The R's earned their maiden victory on the road this season against a lacklustre Black Cats outfit, thanks to goals from midfielder Leroy Fer and veteran Bobby Zamora
Despite the absence of top-scorer Charlie Austin with a bruised foot, a fine first-half performance sent QPR well on their way to victory as their dismal run finally came to end in their first away match since Harry Redknapp's resignation.
Chris Ramsey and Kevin Bond continued their spell in temporary charge of Rangers and the away side started well, taking the lead through Leroy Fer after 17 minutes.
Sunderland almost equalised eight minutes before the break when Connor Wickham saw his header knocked onto the crossbar, but they were made to pay for that miss on the stroke of half-time when Bobby Zamora – Austin's deputy – netted in spectacular fashion following effective wing play by the impressive Matt Phillips.
Sunderland produced some improvement in the second half, but they failed to find a way past the excellent Robert Green.
Rangers made six changes from the side that lost 1-0 at home to Southampton on Saturday and appeared invigorated as they pushed forward in numbers early on.
It was the hosts who fashioned the first opportunity, though, as Patrick van Aanholt latched on to Anthony Reveillere's deep cross and smashed a volley well over.
Sunderland were made to regret that miss just two minutes later, as Fer met Phillips' exquisite cross with a powerful header to break the deadlock.
QPR went agonisingly close to doubling their advantage in the 31st minute, but Fer fired against the post from the edge of the area following a perfect cut-back by the lively Phillips.
Sunderland did eventually awaken as an attacking threat.
First, Jermain Defoe spurned a glorious chance as he knocked Jordi Gomez's teasing cross over from eight yards, before Wickham – starting in place of Danny Graham – saw his 37th-minute header palmed onto the crossbar by Green.
But QPR again capitalised on those let-offs when Zamora smashed Phillips' delivery into the top-right corner with an unstoppable half-volley from 18 yards, giving Sunderland a mountain to climb.
Gus Poyet introduced the tricky Ricky Alvarez at half-time and Sunderland started to enjoy a little more possession in the QPR half.
But they found themselves up against a goalkeeper in form, as Green first denied Defoe from point-blank range with 23 minutes to go, before then tipping an Alvarez effort around the post shortly afterwards.
Sunderland received the boost of seeing tormentor-in-chief Fer withdrawn due to injury 15 minutes from time and they put QPR under intense pressure during the final stages, with Alvarez proving a nuisance.
But the visitors did well to take the sting out of any late attacks as they held on to move out of the relegation zone.