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Infiniti QX56

A burly but opulent SUV.

The current-generation QX56 is now in its third model year. Since its debut, it has received good reviews and has sold fairly well. That’s not surprising, as it is better-looking and more rugged than its predecessor. It gets fourteen-percent-better gas mileage than the previous QX56 — although fuel economy is still nothing to brag about. A vehicle that weighs nearly three tons needs a lot of power, and its 5.6-liter V-8 smoothly puts out 400 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels or all four via a seven-speed automatic transmission. This SUV can move 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 complex controls. If you regularly travel with more than four passengers, you might 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 such a big beast, and ride and 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.

COMPETITORS

Cadillac Escalade

Lexus LX570

Lincoln Navigator

Mercedes-Benz GL-class

new for 2013

Auto-dimming exterior mirrors are standard. Motion Object Detection has been added to the Around View monitor. An upgraded remote control and interface have been added to the Theater Package. Smoky quartz replaces mountain sage as an exterior color this year.

SAFETY EQUIPMENT

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.

MPG

CITY 14

HWY 20

PRO

Impressive towing capacity

Plush accommodations

Acceleration belies size

CON

Plenty thirsty

Better at hauling people than cargo

Base Price Range: $60,000–$63,000 (est.)

SPECIFICATIONS

DRIVE: Rear-wheel, 4-wheel

TRIM LEVELS: QX56 2WD, QX56 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

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