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2012 Infiniti QX56 Luxury Party of Eight>

If you’re going out for a nice dinner, “party of eight” sounds like quite a crowd. But if you happen to be driving the luxurious, 2012 Infiniti QX56 SUV, you can seat your party of eight — with no reservation required. The editorial team at HerHighway found this big, bold and beautiful utility vehicle to be a good fit for growing families…or anyone who needs to tow big toys — like boats, RVs and motorcycle trailers.

With a 5.6-liter V8 that delivers 400 horses and 413 pound-feet of torque, the handsome QX56 is capable of towing up to 8500 lbs. A seven speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive is standard, but the adventurous types can upgrade to a 4-wheel drive set up with low-range gearing. With no trailers in tow, the QX56 can leap from a dead stop to 60 mph in a swift 6.8 seconds — not bad for such a husky hunk of automotive engineering.  It also turns in decent fuel economy for a large SUV, with EPA estimates of 20 MPG on the highway and 14 MPG in city driving.

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Regardless of how rugged conditions might get outside, the comfortable interior and the smooth ride of the Infiniti QX56 is likely to keep all whining and complaining to a hush.  The cabin is quiet, too. We thought the first and second row leather captain’s chairs were super-supportive and cozy, but the legroom in the third row might be a bit tight for full-sized teens and adults on long trips. Electronic goodies and gadgets are abundant in this full sized SUV. Standard features include Bluetooth phone connectivity with streaming audio, voice-activated navigation with real-time traffic, a 13-speaker Bose sound system, satellite radio, plus an auxiliary audio jack and USB/iPod interface. Our tester was also equipped with a Blind Spot Intervention System (a component in the optional Technology Package) that sounds an alert if the QX56 begins to drift out of its lane. The system gently guides the vehicle back between the lines if the driver doesn’t make the necessary lane correction.

The 2012 QX56 comes with a great list of standard features. We’ll just point to our favorites here: power sunroof, 20-inch alloy wheels, power lift gate, leather upholstery with heated driver and passenger seats, a 360-degree parking camera, power tilt-and-telescoping heated steering wheel, automatic tri-zone climate control. Optional features are abundant, too!  Dinner and a movie, anyone?  The Theater package delivers a rear-seat dual-screen video system, heated second row seats, plus a 120-volt power outlet for plugging in laptops or other small appliances.

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As you might expect from a full-sized, luxury SUV, the QX56 can be configured for massive cargo hauling — to the tune of 95 cubic feet (with rear seats folded down) to transport your antiques, designer shoes and apparel, camping gear, sports equipment, or all of the above. The female automotive experts from HerHighway had an enjoyable “party of three” afternoon test-piloting the 2012 QX56.  Before you take your test spin, click here to explore all the options, colors, safety features and pricing for the Infiniti QX56.

Written by: HerHighway Staff Contributor and Editor Christina Selter