Fourth Place: Infiniti QX56 AWD
Not the finish we expected for the big QX going in. After all, against these rivals this new Infiniti has strengths impossible to ignore. With 315 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque, for instance, the Q's 32-valve, 5.6-liter V-8 towers like The Rock in a roomful of Hugh Grants. On the dragstrip, the Infiniti was in a class of one, its 6.8-second 0-to-60-mph time besting the next-quickest Range Rover by nearly two seconds. "Absolutely stunning powertrain," wrote Mark Williams, editor of sister publication Truck Trend. "Great engine and transmission," noted MT feature editor John Matthius of the rip-snorting V-8 and its standard five-speed automatic. And if you're into hauling trailers, this is your rig: the QX56 leads the group with a whopping 8900-pound tow rating.
The QX56 is also an excellent choice if your favorite adjective is "Brobdingnagian." This is a huge truck. At 123.2 inches, the Infiniti's wheelbase is more than four inches longer than the Navigator's and a full 11 inches longer than the LX 470's. The QX is also the longest and widest SUV of this bunch. With a pair of captain's chairs in the second row and a bench in back, the QX offers seating for seven (credit that long wheelbase for helping to provide a generous 42 inches of legroom in row two). Both back rows of seats fold flat for cargo-carrying; the front-passenger seat also folds in case the gear you've got to carry is for your kid's pole-vaulting team. The power rear liftgate opens and closes with a button on the key fob.
Another plus: Starting at $51,080, the QX56 AWD undercuts the base price of the next-highest Navigator by almost $6000. Even at that price, though, it's loaded with goodies. Standard equipment includes dual-zone climate control, a DVD navigation system with highly readable seven-inch color screen, Bose audio with six-disc in-dash CD changer, leather seats, and power-adjustable pedals. Our test vehicle also included a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, a power sunroof, and a Smart Vision package with nifty rearview backup monitor and not-so-nifty laser-guided automatic cruise-control system (which had an annoying tendency to spike the brakes whenever a truck rolled past in the next lane).