2011 Infiniti QX

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Infiniti has stepped away from Nissan's shadow with the all-new QX56. No longer can the QX be called a rebadged Nissan. It has been reincarnated as a true luxury vehicle with a myriad of standard features and a host of optional equipment to tempt the buyer.

The first generation QX, introduced in 2004, was based on the Nissan Armada truck. Nissan has decided to terminate the slow-selling Armada and allow Infiniti to create an-all new luxury SUV capable of hauling eight people and pulling 8,500 pounds of stuff.

The revised 5.6-liter V-8 engine, mated to a seven-speed automatic, boosts 14 percent better fuel economy while delivering 400 horses, up 80 over the 2010 model. The big V-8 has ample power to more than adequately move the big truck in all driving situations.

We discovered on winding and dipping rural Kentucky horse country roads that Infiniti's new optional active suspension truly helps the big Q smooth out the ride while keeping the truck flat during hard cornering. Its effectiveness was vividly pointed out when we drove the same route with standard suspension.

While the new QX styling may be polarizing, we liked the accentuated curving lines — a giant step forward from the convoluted current styling — and we particularly liked the Infiniti trademark bulging fender, rounded hood look from the driver's seat.

The QX is loaded with standard equipment across the lineup including: 20-inch aluminum-alloy wheels (22 inchers are optional); Bose premium audio; automatic temperature control; hard drive navigation; power folding and reclining third-row seats; leather seating; and power tailgate.

Prices start at $56,700 for the two-wheel drive and $59,800 for four wheel drive. The QX, built in Japan, will go on sale this summer.

— Jim Meachen