- Attractive styling inside and out
- Very comfortable seats in front
- Excellent, full-featured entertainment systems
- Clumsy handling and lack of maneuverability
- Firm, choppy ride
- Impaired rearward visibility
- Questionable reliability
The 2008 Infiniti QX56 misses the mark for a lot of practical reasons, but it can tow a Chris Craft in high style.
The 2008 Infiniti QX56 sport-utility vehicle, a more luxurious and ornately styled version of the big Nissan Armada, gets a revamp for the 2008 model year, including a new audio and navigation system, fresh front and rear styling, and a power folding third-row seat. The QX56 returns with rear- or all-wheel drive models--oriented for on-road driving--both powered by a 5.6-liter V-8 with 320 horsepower and 393 pound-feet of torque, teamed to a five-speed automatic transmission. It can tow up to 9,000 pounds.
The 2008 Infiniti QX56 isn't as fast as the numbers make it sound--most notably, because it weighs about three tons--but the huge V-8 engine has enough torque to propel this hefty vehicle quite briskly. Handling is a low point, though; the steering is overboosted and light, and aggressive cornering is met with a disconnected feel for the driver and an ungainly wallow for passengers. Maneuverability is hindered by a large turning radius and poor rearward visibility.
The 2008 Infiniti QX56 has a surprisingly stiff ride, considering the pronounced body lean in corners. The interior includes nice, supportive front seats, but the second row isn't as comfortable as one would expect in a full-size SUV, and the third row is cramped, though elevated to avoid help claustrophobia. And while the materials are slightly disappointing, the QX's upright instrument panel is both distinctively styled and user-friendly. For 2008, there's a power-folding third row, steering wheel controls are now lit, and the gauge faces get a new style.
A very long list of noteworthy standard features help distinguish the 2008 Infiniti QX56. A 12-speaker Bose sound system is standard, mated to a 9.3GB Music Box hard drive, which stores music files for playback in the vehicle. Intelligent Key is also standard, along with leather upholstery, a navigation system, a power tailgate, and a load-leveling rear suspension. Options now include XM NavTraffic and a DVD entertainment system with a larger, eight-inch screen.
Front side airbags, side head-curtain airbags, and electronic stability control are standard on the 2008 Infiniti QX56, along with anti-lock brakes. The QX56 has been tested by the federal government and earned five stars in frontal protection for the driver and four stars for the passenger. It hasn't been tested for side-impact protection or examined at all by the insurance-affiliated IIHS. Another cause for concern is that Consumer Reports has flagged the QX56's reliability in a number of areas.