For the review of the first generation of the Infiniti QX56 click here.
With Infiniti moving up in the luxury world, it took the Nissan Pathfinder Armada (later changed to just Armada) and spawned an Infiniti clone named the QX56. While it did reasonably well, it failed to entice buyers away from the Cadillac Escalade and Mercedes-Benz GL. It was cited for not having enough of the luxury factor and also because of its relatively harsh ride. Knowing this, Infiniti went to work at its replacement. Now no longer a clone of the Nissan Armada, the QX56 (As of 2014, it is now QX80) is based on the Nissan Patrol, an SUV not sold in North America. Boasting Infiniti’s latest design language and a more luxurious interior, the QX56 is aimed at the full size luxury SUV market.
Design wise, the curvaceous QX56 is a departure from the boxy previous generation. As with the first generation QX56 that I reviewed, the headlights look miniscule adjacent to the oversized grille. As for this generation, the front is decent The only problem for me is the grille. It stretches out at the edges which make it look unfinished. The side profile is nicely done. I like how they blacked out the front pillars to create a wraparound look. The only big flaw with the design is the nonfunctional vent located above the front wheels. It looks gaudy and out of place on a luxury SUV. The rear is not bad at all. I love the purple color. The interior is appealing with nice wood trim. Overall, except for a few minor flaws, it looks like a proper luxury SUV.
Whereas the 2008 Infiniti QX56 was agile for such a large vehicle, this is not. Its soft suspension means that it leans considerably in corners, The steering is very light, and there is no road feel. Whenever I turn the wheel, the car reacts dramatically. You can always tell it will plow straight on in hasty driving. Braking performances were decent. The brakes are easy to modulate. The upside of the driving experience is the superb ride quality. It cossets all bumps very well, and only large potholes and bumps upset the cabin slightly. I did not have an opportunity to test its off road capability, but there is no doubt it should be capable considering it is a clone of the Nissan Patrol (overseas, it is known for its off roading ability).
The 56 in QX56 denotes a 400 horsepower 5.6 liter V8 engine. It is strong and a workhouse. Acceleration is very respectable, and it never falters no matter what. Its maximum towing capability is at 8,500 pounds, so you can be sure the V8 has more than enough power for everyday situations. The seven speed automatic transmission works well. Fuel economy is dismal, but then again this is a full size SUV.
Refinement is excellent. All noise levels are hushed. The V8 emits a satisfying hum when pressed.
Fit and finish is impressive. The thought that went through my mind when I first sat inside was “Wow”. It really does feel fit for a king. It is easy to get comfortable although I felt the lumbar adjustment was not very effective. The seats are extremely comfortable, but they can feel overly soft for some people. Visibility is generous around the front, but the rear is hindered by the big pillars. The back up camera helps with reversing. There is also a front camera that can be activated at low speeds. I loved this feature because it can be hard to see over the hood, and the camera helps with this. There is generous room in the front and rear. The third row is a different story. In a vehicle this big, it is surprising that it is cramped in the third row for three people. A Honda Pilot seats three people in the third row, and it is less cramped. The cargo space is huge. This is the perfect SUV to go for a mega shopping trip at Costco. The second row does not fold flat. The third row seats can only be folded down by power. You have to press a button, but they are slow to fold. The controls are easy. It is touchscreen, controlled by a multifunction controller, or you can use hard buttons. There are buttons for the radio and the AC, and they are intuitive as well. The storage spaces in the cabin is plenty. There is always somewhere to put something in. The gauges are clear and easy to read.
Infiniti really did its homework with the second generation QX56. It really feels like your money is well spent. Whereas the first QX56 interior was full of hard plastic, this interior is probably one of the best interiors I have ever been in. It is a comfortable SUV as well. It may not handle well, but then again when people are in the market for a luxury SUV, driving enjoyment is not high on their list. However, for me, I would rather get the first generation. Whereas the first QX56 was so nimble for such a big SUV, this is not. Yes, the first Qx56 is a monster in size, but it really does handle very well, and I loved the steering. I liked its styling better.This QX56/QX80 is too dull for me. It is too toned down for me. It is a much better SUV, but it is not as fun, but then again, it is a large SUV. If you are in the market for a luxury SUV, this should be high on your list.