2009 QX56 New Car Test Drive
There's a chance the Infiniti QX56 will not go down in history as the best-looking vehicle from the big sport utility era. Even with its 2008 revisions, it looks almost as awkward as its name sounds, but it does all the things a large SUV should.
For 2008, the QX56 gets several midcycle revisions: The front and rear fascias are new, though the designs aren't much changed. The grille is new, as are the fog lights. The roof rack is revised, and 20-inch wheels become standard in place of 18s. Inside, the instrument cluster is new and the 60/40 split third-row seat adds a power folding feature. Other newly standard features are Nissan's Intelligent Key keyless access and starting, XM real-time traffic for the navigation system, and a Burr-Brown audio system with a 9.3-gigabyte Music Box hard drive. The optional rear entertainment system also gets a larger, eight-inch screen.
The QX56 comes with the same powerful V8 it's always used. The engine has lots of power and torque, making the QX56 an excellent choice among full-size SUVs for towing a heavy trailer while hauling seven or eight passengers in luxurious comfort. It is rated to tow 8,900-9,000 pounds. And it offers serious off-road capability, an area where Nissan has a lot of experience. The QX56 is based on the full-size Nissan Titan pickup and Armada SUV.
Out on the highway, the QX56 is smooth and quiet, benefiting from a four-wheel independent suspension and a smooth five-speed automatic transmission. It feels responsive and sure-footed on winding roads. It comes with rear- or all-wheel-drive, and the latter makes it capable off road. The AWD system features a low range, and skid plates come standard. The QX56 also has electronic stability control, traction control and ABS technology, all of which can help you maintain control in emergency handling situations, and the available all-wheel-drive system further improves handling stability in slippery conditions.
The QX56 is as luxurious as the best of them. Its opulent cabin is lathered in leather and stuffed with technology. It comes standard with a navigation system, an optional feature on many vehicles. If you're looking for a large SUV to tow a trailer and haul people and cargo, the QX56 is worth a look. If you don't need the towing capacity, any of the newer crossover SUVs will get better fuel economy and offer a more agile, car-like ride.
The 2008 Infiniti QX56 comes as one fully loaded model. You need only choose between two-wheel drive ($52,250) and all-wheel drive ($55,350). The 5.6-liter V8 is rated at 320 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque, and the transmission is a five-speed automatic with a manual shiftgate. The all-wheel-drive system includes a low range.
Leather-trimmed upholstery and a navigation system with voice recognition and real-time traffic are standard. Also standard are dual-zone automatic climate control with manual rear controls; heated, power-tilting, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls; cruise control; heated first- and second-row bucket seats; 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat; 8-way power-adjustable passenger seat; power-adjustable pedals; memory for the driver's seat, mirrors, and pedals; 60/40 split power-folding 3rd-row bench seat; heated power auto-dimming exterior mirrors; power windows and locks; remote keyless entry; keyless access and starting; sunroof; Bose AM/FM/CD stereo with 12 speakers and rear controls; Music Box hard-drive audio; auxiliary audio input jack; satellite radio; rearview camera; Bluetooth wireless cell phone link; universal garage door opener; auto-dimming rearview mirror; power liftgate; automatic xenon headlights; theft-deterrent system; fog lights; roof rack; running boards; load-leveling suspension; and P275/60R20 tires on chrome alloy wheels. The AWD model adds a heated steering wheel, a tow-hitch receiver, and skid plates protecting the transfer case, oil pan and fuel tank. The QX56 comes with a full-size spare tire.
Options include a Technology package ($1,150) with adaptive cruise control and front park assist; a second-row middle split bench seat in place of the standard two captain's chairs (no charge); a DVD rear entertainment system ($1,700); and painted fender splash guards ($215).
Safety features include the latest generation front airbags that deploy at different rates depending on crash severity and occupant seatbelt use. Side-impact airbags are provided for torso protection for the front-seat passengers. Full-cabin curtain airbags come standard for improved head protection for passengers in all three rows and they deploy in case of a rollover. A rearview video system comes standard: When the transmission is in reverse, this system displays on the navigation screen the view from a camera mounted above the rear license plate; it can help the driver see if an object or child is behind the vehicle. All QX56 models have active head restraints for the front row. Also standard are a tire-pressure monitor, antilock brakes with brake assist and electronic brakeforce distribution, traction control, and electronic stability control.