Interior

Interior  - 2011 Infiniti QX56 Review - Reviews - Infiniti QX

Nothing inside the QX gives the impression that underneath lies a trucklike chassis capable of towing 8,500 pounds. Rich materials fill the cabin, which is laid out with classiness befitting an Infiniti sedan. The steering wheel, dashboard and center console integrate burl wood trim that wouldn't look out of place if morphed into a living room coffee table.

Spending $70,000 is no guarantee of getting a luxurious-feeling SUV. The 2010 Audi Q7 we tested had off-putting plastic pieces and a cheap-looking steering wheel that made the SUV feel cheaper than its $76,000 price tag.

The QX has room for seven occupants with the standard captain's chairs, or eight with a Split Bench Seat Package for the second row, which is a no-cost option. The standard second-row captain's chairs feel nearly as comfortable as the driver's throne. Even after multiple trips in the second row, I never came to think of it as a demotion; it was more of a chauffeured experience.

What's inconvenient is getting in and out of the high-riding QX, which requires using the standard running boards. One of my shorter passengers had a tough time pulling herself into the passenger seat, literally having to pull herself in using the provided grab handle on the passenger-side A-pillar.

Except for the height obstacle, the three-passenger third row is one of the easiest to access in any SUV I've tested. With one effortless motion, the second row captain's chairs tumble forward and out of the way. Once seated, I had good headroom and legroom considering my 6-foot-tall, slender build — and the fact that it's a third-row space. It was considerably more comfortable than the Q7's tiny two-passenger third row.

Overall, the Q7 is very small on the inside for how big it is on the outside. Conversely, the QX56 feels just as big on the inside as its gargantuan exterior advertises, with 152 cubic feet of passenger volume; the Q7 has 133 cubic feet.

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