experience is like. It does point out a useful feature in that the hazard lights flash when the correct amount of air is put into the tires.

Review: Driven: 2011 Infiniti QX56, Joe DeMatio, Aug. 2010

6. Automobile Magazine

This Automobile Magazine review also written by Joe DeMatio is longer and offers more information on the driving experience. He thinks the QX56 has "a great powertrain," as others do, and also finds the ride comfort to be very good.

Review: First Drive: 2011 Infiniti QX56, Joe DeMatio, May 20, 2010

7. Autoblog.com

This reviewer appreciates the updates to the 2011 QX56, which is nearly the same as the current 2012 model. Technological features impress, like the parking aids and the power folding third-row seat. "For our money, if the luxury SUV genus is to survive for our posterity, it might as well look like the QX56," reviewer Zach Bowman writes.

Review: First Drive: 2011 Infiniti QX56 Overcomes the Odds, Zach Bowman, May 20, 2010

8. AutoWeek

This article is an update to AutoWeek.com's long-term test of the 2011 Infiniti QX56. Editors enjoy the materials and posh seats in the interior, and they consider creature comforts to be second to none. Other than the awful fuel economy, editors have little to complain about.

Review: 2011 Infiniti QX56 AutoWeek Long-Term Update: Purple People Hauler, Greg Migliore, June 28, 2011

9. Truck Trend

Truck Trend performed a full, long-term test on the Infiniti QX56, and these types of reviews are often the most insightful. Overall, editors logged more than 30,000 miles on the QX56. Their time with the vehicle was nearly trouble-free, with only a fix to the driver's auto-up window. The QX56 leaves the impression that it's "pretty damn good."

Review: Long Term Verdict: 2011 Infiniti QX56, Zach Gale, Jan. 6, 2012

10. TheTruthAboutCars.com

This review provides a lot of details about the QX56 and explains some of the unique technological features that it packs. For many reasons, not the least of which is a lower price than the luxury competition, the QX56 "should be at the top of your super-sized list," reviewer Alex Dykes writes.

Review: Review: 2012 Infiniti QX56 Take Two, Alex L. Dykes, Jan. 16, 2012

11. PopularMechanics.com

Like nearly all other reviewers, Kevin Wilson finds the redesigned QX56 to be unique on the outside, stylish on the inside and full of the features that would be on any luxury shopper's wishlist. "The QX56 is poised to dominate in this nouveau niche among the rich who still have 'need' for such a thing," White concludes.

Review: 2011 Infiniti QX56 Test Drive, Kevin Wilson, May 25, 2010

12. Cars.com

Cars.com reviewer Joe Bruzek likes the ride quality, power and interior of the QX56, noting that it's not the easiest SUV to get into but that third-row seating access is one of the best he's tested. Ultimately, the "do-it-all appeal" is enough to make him look past the exterior styling, which he deems questionable.

Review: 2012 Infiniti QX56, Joe Bruzek, Oct. 15, 2011

13. The New York Times

Ezra Dyer at The New York Times reviews the 2011 QX56, which is nearly the same as the 2012 model. In his opinion, the QX56 is "more than you need most of the time -- more power, more towing ability, more ground clearance, more sheer size -- but when you have occasion to call on its abilities, it's supremely satisfying."

Review: The Elephant in the Showroom, Ezra Dyer, Feb. 4, 2011

14. Car and Driver

Refinement is the word that pops up again and again in this Car and Driver review about the 2011 Infiniti QX56. The redesign has made it "more powerful, much more luxurious, and much more likely to cause a splash at the country club," according to the reviewer.

Review: 2011 Infiniti QX56, Erik Johnson, May 2010

15. Automobile Magazine

Automobile Magazine performs the only true comparison test of the 2011 QX56, pitting it against the 2011 Lexus LX 570. The reviewer has a soft-spot for the LX 570 and its progenitor the Toyota Land Cruiser, but he concludes that the Infiniti QX56 beats it handily for a variety of reasons.

Review: Comparison: 2011 Infiniti QX56 vs. 2011 Lexus LX570, Donny Nordlicht, April 7, 2011

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