A badge engineered version of the Nissan Armada, the QX56 lacks the luxury platform that would truly make it an Infiniti. The vehicle seems to exist because it's Infiniti's only three seating row model.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET
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For exterior styling, the QX56 mainly differs from the Armada in front, with what Infiniti calls the waterfall grille.

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Engine

The 5.6-liter V-8 isn't the most advanced engine around, but the 320 horsepower and 393 pound-feet of torque it cranks out moves the QX56 well.

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The rear doors have a unique style, with handles set up in the pillars and a curve that separates the passenger and cargo areas.

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Platform

The QX56 is built on a truck platform, with a body on frame construction. That platform leads to poor ride characteristics.

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Seating

With all seats, including the third row, up, and the middle row captain's chairs, according to Infiniti, the QX56 seats seven people. A bench middle row option ups that number to eight.

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The third row seats rise and fall at the touch of a button, and with the middle row down, there is tremendous cargo area.

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Infiniti does a good job of giving the cabin its luxury touch, even if the suspension doesn't cooperate. Leather and wood insets abound.

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Surprisingly for its size, we found the QX56 very easy to drive, helping maneuvering through tight urban spaces.

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This QX56 came with the adaptive cruise control option that shows set speed and following distance on the instrument cluster display.

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The five-speed-automatic transmission has four low ranges to limit the top gear, useful for towing situations. But a sixth gear might have helped this SUV get better highway fuel economy.

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The cabin electronics come standard, and are similar to what we've seen in other Infinitis. This controller is on a horizontal plane in other Infiniti models; this vertical placement is not as ergonomic.

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The rearview mirror, along with sonar distance sensors, is very useful, but Infiniti has much more advanced camera view systems on its other models.

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The 3D perspective maps show some rendered buildings in urban areas.

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The route guidance graphics are easy to understand, and the navigation system does text-to-speech directions.

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The QX56 also includes a Bluetooth phone system, but it isn't very advanced, and only stores 40 contacts.

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With the rear seat entertainment option, this DVD player gets added to the console.

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The drop-down screen for the entertainment system blocks the rearview mirror.

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