In the world of full-size luxury SUVs there’s a surprising lack of choice for consumers. Add genuine off-road capability to your search criteria and the list of credible models shrinks to just a handful.
One vehicle that will carry you and up to seven of your mates, and is comfortable towing a boat or heading off-road, is the 2012 Infiniti QX56. This is largely due to the fact that it’s based on the rugged Nissan Patrol sold overseas.
This means that it comes with a host of off-road driving features as well as Nissan’s Hydraulic Body Motion Control system, which helps reduce body lean while turning for a more comfortable ride. The suspension setup is an independent double-wishbone design front and rear, with twin tube shock absorbers, stabilizer bars, and an automatic rear leveling system that seeks to maintain uniform ground clearance and departure angle, even when towing or carrying cargo, by automatically adjusting the air pressure in the system's air bladders.
If that’s not enough, the QX56 also gets Hill Start Assist, which prevents the vehicle from sliding backwards on steep slopes by holding the brakes for a few seconds when the driver steps off the brake pedal and switches to the gas. For traction, the QX56 also gets full-time four-wheel drive with a real low drive ratio. Torque is biased to the rear, but can be split 50:50 between the front and rear axles when wheels start slipping.
Only one engine is available, but it’s a gem. It’s a 5.6-liter V-8 with 400 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque and it comes matched to a sweet-shifting seven-speed automatic transmission.
The combination is good for an 8,500-pound towing capacity! Infiniti also promises a 0-60 mph time of about seven seconds, which we easily matched in our tests, and gas mileage, while still low, is a big improvement on the last QX, at 14/20 mpg city/highway.
The QX56 was all-new in 2011 so the vehicle’s styling is still fresh, although we have to admit it’s a bit awkward from some angles. You’ll either hate or love the look of the new QX56, though there’s a quintessential charm to its Japanese-ness. Note, this version of the QX is built in Japan instead of the U.S.
Key rivals include the Audi Q7,Cadillac Escalade, Lexus LX 570, Mercedes-Benz GL Class, and the Range Rover from Land Rover, but as mentioned earlier, many of these are nowhere near as capable as the Infiniti.
For an in-depth look at the 2012 Infiniti QX56, head over to our sister site The Car Connection for the full review.