2011 Infiniti QX56 AWD First Impressions Review

Expert Reviews Infiniti

2011 Infiniti QX56
By contributing editor David Colman


  • Feels invulnerable
  • Tour bus front seats
  • Swallows bikes


  • Mismatched door-to-dash trim
  • Hard rear seats
  • Middling fuel mileage
  • Rearview mirror adjustment button inaccessible when seated

The QX56 comes alive when the sun sets. With its brilliant directional headlights scanning the countryside, its 3/4 overhead navigation tableau reeling off street names as you pass them, and the dual movie screens of the optional ($2,450) rear “Theater Package” blasting pixels into the dark, this Infiniti is the wonder of the digital age. While it’s not much to look at from outside, this boxy, heavy SUV gains all its momentum inside, where a palatial interior cocoons up to 8 occupants with Air Force One attention to detail. The BarcaLounger-sized front seats allow you to survey a jungle-like swath of Mocha Burl trim covering the outer rim of the steering wheel, the center stack of the dash, and the front quarters of all 4 doors. The driver’s seat adjusts in 8 ways, the passenger’s in 6.

Leather-appointed seating

You’ll be well advised to use the running board when stepping into this lofty cabin, because the QX sits 9.2 inches tall on its optional, Deluxe Touring Package ($5,800), 22 inch tires. The extra loot for this pricey package not only brings you 9-spoke, forged alloy rims and Monster Truck sized (275/50R22) Bridgestone Dueler H/T tires, but also aniline leather heated front and rear seats, advanced climate control, easy-tilt and fold second row seats, and an hydraulic motion dampener to counteract ride pitchiness. The easy-tilt back seats are a notable blessing.

While you’re examining the option sheet, you might also want to select the $2,850 Technology Package. This grouping is useful if you lane wander on the freeway, or have trouble judging distance-to-crash when parking. The Techno Package offers Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Lane Departure Prevention, Forward Collision Warning, Intelligent (read radar-based) Cruise Control, plus those wonderful headlights that change direction when you do. The Techno Package performs unobtrusively. Congratulations to Infiniti for providing valuable safety assists without intruding unduly on your driving experience. Best of all, you can disable some of these features at will, and re-enable them when needed. Tall glass windows make for excellent vision, so you won’t need LDW in normal driving. But when towing a trailer (the QX can pull a whopping 8,500 pounds), you’ll want to enable LDW as a helpful preventative measure.

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  • Peter Anastopulos says:

    Horrible ,Hideous why does this vehicle exist?It has always scored low on reliability,poor gas mileage and it’s foundation the Titan is at the bottom of all trucks.Does anybody buy these back in France where Nissan Corporate Headquarters is located or in Japan?Why dump this crap on us? We build much better Mega vehicles here.Obviously they build very few of these but why continue ,cut your losses the Q series is waiting for you in the Auto junkyard of bad ideas.

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