By Mike Tucker
When we see the President and all his men there is always a convoy of large black American SUVs; vehicles that speak nothing to the makeup of the men being inaugurated this month. If our President and Vice President had their choice of SUV, this writer believes their vote would be different. Their choice might match their personalities, even.
First Vice President, Joe Biden. No malarkey, his choice might be the Infiniti QX56. Biden has five grand children and seems to be young at heart. It is loaded with all the pleasures a kid could want. The QX56 is junk food on 22-inch alloy wheels. Let’s just call it candy.
Another need of the elder Biden is likely comfort. Laid back in luxury but feisty under the hood, the QX56 will win a debate or two on the road. A few smaller vehicles wanted to test me and I gave them a dismissive Biden smile and tapped the gas to wave goodbye. Kindness can be taken for a weakness until Uncle Joe puts you in your place.
The theater package with cabin surround sound brings the movie experience home. The 120-volt outlet allows you to plug in everything from a laptop to video games.
Though it looks like a behemoth, the ride never felt cumbersome or clumsy thanks to the strong V8 engine making it light on its feet. Also the parking assist with variable views including a 360 degree look making parallel parking a breeze and as Biden gets up there in age, this can only help.
Next up is President Obama and the Audi Q7. We’ll call it ice cream. Who doesn’t like ice cream? The cool factor makes up for any shortcomings and lack of options. Just as you have never seen an American President like Obama, you have never seen an SUV like the Audi Q7. One cannot deny either Obama or the Q7’s magnetism when they are on the scene. Obama’s demeanor doesn’t scream the word “President,” it nods and whispers the word “star.” Nothing about the Q7 makes one think SUV outside of size and height.
The seven-seater Q7 is sleek, and sexy. It is loaded with technology. Let’s start with the outstanding Bang & Olufsen sound system with tweeters that rise up from the dash. Also Audi’s internet-connected MMI interface with navigation, and WiFi hotspot capability for when the President needs to get some work done on the road. Most importantly, there is Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive for any road condition the Nation’s Capital throws his way.
The cockpit fits the driver like a leather glove. It’s spacious but not cavernous; passengers remain within earshot. Also the clean diesel turbocharged engine is much better on gas, a beast on the road and good to the environment, as the President will be on the road more than the VP.
The vehicle I tested was white, which helped the car stand out as the President of the United States should. The black leather interior protects from visible spills while keeping it classy because things can get a bit messy as the President.
My vote is to swear-in the Audi Q7 and the Infiniti QX56 as presidential SUVs; two high-priced and high-class vehicles most befitting of the leaders of the free world.
2012 Infiniti QX56 4WD
Price Tag: $61,800 base ($75,340 tested)
Power: 5.6L V8 400 horsepower
Transmission: 7-speed Automatic w/ Adaptive Shift Control, manual shift mode w/ Downshift Rev Matching
Drivetrain: Four Wheel drive
Fuel Economy (mpg): 14-city/20-hwy
2012 Audi Q7 TDI Quattro Tiptronic
Price Tag: $51,450 base ($76,925 tested)
Power: 3.0L TDI clean diesel Turbocharged V6 225 horsepower
Transmission: 8-speed Tiptronic w/ sport and maual shift modes
Drivetrain: Permanent All-Wheel Drive
Fuel Economy (mpg): 17-city/25-hwy