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2005 Infiniti QX56 Road Test

by John Matras

Photos by Charles Ofria

Category: $50,000 to $60,000 Large Luxury SUV
Who should buy this car: A person looking for BIG.  big size, big Interior, big towing, big status in a luxury SUV
Comparable cars in this class: Cadillac Escalade, Hummer H2, Lexus LX470, Lincoln Navigator

QX56? Why not get over it and call it the QE II?

Infinitis luxury on a grand scale sport-utility is the largest luxury SUV on the market. It outweighs them all. It out-torques and out-tows them. Its almost the widest, its taller than all and has a wheelbase more than seven inches longer than Cadillac Escalade, otherwise the longest of a bunch that includes the Escalade, the Lexus LX470 and Land Rovers Range Rover.

Not to belabor the point, but heres the raw data:

  Weight H.P. Torque Wheelbase Width Height Towing
QX56 5,631 315 390 123.2" 78.8" 77.7" 8,900
Escalade 5,554 345 380 116.0" 78.9" 74.2" 8,100
LX470 5,590 235 320 112.0" 76.4" 72.8" 5,000
Range Rover 5,474 305 325 113.0" 77.0" 75.0" 7,716

If size matters, the QX56 matters. Its big.

And it looks big, too, as if Infiniti went to great pains to make it so. Rather than place the headlight cluster and grille near the top of the front fascia, Infinitis stylists put a heavy brow of painted metal up top, as if to say, this truck is too tall to put the headlights way up top. And theyre just about right, actually. The pontoon-style fender flares accentuate the Infinitis size, as do the shiny big 18-inch chrome alloy wheels fitted with chunky 265/70 rubber. And it looks big becausedid I mention thisit is big.

Its big, so not surprisingly, perhaps, its a long step up to the cabin, and fortunately the running boards are wide enough to use as steps and there are handgrips on both A and B-pillars, including the drivers door. The front seats are more than captains chairs. Theyre thrones, and the second row is cushy too, with loads of legroom. The third row seating is a clamber to get to, and involves tipping and tumbling the second row of seats forward. The QX56 nominally seats eight (with the standard second-row bench), but not eight fully-accredited adults. The third row is best left to, say, three giggly 10-year old girls.

Both middle and rear seats will fold forward (without removing headrests) to make a flat load, though with gaps between the seats. And the seats are leather appointed, but theres enough hide to pave Jamaica. Well, Jamaica, Iowa. And just the streets.

The interior designers mimicked the exterior theme with large-scale themes, with big shapes to accent the overall bigness of the interior. Theres enough wood trim to build a picnic table and theres no doubt its real. The blond wood treatment, which dresses up the door panels, steering wheel and especially the center console, brightens the interior and shows off a grain that no plastic could imitate. The center armrest, however, contains the DVD player for the rear seat entertainment system, robbing storage room while discouraging conversation with your kids.

The screen for the navigation system is placed high on the dash for easy viewing, and it also displays the images from the rear view camera. The camera is the best of this device yet, with a clear view backwards and superimposed lines to show exactly where the vehicle will go if driven straight backwards. The dash has the obligatory-in-this-price-class analog clock, a nice one with the Infiniti logo. The wood insert on the steering wheel is on the drivers side only, with the leather wrapping on the back side for a non-slippery grip.

Outside and inside the Infiniti is big, but its also big under the hood, five-point-six liters big, as the QX56 moniker suggests. The engine, an all-aluminum dohc four-valve-per-cylinder V-8 actually makes more horsepower and torque than it does in the Titan pickup, on whose frame the QX56 is based. (The Armada is Nissans version of the QX56, also based on the Titan). It idles with authority and its makers have allowed a substantial rumble from its magnum-sized tailpipe. Heads turn from just the sound of the big throbbing V-8 (with a doubletake because the QX56 isnt particularly common and isnt always immediately identifiable).

The QX56 accelerates like the charge of an angry rhino: theres a mighty bellow and a blast of mass moving forward. But dont go to the drag strip racing for pinks, because theres a lot of mass to move. If the drag strip is offroad, however, its another matter. We climbed our favorite rocky uphill road, which was no great challenge, but in auto all-wheel drive mode, the traction control could be felt activating as the big tires scrabbled over loose stones.

Newtons Laws of Motion are ruled constitutional when deflecting the QX45 around a corner. It feels secure but it takes a definite effort to turn the QX45s head. Brakes? A rhino should stop so well, though one can only contemplate the massive amount of kinetic energy being converted to heat in the process.

The QX56 is not an unpleasant way to travel, looking down on the little people in their Escalades and Range Rovers, made all the easier by Infinitis relatively cheap price: $55,030. Thats cheap when the relatives are $56,405 (Escalade, 2006 price), $65,225 (LX470) and $74,950 (Range Rover). And although one might expect the QX to be a pig at the high-test trough, it beat our expectations (but were reminded about being impressed by not how well a dog can sing but rather that it can sing at all). The QX56 is EPA rated at 13/18 city/highway miles per gallon, which is good or better than the Escalade, LX470 or Range Rover. We achieved 15.5 mpg in mixed suburban/highway driving without doing anything special.

Of course, whether you want to dock this luxury liner at your personal pier has a moral element. This article is being written within days of Hurricane Katrinas devastation of the Gulf. Gas prices are soaring and fuel stocks are limited. Is it unethical to drive a vehicle that sucks the Saudi sauce like this one does? But what are we, your spiritual advisors? Its a big truck that can do big jobs, and do them with grace, comfort and presence. Your fuel consumption is between you, your gas pump and your second mortgage.

Copyright 2017, CarBuzzard.com

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 Specifications 

Engine Type 5.6-liter 32 Valve Dual-Overhead-Cam V8
Horsepower 315 @ 4,900 RPM
Torque 390 ft-lbs. @ 3.600  RPM
Fuel Recommended Regular Unleaded.
Transmission Five Speed Automatic
Drive Type Rear-wheel drive or optional 4-wheel drive
Tires-Standard P265/70R18 all season
Overall Length 206.9"
Wheelbase 123.2"
Width 78.8"
Turning Diameter 41 ft Curb to Curb
Curb Weight 5,360 lbs. (5,631 lbs with 4-wheel drive)
Fuel Tank

28 Gals.

Miles Per Gallon EPA city 13, hwy 19
Acceleration 0 to 60 7.2 seconds
Base Sticker Price starts at: $48,350 + 700 destination charge

Standard Equipment
(Partial List)

  • 2.6 liter 315 hp V8. engine

  • Five-speed Automatic transmission

  • Auxiliary transmission fluid cooler

  • Four-wheel independent self-leveling suspension

  • Chrome alloy rims

  • Privacy glass

  • Roof rack

  • Rear power liftgate door with manual flip-up liftgate window

  • Step running boards

  • Front and rear ventilated disc brakes with ABS

  • Traction control

  • Stability control

  • Dual front side-mounted airbags

  • Front, rear and third row head airbags

  • Automatic xenon high intensity discharge headlamps

  • Rear view camera

  • Tire pressure monitoring

  • Rear parking sensors

  • 7 person total seating capacity

  • Leather upholstery

  • Wood trim on dash, doors and center console

  • 10-way power driver seat with 2 position memory

  • 8-way power passenger seat

  • Heated front and second row seats

  • Tilt and telescopic steering wheel

  • Height adjustable pedals

  • Dual zone front climate control with rear air

  • Bose AM/FM in-dash 6 CD player with MP3 stereo

  • DVD navigation system

  • Bluetooth wireless data link with hands-free phone

Major Available Options
(Partial List, depends on model, some options only available as part of a package, see your Mazda dealer for details)

  • 4-wheel drive

  • DVD Mobile Entertainment System

  • Sunroof

  • Intelligent Cruise Control

  • Sirius or XM Satellite Radio

  • Tow Package

For more information on the QX56, visit infiniti.com

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