AutoTech Video Review: Infiniti QX56

The Infiniti QX56 is the motoring equivalent of a scrumptious wedding cake: big and tall, classy, and oh so delicious. As the embedded video explores, the QX56 is a massive vehicle that knows how to handle itself while presenting the driver with a competent dash cluster and infotainment system The in-vehicle technology isn’t over done. It’s not loaded to the chassis with gadgets or crazy one-off functions. It’s subtle technology done right.

In this episode of AutoTech I take the $71,000 Infiniti QX56 through the empty streets of Flint, MI while waxing on about this and that. If nothing else, click through for the beats of Freeway by Spinnaface. It’s really the best part of the video. Well, the truck is great, too.

Crunching The Numbers Tech Report
Base Price: $59,800 No. Of Buttons: 92
Price As Tested: $71,850 No. Of Speakers: 13
Most Expensive Option: $6,950 Deluxe Touring Package Coolest Feature: $2,300 22-inch wheels
Least Expensive Option: $170 Moonroof Wind Deflector Worst Feature: None
Stated Gas Mileage:: 14 City, 20 Hwy Observed mpg: 11.6 average

This isn’t our first Infiniti. We drove the high-strung M37S back in November 2010 and the two share much of the same interior design and electronics. The center stack shares the same button layout and the UI on the main screen is the same. This SUV is a rolling electronic fun house.

It’s clear that Infiniti likes buttons. There are — no joking — 92 buttons and/or dials within the QX56 driver’s reach not including the two stalks mounted on the steering column. The 2011 Cadillac Escalde only has 62 buttons. The M37S shared this love of controls, but the larger surface area in the SUV counterpart effectively counters the overloaded feeling. Besides, they all have a task and I’d much rather have more buttons that a multilevel touchscreen menu.

As much as the QX56 is loaded with technology, it’s not on the same level as some similarly-priced Audis or BMWs. That should be fine with most owners. The QX56 is about quiet but helpful gadgets and not overloading the driver with silly extras.

The QX56 isn’t for everyone. It’s huge. This is not a truck you buy to save on gas. I saw around 11mpg during my testing week. That’s horrible. It counters the bad gas mileage with 22-inch wheels and a high stance allows the vehicle to traverse nearly any urban obstacle — like a flowerbed at the mall or another soccer mom’s Prius. Then the $71k price sort of puts the QX56 in the ridiculous price point category. But as I state in the vehicle, if you need a go-anywhere vehicle with a good amount of tech, this is a great bet.

Tech Gear Luxury Gear
13-Speaker Bose Audio System(STD) 8-Way Driver Seat (STD)
9.3GB Music Box HDD system (STD) Heated steering wheel (STD)
USB and iOS support (STD) Steering wheel controls (STD)
Bluetooth hands-free and streaming (STD) Rain-sensing windshield wipers (STD)
Around view camera system (STD) Power rear liftgate (STD)
8-inch WVGA touchscreen (STD) Xenon headlamps (STD)
Navigation W/ XM traffic (STD) 22-inch wheels, Hydraulic Body Motion, Heated front and rear seats ($5,800)
Dual 7-inch headrest screens w/ AV inputs and 120V power ($2,450)
Intelligent Cruise, Blind Spot Warning, Distance Control Assist ($2,850)