2011 Infiniti QX56: Not high on the Chicago list

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Well, I've talked about the sheer size of the Infiniti QX56 and the bad fuel economy numbers, but what about the rest of the vehicle?

All-new for 2011, the QX56 has a larger than life curvaceous design that is both bold and elegant at the same time. The interior is is spacious and luxurious with nicely trimmed touch points and a whole lot of technology. The Around View Monitor may be my favorite feature on the QX56, but I also need to give a shout out to the navigation system that actually responds to voice commands.

I like the overall appearance but I have to admit the step-in height of almost 2 feet was a bit overwhelming for a petite female who often wears skirts. At least the running boards saved me from complete disgrace.

The height did have some advantages, however, when the snow hit. I could
see far ahead and didn't have to worry about getting out of my unplowed
alley. But clearing ice off the windshield was another un-pretty moment
in my life.

The 5.6-liter V-8 engine is a thing of beauty with 400 horses delivering
nice smooth power. Acceleration was instantaneous and awesome, and I
never had to worry about merging with traffic. But, in the fuel economy
arena, this beast of an engine didn't do me any favors. The ending MPGs
on the car rang in at 14.5 mpg.

I enjoyed my time in the QX56, and it was particularly useful when I had
to pick up a group of kids and take them from Saturday school to a new
be-active program in the West Town neighborhood that's co-created by the
Neighbor's Development Network and the Junior League of Chicago.

But is it Chicago worthy? Well, the short answer is no.

Chicago-worthy rating: 1. And I'm being generous with that single point.
This SUV is absolutely not an urban vehicle. The size, the fuel economy
... It just doesn't add up. Not to mention the fact that the test vehicle
had an as-tested price topping $70K. I'd be completely paranoid leaving
this thing anywhere in Chicago -- be it parking garage or street -- for
fear that it would get hit, dinged or broken into. The thing responsible
for that 1 point: the Around View Monitor. This one feature takes a
bull and allows it to maneuver through a China shop. And it's standard.

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