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2010 Infiniti QX56 SUV Review & Test Drive

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“The Four Wheel Luxury Liner”

For the past year total automobile sales have declined more than 40% across the entire spectrum of vehicles.  Full-size luxury sport utilities haven’t been immune to this fact and it’s not solely because of their low mpg or high price.  Well to do consumers still number in the hundreds of thousands that need power and torque to tow and carry large families, and corporations still need transportation surrounded by luxury for their clients.  It’s the downturn in the economy that has well to do consumers and corporations being cautious and careful where the money is spent.

The automakers still must design and manufacture full-size, luxury sport utilities for consumers but have cut production numbers just like they have for full-size and mid-size pickup trucks, full-size and mid-size sedans with the only uptick being compact cars because their prices are usually below $18,000.00 and they average above 30mpg.

The original Infiniti QX56 was introduced in early 2004 and quickly established itself as one of the best all-around full-size, luxury sport utility vehicles.  This was well before the economic downturn but there still is a market for these large, luxury people movers.

Following extensive revisions for the 2008 model year, the 2010 QX56 continues to stand apart from the competition with a style all its own.  Its inspired performance can be seen in its elegant exterior design, tailored interior and refined appointments-and experienced in the power and strength of its standard 320hp 5.6 liter V8 and responsive 4-wheel independent suspension with an auto-leveling rear design.  The QX56 comes standard with rear-wheel-drive or an optional Infiniti All-Mode 4WD system.

The 2010 Infiniti QX56’s refined exterior styling provides a presence befitting its top-luxury status.  The front features the distinctive QX56 ‘waterfall’ grille that is surrounded by a full-body type front fascia with jewel-like HID headlights and halogen fog lights.  At the rear, a body-color fascia enhances the unique LED taillight design, further providing visual distinction from the competition.  A remote-operated power liftgate with opening rear glass is standard.  Also standard are the 20X8in. chromed wheels and integrated side body cladding that add a classy and imposing stance.  A smooth, one-piece roof rack provides additional cargo hauling ability.  Other standard exterior features include dual power-adjustable power-folding, heated sideview mirrors with puddle lamps, integrated turn signals and driver’s-side auto-dimming feature, privacy glass for the 2nd. and 3rd rows, and color-keyed running boards to easy entry and exit.  Rear sonar sensors work along with the RearView Monitor system, which utilizes a small camera discretely located in the rear license plate finisher to provide a view (projected on the standard navigation system’s LCD monitor) from the rear of the vehicle of what is behind the QX56 when backing up.  QX56 4WD models include skidplates for the oil pan, transfer case and fuel tank, along with a trailer hitch and 7-pin harness plug.  The Tow Package is optional on 2WD models.  The exterior is unique and contains design cues from all Infiniti luxury models.

I call QX56 a luxury liner because it reminds me of the interior of the finest luxury power boats with its use of authentic materials such as wood veneer, aluminum, stainless steel, Sojourner leather-appointed seating surfaces and thick Tuscano carpeting.  The interior boasts class-leading 2nd-row legroom (41.9in.) and a standard power fold-flat 60/40-split 3rd.-row seat.

The long list of interior features include a gated shifter for the standard 5-speed automatic transmission, genuine wood grain interior trim and standard heated, power-tilting, steering wheel, grab handles above each door, dual map lamps, dual, lighted vanity mirrors, floor mats, dual cupholders, and a large storage bin with padded armrest.  The instrument cluster is easy to see and understand combining Fine Vision electroluminescent gauges with a signature Infiniti analog clock.  More standard features include dual-zone front automatic temperature control, and rear AC with dual controls (front and rear) and rear heater ducts.

The comfortable and supportive front buckets feature 10-way driver’s/8-way front passenger heated power adjustable seats.  Your driving position is further optimized through standard power-adjustable brake, and accelerator pedals and a driver’s memory system that includes memory for the pedals, sideview mirrors, driver’s seat and steering wheel.  The standard 7-passenger seating configuration includes fold-flat 2nd. row captains chairs with integrated armrests and a removable 2nd. row center console.  A fold-flat 2nd. row split bench seat is also available, providing comfortable 8-passenger seating.

The 3rd. row seating area is elevated to provide a commanding forward view and features standard roof-mounted curtain supplemental airbags for side-impact and rollover protection.

Storage space is plentiful in the QX56 with its full-length rear overhead console, a front overhead console with sunglass holder, front center console with large storage capacity and power outlets, side storage bins and a maximum of 12 cup-holders.  With the front passenger seat and rear seats folded, it is possible to carry long items such as surfboards with the rear liftgate closed.  For easier package handling, the QX56 includes rear area ceiling/floor-mounted cargo tie-down points and an optional cargo net.  A chrome roof rack further expands your cargo carrying capacity.

Every 2010 QX57 also offers an Infiniti Intelligent Key system, Bluetooth Hands-Free Phone system, and a 12-speaker Bose Premium Audio system with Burr-Brown DAC and 9.3GB Music Box Hard Drive for digital music storage and playback.  The audio system includes dual media capability, AM-FM-CD, steering wheel-mounted controls and compact flash slot for playing MP3 files.

Also standard is an Infiniti Hard Drive Navigation system with 7in. LCD touch screen, Birdview Lane Guidance, 3D building graphics, and XM NavTraffic with real-time traffic information.  The system displays current traffic conditions in color-coded images overlaid on the navigation system map.  An Infiniti Mobile Entertainment system with a DVD player mounted in the front center console, auxiliary audio/video input jacks, large flip-down ceiling-mounted 8in. monitor, as well as two wireless headphones and remote control is optional.

Quickly and safely moving the new QX57 is a 5.6 liter DOHC V8 engine producing 210hp at 5,200rpm and 393lb.ft. of torque at 3,400rpm.  For hauling, towing or serious off-road driving, nearly 90% of the engine’s torque has been available below 2,500rpm.

A smooth and refined 5-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission is reinforced for the high-torque application and features unique gearing and transmission management through a variable lock-up torque converter and electronic controls for improving shift and fuel economy.  Although smooth, I would like to see a 6-speed automatic transmission to help break 20mpg on the highway as the QX56 gets only 12mpg/city and 17mpg/highway.

A special tow/haul mode revises shift patterns when engaged and enables the QX56 to maintain a maximum towing capacity of 9,000lbs. for two-wheel drive and 8,900lbs. for four-wheel drive (when properly equipped).

Four-wheel drive models feature a quickly Infiniti all-mode 4WD system with 2WD/Auto/4Hi/4Lo modes and an electronically controlled part-time transfer case with low gear, activated through an easy selection switch knob on the center stack.  The system is designed to instantly distribute torque to all four wheels whenever road conditions warrant (up to 50% can go to the front wheels on demand), resulting in optimal traction.  I really liked the system easily going from 2WD to 4Hi and back with just a twist of the easy to reach knob.

The QX56 is built on a solid foundation of a fully boxed, high-strength steel F-Alpha frame.  Rugged Dana front and rear axles provide the strength to handle on-and off-road challenges, while a comfortable and controlled ride is provided by a 4-wheel independent double-wishbone suspension with front and rear stabilizer bars to keep body lean to a minimum when cornering.  The rear suspension also includes an auto-leveling system that seeks to maintain uniform ground clearance and departure angle, even when towing or carrying heavy cargo, by automatically adjusting the air pressure in the system’s air bladders.

The 2010 QX56 also features engine-speed-sensitive power-assisted rack & pinion steering that gives you great feel for the road at speed and makes maneuvering in parking lots easy.

Quickly slowing the QX56 down from speed are large, 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS, EBD, and BA.  Up front are 13.6in. vented discs and 12.6in. solid discs in the rear.

For additional stability during severe maneuvers, a Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) with Active Brake Limited-Slip (ABLS) is standard on every QX56.

You ride on standard 20X8in. chrome-finished aluminum alloy wheels that are wrapped with 275/60R20in. Michelin all-season tires for great grip and a smooth ride over all types of road surfaces.  A Tire Pressure Monitoring System with four-wheel independent monitoring includes a gauge-cluster mounted warning lamp.

Optional on QX56 is Infiniti’s advanced Intelligent Cruise Control, which, using a combination of laser sensors, throttle and brake actuators and QX56’s braking system, measures the distance to the vehicle ahead via a laser signal and automatically adjusts the QX56’s speed to maintain a pre-selected following distance. (Note-the Intelligent Cruise Control system is not intended for congested areas or city driving and will not brake the vehicle to a full stop.

The QX56’s extensive list of standard safety equipment includes an advanced airbag system with dual-stage supplemental front airbags, with seat belt and occupant classification sensors, roof-mounted curtain side impact supplemental airbags with rollover sensor for outboard occupant head protection for all three rows, front seat-mounted side impact airbags, 3-point seat belts with pretentioners and load limiters, 3-point seat belts for all rear seat occupants, including center position, front seat active head restraints, and LATCH system for child seats.  The QX56 also offers Zone Body construction with front and rear crumple zones and steel side-door guard beams.

The QX56 is one of the best looking and best equipped full-size sport utilities on the road and can yours for a base price of $59,150.00 and $62,865.00 full loaded which is a fair price against the competition.

COPYRIGHT:2009:HARVEY SCHWARTZ

Specifications

2010 Infiniti QX56 4dr SUV AWD

Price: MSRP $56,150 As Tested $62,865
Type: Large SUV
Where Built: United States
EPA Class: Sport Utility Vehicles

Dimensions

Exterior
Length: 206.9 in.
Width: 78.8 in.
Height: 78.7 in.
Wheel Base: 123.2 in.
Ground Clearance: 9.1 in.
Curb Weight: 6011 lbs.
Gross Weight: 7300 lbs.
Interior
Front Head Room: 39.7 in.
Front Hip Room: 61.3 in.
Front Shoulder Room: 65.1 in.
Rear Head Room: 40 in.
Rear Shoulder Room: 64.5 in.
Rear Hip Room: 60.1 in.
Front Leg Room: 41.8 in.
Rear Leg Room: 41.9 in.
Maximum Cargo Capacity: 97 cu. ft.
Maximum Seating: 8

Performance Data

Base Number of Cylinders: 8
Base Engine Size: 5.6 liters
Base Engine Type: V8
Horsepower: 320 hp
Max Horsepower: 5200 rpm
Torque: 393 ft-lbs.
Max Torque: 3400 rpm
Maximum Payload: 1289 lbs.
Maximum Towing Capacity: 8900 lbs.
Drive Type: 4WD
Turning Circle: 40.8 ft.
0-60 mph: 7.3 seconds

Fuel Data

Fuel Tank Capacity: 28 gal.
EPA Mileage Estimates: (City/Highway/Combined)
Automatic: 12 mpg / 17 mpg / 14 mpg
Range in Miles:
Automatic: 336 mi. / 476 mi. / 392 mi.

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