2005 Infiniti QX56
The 2005 Infiniti QX56 exhibits the quintessential Infiniti trait of forcing buyers to accept its looks before they're rewarded with what's generally a quality vehicle underneath. The QX56's styling certainly isn't for everyone, but those drawn to the outré appearance will like the rest of what they find. Three-row seating with power everything, a commanding view including the navigation system's sharp 7-inch monitor, and access to reserves of power and torque greet the driver. The rest of the crew is also treated well, with leather seating throughout, plenty of room and overhead storage, and the requisite abundance of cup holders.
Technology abounds in vehicle systems, as well as convenience and entertainment options. Available Bluetooth, GPS navigation, a rear-facing camera, and park assist make the driving easier; stability control, a self-leveling independent rear suspension, a five-speed automatic, and an all-aluminum 32-valve V-8 make the driving better.
It seems unlikely that rappers will begin to opt for the $48,630 (as tested) 2005 Infiniti QX56 instead of similarly priced (pre-bling) Escalades, but families preferring the Infiniti's statement might find it worth a small premium compared with full-size domestic competitors.The climb into the 2005 Infiniti QX56, helped by standard running boards, serves as a reminder that you're entering a very large--and large-looking--vehicle. But once you're inside, the welcome space and full array of creature comforts make the outside world a distant memory. Our test car included the second-row split-bench package, a no-cost option replacing the standard two captain's chairs and console, making comfortable leather-clad seating available for eight. The driver seat is 10-way power adjustable (8-way for the passenger), and power adjustment with memory also tilts the steering wheel and moves the pedals up and back, a very nice feature for the more petite soccer mom. Both front seats and the outside second-row seats are heated.
Real wood and aluminum offset the 2005 Infiniti QX56's dark leather nicely. Quality carpeting covers the floors and cargo area, including the fold-flat backs of the second- and third-row seats. A rear-overhead and front-console DVD entertainment system is part of a $1,600 entertainment-system package that also requires the sunroof package, but our test car was fitted with neither. Instead, an almost ridiculous number of fold-down storage bins line the center of the headliner, which also houses the separate rear-seat climate controls. Four outlets for 12-volt power are located usefully throughout the cabin.
The list of high-tech options goes on to include an intelligent cruise-control system, which our test car didn't feature, as well as a rear-facing camera and rear proximity sensors for assistance with reversing, which our car did have. Regardless of one's parallel-parking proficiency, these tech aids are necessary, given the 2005 Infiniti QX56's rear overhang, especially with the towing package under the rear bumper. In another nod to this SUV's potential for dwarfing smaller drivers, the big rear liftgate is power-operated for opening and closing, and the rear glass opens separately for quickly loading smaller items.
Either flavor of satellite radio is offered on the 2005 Infiniti QX56 (subscriptions extra), played through a nice 10-speaker, 265-watt, Bose six-CD stereo with a 7-inch subwoofer under the driver seat. Our test car lacked Bluetooth phone integration, but it will be standard on the 2006 models. The GPS system worked well both in the city and in rural Sonoma County. The usual Nissan/Infiniti navigation interface is relatively simple, but its stubby joystick/button can be difficult to press straight inward without moving it sideways and changing your selection.