2011 INFINITI QX56 Walk Around

The 2011 INFINITI QX56 exterior design is a clean-sheet-of-paper redesign, far cleaner than any previous QX56 body, with a more rounded and unified appearance and fewer things that look added on, like squared-off fender flares and chrome strips. The entire nose has been rounded off and each element integrated into a unified whole that looks better and works better in the wind tunnel and on the showroom floor. The dipped rear roof section has been abandoned in favor of a flat roof, the pillars have been blacked out, and the door handles chromed and lined up. Twenty-inch wheels and tires fill the wheel wells, and 22-inchers are optional.


The 2011 INFINITI QX56 has been completely redesigned inside, including the extra-thick seats, instrument panel, center stack and console, to be more user-friendly and to look and feel more upscale and luxurious. It seems like the entire cockpit has been built around the 8-inch central screen display, and the center console cascades down from it in beautiful, organized fashion. The electroluminescent gauges are softly lit, easy to read, and housed in a swoopy escutcheon very much like the one in the new INFINITI M sedan, a piece that adds to the driving pleasure.

A unique feature of the QX56 interior is the remote-controlled second-row flip-fold seats, operated from the key fob, a feature that lets families load from back to front with a minimum of hassle with the seats. The third-row seats also power-fold forward to increase the cargo area, and the third-row seats also recline up to 20 degrees. Another unique feature is the trademarked Around View monitoring system with front and rear sonar, a system that enables the driver to see all the way around the vehicle before moving off, to make sure that there are no people or objects in jeopardy, and that there is room to maneuver.

Someone at INFINITI believes that quiet equals luxury, because measures have been taken to make the QX56 very quiet inside once underway. The huge rear seats boast the longest legroom measurement in the class at 41 inches, and can be had with optional heaters.

Our test QX56 was the all-wheel-drive version equipped with the Theater Package, the Deluxe Touring package, and the Technology Package, so it was at the very top end of the sticker price range.

The INFINITI QX56, referred to by its makers as being like a private jet, is more like a hotel room on wheels than a truck. You can control the lighting, set the thermostats front and rear, move the furniture around, and choose your entertainment.

Fit, finish, tolerances and materials are at the top of the class. The first and second row bucket seats are some of the thickest, most comfortable we've ever tried. It's quiet, plush, luxurious, and very, very complete in terms of its equipment, and it is very easy to drive down the road. The fun here is not in cutting corners and carving canyons but rather in the vast array of electronic entertainment and information available to its family users.

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