For 2006, Infiniti’s massive QX56 SUV undergoes only changes to its mirrors: they’ve got power fold and integrated turn signals, plus heat and power adjustment. Now in its third model year, the QX56’s base price drops $1,600 over 2005’s tag.

Named for its 5.6-litre V8 engine, the QX56 is based on the Nissan Armada, which is itself a variant of the Nissan Titan pickup truck. Like the Cadillac Escalade and Lincoln Navigator, it’s an upscale version of a less expensive model, although the QX56’s engine makes ten more horsepower than the Armada’s 5.6-litre V8. The QX56’s four-wheel-drive uses a part-time transfer case with low gear, with settings for rear-wheel-drive, 4-high and 4-low. Its three rows of seats can be ordered in seven- or eight-passenger configurations, for the same base price.

The QX56 comes in a single trim line and includes a five-speed automatic transmission with tow/haul mode, heavy-duty skid plates, rear auto-levelling air suspension, 18-inch seven-spoke chromed alloy wheels, tire pressure monitoring system, intelligent cruise control, Xenon headlights, fog lamps, LED tail and brake lights, power-operated liftgate with opening rear glass, rear proximity sensor, integrated tow package, privacy glass, power flip-out rear quarter windows, leather interior, real wood trim, ten-way driver and eight-way power passenger heated seats, second-row heated seats, automatic dual-zone climate control, navigation system with seven-inch LCD screen, and six-CD Bose system with ten speakers and wheel-mounted controls.

Loaded with more luxury features than some of the penthouse suites it could undoubtedly tow around, the QX56 is a huge, unmistakable presence on the road. It’s also thirsty, demands premium fuel, it’s bigger than many downtown parking spots, and it’s not particularly handsome, which is a nice way of putting it.

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