2013 Infiniti QX56 Review

2013 Infiniti QX56 - The bold 2013 Infiniti QX56 SUV is big, plush and capable.

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Prices: $60,000-$63,100

The 2013 Infiniti QX56 is a fast, luxurious full-size SUV that feels as if it could tow just about anything short of the London Bridge.

The imposing looking QX56 is in the third year of its current-generation design. It has a 5.6-liter direct-injected, 32-valve V-8 with 400 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque for quick acceleration and a towing capacity of 8,500 pounds.

The V-8 is hooked to a smooth 7-speed automatic transmission with a manual shift mode. The 4WD version has a computer-controlled transfer case with settings in Automatic, 4L and 4H. A console dial controls snow, tow or hill-start assist modes.

The QX56's engine muscle is needed because it's such a big guy. It weighs 5,595 pounds with 2WD (rear-drive) and 5,855 pounds with 4WD. It's got a lengthy121-inch wheelbase and is 208.3 feet long overall and 80 inches wide. Still, it isn't hard to maneuver in reasonably roomy areas.  

The QX56 is nearly 76 inches high, which allows good vision. But that means the  running boards, which should be wider for large shoes, are needed for fairly easy entry to-and exit from--the interior. Reaching the 60/40 split, reclining third-row seat is awkward unless you're nimble. That seat folds neatly into the floor if you want more cargo room, which is just adequate with the third seat in its normal upright position.
 
The transmission allows an estimated 20 miles per gallon on the highway, which isn't bad for a big, powerful SUV. But city fuel economy is only an estimated 14 miles per gallon. Premium fuel is recommended, but at least it's held by a 26-gallon fuel tank.

Not that one buys this SUV with fuel economy at the top of a list. The QX56 is purchased for its seemingly effortless performance, luxurious nature and 8-passenger capacity with an available second-row 60/40 split folding bench seat, which replaces a second-row center console. There's 7-passenger seating with the console.

The quiet, upscale, soft-touch interior has gauges that can be quickly read and easily used controls that, nevertheless, take a little getting used to.

Those with long legs won't be comfortable in the third-row seat. For instance, leg room up front is 39.6 inches, while second-row legroom is 41 inches. Third-row legroom drops to 28.8 inches.

The docile, quiet V-8 looks like it occupies almost every inch of the engine compartment.The engine-speed-sensitive power steering is nicely geared-not too quick or too slow. And a high-stiffness frame structure and independent double wishbone front and rear suspension with stabilizer bars and automatic rear self-leveling system assure a supple ride, although some bumps can be mildly felt.

There's a little body sway when curves are taken at spirited speeds. But the QX56 always feels planted to roads, especially with 4WD and standard vehicle dynamic control with traction control. However, the QX56 is too big, high and heavy to encourage overly enthusiastic driving.    

The anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution are controlled by a  pedal with a nice linear feel.    

I tested the 2013 QX56 with 4WD. The official Infiniti website says the 2WD model lists at $60,000, while the site says the 4WD version costs $63,100. Prices vary as the model year progresses, and my test vehicle's window sticker thus put its base price without options  at $63,750. Costly extras and a $990 transportation charge upped the bottom-line price of my test QX56 to $78,140.

Those with children will likely want the $3,100 Theater Package, with dual 7-inch color monitors and two wireless headphones. Folks who spend lots of road time may desire the $4,650 Deluxe Touring Package, which contains climate-controlled front seats, a Bose Cabin Surround sound system and a hydraulic body motion control system.  

Still, the QX56 doesn't need option packages to be well-equipped. Standard items include  a heated, leather-wrapped wheel, leather-covered seats, heated power front seats, tri-zone automatic temperature control and a power sliding tinted glass moonroof.

There's also a Bose 13-speaker premium sound system, navigation system and push-button ignition. The power rear hatch is handy, as are the extra-large outside power folding rearview mirrors.

Cupholders? There are nine, besides four door-pocket bottle holders.

Safety items include an advanced air bag system and an Around-View Monitor with a front and rear Sonar System and Moving Object Detection feature.

The $3,000 Technology Package is a prime safety option, especially for drivers who aren't always alert. It contains intelligent cruise control with distance control assist, blind spot warning and blind spot intervention, besides lane-departure warning and lane-departure prevention systems.

The QX56's major rivals include the Mercedes-Benz GL, Cadillac Escalade and BMW X5. But it's different enough to justify taking a good look at it.




Dan Jedlicka

Dan Jedlicka's Website

Dan Jedlicka joined the Chicago Sun-Times in February 1968 as a business news reporter and was named auto editor later that year. He has reviewed more than 4,000 new vehicles for the Sun-Times--far more than any newspaper auto writer in the country. Jedlicka also reviewed vehicles for Microsoft Corp.'s MSN Autos Internet site from January, 1996, to June, 2008.

Jedlicka remained auto editor at the Sun-Times until October, 2008, and continued writing for the newspaper's AutoTimes section, which he started in 1992, until February, 2009. While continuing his auto writings at the Sun-Times, he served as assistant financial editor of that newspaper from 1970 to 1973, when he began his automotive column.

He has appeared on numerous radio and television shows, including NBC's "Today," ABC's "20/20" and "The CBS Evening News." He was a host, consultant and writer for Fox-TV Channel 32's 1991 New Car Preview show and that Chicago-based station's 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995 Chicago Auto Show Previews.

Jedlicka's auto articles have been printed in national magazines, including Esquire and Harper's. His auto columns have been reprinted in U.S. government publications and economic textbooks and he is profiled in the "World's Greatest Auto Show" history book about the Chicago Auto Show. In late 1975, Jedlicka was host and technical advisor for three one-hour television specials, "Auto Test 76," which aired nationally on PBS and were the first nationally televised auto road test shows.

In 1995, Jedlicka was the recipient of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois Inc.'s Consumer Education Award, given annually to a person who has gained distinction in the field of consumer education. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Media category and inducted into the Legends of Motorsports Guild at the Carquest World of wheels custom car show in Chicago in January, 2006.

Jedlicka was a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year jury, composed of a select number of auto journalists from throughout the country, from 1995 until 2009. From 2010 to 2012, he was a member of Consumer Digest magazine's auto experts panel that gave Best Buy new vehicle recommendations.

He is a 1987 graduate of the Bob Bondurant Race Drivers School and later of the BMW "M" and Skip Barber Advanced Driving schools. He was a member of the U.S. team that participated in the 1987 1,000-mile Mille Miglia race/rally in Italy and has been a race winner at the Chicago area's Santa Fe Speedway.

Jedlicka has owned 25 classic cars, including 1950s and 1960s Ferraris and 1950s and 1960s Porsches, a 1965 Corvette, a 1967 Maserati and a 1957 Studebaker supercharged Golden Hawk. Jedlicka resides with his wife, Suzanne, in the Frank Lloyd Wright historic district of Oak Park. They have two children, James and Michele.

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