Surprisingly, even in our miserable economy and in this era of amplified “green” alarms, people continue to purchase full-size luxury SUVs. Though full-size luxury SUV sales rose to nearly 300,000 units in 2006, the marketplace has slumped into a 100,000-unit tempo in the United States. Infiniti expects this trend to persist for the lifespan of its all-new, second-generation QX56 that will be in showrooms in July.

Infiniti was never a big competitor in this class, but the departing, first-generation QX56 presented Nissan‘s luxury division with solid retailing until the conclusion of its lifespan. Logically, Infiniti believes the innovative QX56 will carry on that success, particularly because its consumers embody the chief demographic faction of Infiniti vehicles. That means this group of people has the money to buy a $70K luxury SUV, and they can afford to fill it with gasoline.

The QX56’s main competitors in the full-size luxury SUV market are the Lexus LX570, the Mercedes-Benz GL450 and the Cadillac Escalade. Contrasting the departing Infiniti QX56, which was assembled on the identical platform as the Nissan Titan pickup and the Nissan Armada, the 2011 Infiniti QX56 is based on the Nissan Patrol that’s sold in the Middle East and other markets, but not the United States. In the vein of the LX570 and the Escalade, the Infiniti is a conventional body-on-frame SUV, while the Mercedes GL is assembled on a uni-body chassis.

The Infiniti QX56’s front styling is definitely daring if not attractive, and it’s identifiable as a contemporary Infiniti vehicle. Infiniti designers promote its wave-like hood, its double-arch grille and its LED taillights as explicit brand distinctiveness. The sweeping silhouette we’ve come to anticipate from new Infiniti vehicles persist in its interior and on the body sides.

The interior of 2011 Infiniti QX56 is saturated in the nature of supple, cautiously wrapped leather, lustrous wood trim and precisely cast plastics that you might find in an executive jet. It’s absolutely luxurious.