Weidel on Wheels: Redesigned QX56 offers plenty of luxury, power

By: Jeffrey Weidel
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Although many large sport utility vehicles are still on the road, gas-conscious times like these certainly have people thinking twice about purchasing one of these behemoths. Let’s cut to the chase right away in the gas category. The 2011 Infiniti QX56 gets an advertised 14 to 20 miles per gallon. Yet drive this stylish SUV around for a week or so and you would swear that the gas mileage runs much closer to 14 mpg than 20. But even low gas mileage won’t convince some folks not to buy a large SUV. And frankly, if money is not a big issue, it’s not difficult to see why. The seven-passenger QX56 is a luxury model that is lauded for its overall performance, classy interior, handling for its size and provides the type of comfort and safety that are very attractive features. There’s still stiff competition in this classification, which includes the Cadillac Escalade, perhaps the QX56’s prime rival for affection. Other notables are the Lincoln Navigator, Mercedes GL550, Lexus 570, and the Land Rover. Introduced in 1997, the QX56 has been redesigned for 2011. The most notable changes are new styling and additional power. The new QX56 is also a little longer and wider, but is nearly 4 inches shorter. The QX56 reminds me of an NFL lineman with a good set of wheels. This Infiniti has a 5.6-liter, V-8 engine that produces 400 horsepower. Rear-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is an option for the QX56, which goes from 0 to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds. There is only one trim model, so one either likes the current QX56 or moves on to check out a similar SUV. The interior is definitely a selling point for the QX56. The vehicle has plenty of rich wood trim and leather is abundant. For convenience, there are tons of pockets, cupholders and bins for stowing various items. An assortment of bells and whistles will keep techie people very satisfied. Trunk space is sizable for a large batch of groceries and other large items. Fold down the second and third rows and the storage capacity is enormous, stretching to 112 cubic feet. Front seat passengers will love the supportive seats and the huge head and legroom. The second row is easy to like as well with plenty of comfort. Too bad the third row is on the smallish side and not very friendly for adults. __________ 2011 Infiniti QX56 Price: $59,800 Power: 5.6-liter, V-8 engine with 400 horsepower Mileage estimate:14 mpg city; 20 mpg highway Standard features include: Class IV trailer hitch; automatic bi-xenon headlights; running boards; roof rails; sunroof; power liftgate; keyless ignition/entry; tri-zone climate control; heated 10-way-adjustable driver seat with memory and eight-way adjustable front passenger seat; leather upholstery; front and rear parking sensors; wood interior trim; 13-speaker Bose audio system with CD/MP3 player, USB jack, satellite radio, auxiliary audio/video input and Bluetooth phone connectivity with streaming audio