Garish, or just livin' large? You make the call with the QX56. But there's no denying the space (seats up to eight) or functionality (tows up to 8500 lb.) of this massive, somewhat porcine vehicle. Power is provided by a direct-injected 5.6-liter 400-bhp V-8 mated to a 7-speed automatic, and a choice of 2wd or 4wd. But that's one of few choices you'll make, as there's just one lavishly appointed trim level, with a navigation system and 13-speaker Bose audio. We'd opt for the dual-monitor Theater Package to keep the kids entertained, which features an upgraded remote control and interface for 2013. Also, Moving Object Detection is added to the standard Around View Monitor and auto-dimming exterior mirrors are standard.
So you’ve got a large family. Does that mean that you should have to sacrifice luxury for an 8-passenger van? Infiniti doesn’t think so, and it’s betting you won’t, either—which is why it invested in an all-new QX56 just last year. Understandably, the big Q is mostly carryover for 2012, the only changes being the addition of features to the available Technology, Deluxe Touring and Theater Packages. Available in 2- or 4-wheel drive, the QX only comes in one well-equipped trim level, then lets you customize it from there with a long list of available equipment. Standard features include leather-trimmed, heated front seats; 13-speaker Bose audio system; Tri-Zone automatic temperature control; Bluetooth hands-free phone system and navigation.
When it comes to the driver’s car of large, luxury sedans, look no further than BMW’s 7 Series. For 2011, there are more models than ever. Besides the twin-turbo V-8-powered 750i, 750Li, 750i xDrive, 750Li xDrive and range-topping twin-turbo V-12 760Li, BMW has added base 740i and 740Li models, which utilize a twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline-6 with 315 bhp mated to a 6-speed automatic (pricing starts at $71,025). The ActiveHybrid 7, which pairs a twin-turbo V-8 with a 3-phase synchronous electric motor, garners an EPA-rated 17/26 mpg but carries a $103,175 price tag. Saving the best for last, the new Alpina B7 offers factory covered-under-warranty tuning to deliver more power (500 bhp and 516 lb.-ft. of torque from a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8) and better handling.
Jeep's Grand Cherokee is that rare SUV that is as capable off-road as it is comfortable around town. Already a pretty luxurious vehicle, the Overland Summit model gets more standard equipment for 2013, including Front Park Assist, power folding outside mirrors and headlight washers. New this year is the Trailhawk, which comes with Kevlar-reinforced tires, rock rails, Quadra-Lift air suspension and other trail-worthy goodies. The base engine remains the 3.6-liter 290-bhp V-6 with 5-speed automatic. The 5.7-liter 360-bhp ohv V-8 with 6-speed automatic is optional. Team those engines with one of three 4x4 systems offered. Want more? The brawny SRT8 with 6.4-liter 470-bhp V-8 awaits, this year with Alpine White and black "Vapor" special editions.
The C-Max Hybrid uses Ford's powersplit technology to significantly improve fuel economy over similarly sized vehicles using conventional powertrains.
The C-Max Hybrid is available in two trims; SE and SEL. It uses a 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder gas engine combined with a lithium-ion battery-driven electric motor. This powersplit architecture has the flexibility to power the wheels with the electric motor and gas engine together, or separately. Standard features include seating for five, cloth seat trim, dual-zone automatic climate control, dual sliding side doors, 17-inch alloy wheels. The SEL trim adds a power driver seat, fog lamps, heated front seats, leather seating, Homelink, auto-dimming interior mirror, push button start and more. Available features include a hands-free power liftgate, panoramic sunroof, active park assist, navigation system and upgraded audio.