2012 Infiniti QX56
Starting MSRP $60,000–$63,100
The 2012 Infiniti QX56 pulled off a nearly impossible feat during a family drive to the Rocky Mountains: My husband and I had a rare adult conversation in the first row while our three children were in the SUV. This happened because our little ones were cozily nestled in the second and third rows and engrossed in a movie playing on the two head-restraint-mounted entertainment screens.
The 2012 QX56 offers a wealth of luxurious amenities and can satisfy almost all of your cravings in the car; I say almost because there is a dearth of cargo space behind the third row and its fuel economy is pretty dismal.
The low fuel-economy numbers — an EPA-estimated 14/20 mpg city/highway — are courtesy of the QX's 400-horsepower V-8 engine. Of course, with that kind of power the QX swiftly climbed the nearly 11,000 feet to the top of Vail pass, and it wasn't even panting. It accelerates smoothly, never hesitates and propels you along in placid comfort — no matter how fast you're going. This three-row SUV is surprisingly agile given its size and makes driving a quiet, smooth and low-stress experience.
The QX56 was completely redesigned for the 2011 model year. New additions for 2012 are minor and pertain mainly to option packages. Blind spot warning and lane departure warning systems are now part of the available Technology Package ($3,000); a Bose surround-sound audio system with 15 speakers is available in the Deluxe Touring Package ($4,500); and the Theater Package now includes heated second-row seats with a remote tip-up feature ($2,950).
The 2012 QX56 has a starting price of $60,190 (including a $990 destination charge). With the addition of the available Theater, Deluxe Touring, Technology and Tire and Wheel packages, the grand total of my test car was $75,340.
The QX56 elicited lots of comments from people about its humongous size. It is enormous but fit in my garage without a problem. At 208.3 inches long and 79.9 inches wide, it made the Ford Escape in my garage look like a real imp as it was more than two feet shorter than the QX.
A chrome grille dominates the QX's front. This deliberate statement of largesse and luxury certainly makes people take notice. The step-in height is tough for shorter legs and tighter skirts, though the presence of standard running boards offers a bit of help. A power liftgate, power moonroof, xenon high-intensity-discharge headlights, rain-sensing wipers and power-folding heated side mirrors are all standard.
Cargo space becomes disappointing with the third-row seats in use. Cargo volume behind the third row is a paltry 16.6 cubic feet. Compared to the more than 30 cubic feet that most minivans have behind the third row, 16.6 cubic feet is embarrassing. When the power-folding third-row seats are folded, the cargo space opens up to almost 50 cubic feet, which is respectable but something I couldn't regularly experience since I needed to use the third-row bench for one of my three kids. What I did get to experience is trying to stuff a whole lot of stuff into a little space for a weekend trip to the mountains.
The standard 5.6-liter V-8 engine that produces 400 hp is impressive. My test car had optional four-wheel drive with Infiniti's All-Mode electronically controlled transfer case. A knob between the front seats puts the car into Snow or Tow modes with a simple turn. Rear-wheel drive is standard. Premium fuel is recommended for both the all- and rear-wheel-drive QX. I averaged about 15 mpg during my test drive, and when it came time to fill up the QX56, my bill was nearly $100.
SENSE AND STYLE
Family Friendly (Not Really, Fair, Great, Excellent): Great
Fun-Factor (None, Some, Good Times, Groove-On): Good Times
The 2012 QX56 has a cabin that puts some chic hotels to shame. It's all polished wood and leather detail with no surface untouched by something that shimmers, shines or feels soft on your skin. The leather and wood trim are standard and gorgeous. Seating is comfortable, enabling anyone to sit anywhere in this car for hours.
A heated steering wheel, heated front seats, power-folding third-row seats and trizone automatic climate control are standard. My test car came with standard second-row captain's chairs, creating seating for seven. The captain's chairs easily tip forward (when child-safety seats aren't installed) with the touch of a lever to ensure easy entry to the third row. Eight-person seating is available with a second-row bench seat.
Infiniti has managed to make road noise disappear from the QX56's cabin, which would make driving incredibly peaceful were it not for those three wee ones I tote around with me. As for storage in the cabin, there are nine cupholders and four in-door bottleholders, and both the front- and second-row center consoles are enormous, which means lots of space for books, snacks, diapers and your laptop. My test car came with the Deluxe Touring Package that adds heated and cooled front seats, an upgraded 15-speaker Bose audio system and lovely lighting at the base of the second row. The test car was also equipped with the Theater Package that includes dual 7-inch entertainment screens that can play material from different video sources.
IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT
Storage Compartments (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Ample
Cargo/Trunk Space (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Ample
Installing a child-safety seat into the QX56's second row is a breeze thanks to the lower Latch anchors that are easily accessible through large slits in seat upholstery. I wish Infiniti would include a third set of Latch anchors in the third row. I'm constantly surprised at how many of these huge cars with third rows don't have a third set of Latch anchors. I installed a forward-facing convertible in the third row using a seat belt and the tether anchor that was at the rear of the cargo area. Find out how the 2012 QX56 performed in Cars.com's Car Seat Check here.
The 2012 QX56 has standard rear-wheel drive, four-wheel-disc antilock brakes with brake assist, an electronic stability system with traction control, active head restraints in the front row and six airbags, including side curtains for all three rows.
The QX56 also comes standard with Infiniti's Around View Monitor camera system that uses four cameras mounted around the SUV to let you know if anything is in your way when parking or maneuvering. You can view the camera images on the 8-inch navigation screen, and front and rear parking sensors also let you know when the QX is too close to something.
My test car was equipped with the Technology Package ($3,000), which is full of safety extras such as a blind spot warning system, lane departure warning system, Distance Control Assist, forward collision warning and adaptive front headlights. All-wheel drive also is optional.
The 2012 QX56 hasn't been crash-tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or the federal government.
Get more safety information about the 2012 Infiniti QX56 here.
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