Nissan’s luxury division has added a full-size sport utility vehicle to its lineup. Introduced as a midseason model, the QX56 goes on sale in early spring of 2004 and joins the company’s “crossover” FX35 and FX45 models. Manufactured at Nissan’s recently opened plant in Canton, Miss., it’s the first Infiniti model to be built in the United States.
Based on the Nissan Pathfinder Armada that debuted for 2004, the luxury QX56 holds a similar Endurance 5.6-liter V-8 engine that generates 315 horsepower and 390 pounds-feet of torque. The independent rear suspension incorporates load leveling. Rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive versions are available in the single trim level.
Seven-passenger seating is standard; capacity increases to eight-passenger seating when a split bench seat is installed in the second row. Sojourner leather-appointed upholstery and a navigation system are standard. A full-length overhead console can be equipped with a DVD entertainment system. Additional options include Intelligent Cruise Control and a RearView Monitor. When properly equipped, the QX56 can tow up to 8,900 pounds.
The QX56 has a chromed “waterfall” grille with horizontal bars that is flanked by wraparound rectangular housings that contain xenon high-intensity-discharge headlights. The massive front bumpers integrate large fog lights and a wide air intake. LED taillights are installed at the rear. Seven-spoke 18-inch chrome wheels hold 265/70R18 tires.
Built on a fully boxed frame, the QX56 has a relatively long 123.2-inch wheelbase but measures a more moderate 206.9 inches long overall. Running boards, a roof rack, powered flip-out rear quarter windows and a powered rear liftgate are standard. Heated power mirrors incorporate puddle lamps, and chrome bodyside moldings are installed. All-wheel-drive models have skid plates for the oil pan, transfer case and fuel tank.
Either seven or eight occupants fit inside the QX56, depending on the second-row layout. Captain’s chairs fold flat and have integrated armrests and a removable center console. A fold-flat bench seat can be substituted for the captain’s chairs, and a fold-flat bench goes into the third row. The seats are heated in the first and second rows. The fold-down front passenger seat can be used as a work area. Occupants can make use of 12 cupholders.
Genuine wood trims the interior; Dark Macore and Blonde Apaya are offered. Tuscano carpeting is used, and the steering wheel has wood and aluminum trim. An analog clock is installed. Dual-zone climate control and rear air conditioning are standard. The memory system controls the pedals, mirrors and driver’s seat position. A gated shift lever is installed.
A 10-speaker Bose audio system with a six-CD automatic changer is standard. The standard DVD-based navigation system uses a 7-inch screen. Two wireless headphones are included with the optional DVD Family Entertainment System.
Under the Hood
Nissan’s 5.6-liter Endurance V-8 engine produces 315 hp and 390 pounds-feet of torque and connects to a five-speed-automatic transmission that incorporates Tow/Haul modes. The QX56 may have rear-wheel drive or full-time all-wheel drive. Up to 50 percent of the engine’s available torque can be sent to the front wheels, and the all-wheel-drive system comes with a 4-Low range as well.
Side curtain-type airbags offer side-impact and rollover protection for occupants in all three rows of seats. Seat-mounted side-impact airbags and all-disc antilock brakes that incorporate electronic brake-force distribution and Brake Assist are standard. Vehicle Dynamic Control and a tire-pressure monitoring system are standard.