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Car Review: 2013 Infiniti QX56 4WD

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Among the full-size SUV crowd, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better looking entry than the 2013 Infiniti QX56 4WD with its top to bottom inspired design. After spending a week driving the QX56, you’ll realize just how much luxury can be squeezed into a condo on wheels.

EXTERIOR

The exterior of the 2013 Infiniti QX56 4WD is simply stunning, as the folks at Infiniti have put together the complete package with this high-end machine. The Infiniti QX is designed to attract and hold viewers’ attention, conveying its underlying sense of power and strength. The bold, front chrome grille is flanked by automatic on/off bi-functional xenon headlights with windshield wiper interlock and integrated front fog lights. Adaptive Front lighting System (AFS) with auto-leveling headlights and headlight washers add to the list of options.

Other exterior features include LED taillights, heated and power-folding sideview mirrors with integrated turn signals, courtesy lights and reverse tilt-down feature, body color running boards, body color integrated front and rear splashguards built into the wheel arches, roof rails, a power-sliding tinted glass moonroof and a power rear liftgate. A front underbody spoiler, functional rear liftgate spoiler and redesigned side mirrors help provide aerodynamics of 0.36 Cd and zero lift. The QX’s strong presence is accented by the powerful wheel and tire combinations, including 22-inch, 9-spoke forged aluminum-alloy wheels with 275/50R22 all-season tires that demand respect.

INTERIOR

I have friends who spent big bucks on designing their homes or condos that can’t touch the luxurious feel of the 2013 Infiniti QX56 4WD! The QX’s world-class inner sanctum offers a comfortable space and personal controls for every occupant. It features standard 7-passenger seating capacity, with 8-passenger capacity available with the second row 60/40-split folding bench seat. Leather-appointed seating is standard for all three rows. Even more luxurious semi-aniline leather seating surfaces in our Deluxe Touring Package with new third row perforation and stitching added for 2013 to match the front two rows. The driver’s seat is 10-way power adjustable, including 2-way power lumbar support. It features a standard dual occupant memory system for the driver’s seat, steering wheel and outside mirrors. The front passenger’s seat is 8-way power adjustable, including 2-way power lumbar support. Heated front seats are standard, with climate-controlled (heating and cooling functions) front seats and heated second row seats, and the second row captain’s chairs offer a tip-up function for easy third row entry/exit. Also standard is a heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel which drivers will truly appreciate in colder months, and a 16.6 cubic foot cargo space for luggage is provided with the third row seat up. When the third row seat is folded, the flat load floor offers a wide versatile space for carrying cargo and recreational gear.

For 2013, the convenience of the standard Around View Monitor with Front and Rear Sonar System is enhanced with the addition of the Moving Object Detection (MOD). Around View Monitor utilizes four, small superwide-angle cameras – mounted on the front, side and rear of the FX – to provide a virtual 360° view of objects around the vehicle, helping to maneuver it in tight spots. The system uses advanced image processing to combine the images from the four cameras and provide a unique birds-eye view of the vehicle’s surroundings. The new MOD function helps enhance the driver’s situational awareness by providing visual and audible warnings (front or back range object detection) if the system detects moving objects (such as another vehicle) within the displayed image in situations such as pulling out of a parking space. The system detects moving objects within the “top view” (when the vehicle is in Park). When starting off or backing up, it detects moving objects, such as another vehicle, crossing within the front or rear views. It took us awhile to get used to some of the alerts from this system, but it truly made us better drivers!

Among the QX’s available premium entertainment and technology features that our test model sported are an 8-inch WVGA color touch-screen display, Infiniti Controller for use with vehicle information systems and comfort and convenience features, and the Infiniti Hard Drive Navigation System with NavTraffic with Real-Time Traffic Information, NavWeather with Real-Time Weather and 3-day forecast (SiriusXM subscription required, sold separately) and Zagat Survey Restaurant Guide. Bluetooth Hands-free Phone System is also standard. Also available is the Bose Cabin Surround sound system with 15 speakers, which is part of the Deluxe Touring Package.

Other standard equipment includes a single in-dash CD/DVD player with MP3 playback, SiriusXM Satellite Radio (SiriusXM subscription required, sold separately), USB connection port for use with iPod Interface or other compatible devices, and Streaming Audio via Bluetooth. The Theater Package is superb and features dual 7-inch color monitors, two pairs of wireless headphones, an upgraded wireless remote control, auxiliary input jacks and 120V power outlet. The QX allows playback of games or movies in the rear (games and movies sold separately), while front occupants listen to audio at the same time. The two 7-inch color monitors include an auto-bright system that adjusts for daytime, clouds/evening and night/tunnel lighting. All in all, the cabin rocks in so many ways that you feel yourself getting spoiled by this comfortable space in the QX56.

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PERFORMANCE

The first thing I learned when first driving the 2013 Infiniti QX56 4WD was that this baby can flat out take off when you hit the gas pedal! The advanced engine and transmission designs deliver a combination of power, efficiency and refinement worthy of the Infiniti name. The 5.6-liter 32-valve DOHC aluminum-alloy V8 features Infiniti’s advanced VVEL (Variable Valve Event & Lift) technology and a Direct Injection Gasoline (DIG) system. The VVEL system combines hydraulic-controlled variable valve timing and electronically controlled variable valve lift on the intake side to help improve performance and response. Throttle response is seriously enhanced by directly controlling the intake valve, rather than using the traditional method of controlling intake with the throttle valve. The VVEL system also offers improved emissions and fuel efficiency (over non-VVEL designs) by reducing the intake resistance that occurs when the engine’s throttle valve opening is narrowed and output is low. The DIG system provides better wide-open throttle performance and improved fuel economy and emissions performance (versus a non direct-injection system) by reducing engine knock, improving combustion stability and offering more precise injection control.

The engine is rated at 400 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque, while delivering fuel economy of 14 mpg City, 20 mpg Highway and 16 mpg Combined for both the QX56 2WD and 4WD models. All 2013 QXs come equipped with a standard 7-speed automatic transmission with Adaptive Shift Control (ASC) and manual shift mode with Downshift Rev Matching (DRM). The system is designed to distribute torque to all four wheels when road conditions warrant (up to 50 percent can go to the front wheels on demand), helping to enhance traction. All QX models also include Hill Start Assist. With Hill Start Assist, if a driver stops on a slope and steps off the brake pedal, the system will keep the QX stationary for a few seconds, with no roll back. This enables drivers to more easily switch from the brake pedal to the accelerator on steep inclines.

The QX’s suspension is an independent double-wishbone design front and rear, with Dual-Flow Path twin tube shock absorbers and an automatic rear leveling system that seeks to maintain uniform ground clearance and departure angle, even when towing or carrying cargo, by automatically adjusting the air pressure in the system’s air bladders. In addition, an advanced Hydraulic Body Motion Control system is available on both 2WD and 4WD models as part of the Deluxe Touring Package. The system helps to reduce body lean in turns, resulting in improved ride comfort for passengers in all three rows. Suspension travel is automatically controlled by hydraulic chambers integrated into each shock absorber. The chambers are cross-linked with piping, allowing for the transfer of hydraulic fluid, managed seamlessly by nitrogen-charged accumulators, from one side of the vehicle to the other. This enables the system to vary suspension travel independently on either side of the vehicle, thereby counteracting body lean and creating a luxurious, flat ride.

Braking is provided by 4-wheel disc brakes (13.8-inch vented discs front and rear) with Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist. The QX’s maximum towing capacity is 8,500 pounds for both 2WD and 4WD models (when properly equipped). A special tow mode revises shift patterns when engaged. Standard towing features include a Class IV tow hitch and 7-pin wiring harness integrated into the rear bumper (with a cover for an elegant appearance when not in use).

OVERVIEW

There is no doubt that the Infiniti QX stands out in the luxury performance SUV class with its unique combination of inspired design and performance. Now in the third year of the current generation design, the 2013 Infiniti QX continues to offer an impressive combination of power, strength and luxury style capable of delivering performance that beats many luxury sedans on the road. For a MSRP of $78,140 as tested, the 2013 Infiniti QX56 4WD delivers so much to the customer that one just has to be thankful Infiniti is building this SUV. Set aside all of the strong impressions you’ll make on everyone else with the QX56 and make a great impression on yourself by driving this luxurious offering from Infiniti.

  

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