The QX56 is a full-featured luxury vehicle and it comes in a single very well-equipped trim, with the only major choice being between rear-wheel drive and 4-wheel drive. Both versions come with a strong 5.6L V8 engine, employing variable valve timing and lift, as well as direct injection and making 400 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque.
In either model, the V8 delivers very quick, confident performance, through a 7-speed automatic transmission that has Adaptive Shift Control as well as a manual shift mode with Downshift Rev Matching. The available 4-wheel drive system is one that's more road-oriented, with Auto, as well as 4H and 4L (high and low) ranges, and it can send up to 50 percent of power to the front wheels when needed for better traction on the road especially. Hill Start Assist, which helps preserve stability on slippery slopes, is included. All models have huge 4-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock and Brake Assist. Also along with electronic stability control there's a 4-wheel Active Brake Limited-Slip system.
The QX56 has a body-on-frame design, which makes it great for towing (up to 8,500 pounds), yet its independent double-wishbone suspension affords a better ride and more responsive handling than other large SUVs of its type. Some of the keys to its responsiveness and comfort include its Dual-Flow Path twin-tube shocks, engine speed-sensitive power steering and automatic leveling system. Add the Deluxe Touring Package and you get a special Hydraulic Body Motion Control system that uses cross-linked chambers to help reduce body lean in corners and improve comfort.
Three rows of seating allow comfortable seating for up to seven in the QX, and with the available 60/40-split folding bench in the second row capacity goes up to eight. All QX models include power heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, tri-zone automatic climate control, Intelligent Key, Bluetooth and Push Button Ignition and an available 8-inch wide-format touch screen and controller allow access to the available navigation system with NavTraffic, Real-Time Traffic Information, XM NavWeather and Zagat restaurant data.
A Moving Object Detection system (MOD) is also included, and this year it incorporates an Around View Monitor that uses four superwide-angle cameras and can display the view 360 degrees around. As part of the Technology Package, you can also get Intelligent Cruise Control, as well as Distance Control Assist, Intelligent Brake Assist, and Forward Collision Warning (FCW). A Lane Departure Prevention (LDP) is also on offer.
Entertainment is provided by an excellent Bose Premium Audio system with 13 speakers, a USB port, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, Bluetooth streaming audio, and an iPod interface, while the Deluxe Touring Package steps up to a 15-speaker Bose Cabin Surround system (in addition to big 22-inch wheels, Mocha Burl trim, and semi-aniline upholstery. A Theater Package brings two 7-inch screens for back-seat passengers, including two pairs of wireless headphones, a remote, a 120-volt power outlet and auxiliary inputs.
Moving Object Detection, an advanced active-safety feature, has been added to the QX56's standard Around View Monitor for 2013. Auto-dimming exterior mirrors have also been made standard and a new Smoky Quartz exterior hue joins the color palette.
Otherwise, the Theater Package gets a new interface with upgraded remote control.