2011 Infiniti QX56: 30,000-Mile Update
It’s a house on wheels, and that’s perfectly fine since my mom practically lives in it.
In just over nine months, her brand new QX56 has traveled 30,000 miles. By September, her one-year ownership anniversary, she is likely to accumulate 40,000. That’s 3-4 years of driving for the average motorist compressed into 12 months.
Since the fall of last year, the interior has become cluttered with boxes, receipts, mail, water bottles, snacks, DVDs, and whatever else a mom with small children is inclined to collect. It has become, effectively, a mobile office and summer day care.
I reported back in February 2012 that it was flawless, though a bit of a chore to park in the garage. One minor defect has emerged, which is the fuel filler door’s occasional reluctance to open. Mom drove over one afternoon, knocked on my door, and asked me to take a look at the problem. With 80 miles remaining on the fuel range display and 20 minutes until their service department closed, I decided to drive it to Bommarito Infiniti.
By the time I arrived at the dealer (with just two minutes to spare), the fuel door had worked itself open. The service advisor explained to me that to work the lock plunger loose, you cycle the lock/unlock button once or twice. Apparently the plastic fuel door lock plunger can get partially stuck on days with very hot or very cold temperatures. He advised me to not use WD-40 or any lubricants because they could cause the plunger freeze in the winter. Hopefully it doesn’t get any worse.
There was also a recall for the fuel pressure sensor. It was a simple enough repair; the dealer tightened it to spec.
A week earlier, I got a chance to sample Infiniti’s Roadside Service. Mom drove over a nail somewhere in the city and after a while she noticed a tire pressure warning. She ignored it and kept going until other drivers waved her down.
She made it home anyway and parked in the driveway. I couldn’t find the paperwork with the roadside assistance phone number and was surprised that it wasn’t clearly marked on a window sticker or stored in the onboard computer. I gave up and did a Google search on my phone and found it.
Infiniti’s roadside service advisor was courteous and pleasant as I confirmed the VIN, the registered owner, and the address. Within the hour, a service truck arrived and the matching full size spare was installed.
A new OEM Bridgestone tire, unfortunately, cost about $350 to replace. Plaza Infiniti (which is only two miles away from her house) said they would call when the tire arrived, which will take two weeks.
Over the last few days I’ve been driving it quite a bit, running errands for Mom while my Saab was in the shop. It’s a remarkable experience to be able to perch high on a throne while enjoying braking, acceleration, and handling nearly on par with an Infiniti Q45 or Lexus LS430. There’s a sense of control and agility you would never expect from something so mammoth. You could even call it fun to drive.
Additionally, the QX’s technology continues to function smoothly, though being on the receiving end of a Bluetooth phone call is a bit of a nuisance. When my 8 and 9 year old siblings are in the back seat chattering away, it’s difficult to hear her speak, finding myself saying “WHAT? SAY THAT AGAIN? HUH?” two or three times until I understand. The microphone seems to give equal priority to all passengers. Otherwise, calls are competently clear if lacking a bit in dynamic range — it sometimes sounds like she’s speaking through a cardboard toilet paper tube.
Some reviewers have inexplicably described the 13-speaker Bose sound system as “kickass” and “rockin’.” Inarguably, it produces thunderous bass and has enough power to turn the cabin into a night club, but mids are bland and muddy while treble is tepid at best. A luxury sound system ought to be refined and precise, and the QX’s Bose setup is less like a surgical instrument and more like a rubber mallet. In an increasingly competitive luxury market where Audi offers ultra-premium Bang and Olufsen audio and Porsche offers Burmester, Infiniti’s Bose system is comparatively mass-market and mundane.
Perhaps the Bose system was a compromise that had to be made to reach the QX’s competitive price point. Fortunately, none of those compromises were in the upholstery or furnishings. By far, the second-generation QX56 has the most tightly assembled and decadently adorned interior in its class.
For its next generation, the QX would benefit tremendously from improved styling. It remains as offensively ugly to the eyes now as it was from day one, but as a luxury vehicle to live with and live in, it is a pleasure.
1 Tire – $350
Two Oil Changes, Tire Rotations – Covered by prepaid service plan.
Fuel Pressure Sensor Recall – Free
Average Fuel Economy: