Past its expiration date: Infiniti QX80 evaluate

Enlarge / The Infiniti QX80 on a chilly winter day.

Eric Bangeman

As the previous saying goes: you by no means get a second probability to make a primary impression. When I climbed into the Infiniti QX80 for the primary time, one of many first issues I noticed was a monochromatic LCD show smack-dab in the course of the instrument panel. I regarded on the Monroney sticker sitting on the passenger seat and noticed a price ticket north of $90,000. The juxtaposition of a show that might take a look at residence within the decade-old vehicles in my storage with the luxurious inside trim left me with the impression that Infiniti made some odd decisions with the QX80—an impression that I by no means managed to shake in my week with the car.

The QX80 is the flagship of Infiniti’s SUV lineup. It’s a real full-size, three-row SUV, competing with the Mercedes GLS, Lexus LX, and Lincoln Navigator for the hearts and wallets of huge households and people who desire a large, spacious car to software round in. The QX80 underwent an overhaul for the 2018 mannequin 12 months, getting an exterior redesign that elongated the physique and made it seem longer. For 2019, Infiniti added a Limited mannequin with darkish, machine-finished 22-inch wheels.

Pricing for the QX80 begins at $65,100 for a rear-wheel-drive mannequin; if you would like all-wheel drive, you will must fork out one other $3,000. Our evaluate mannequin was the QX80 Limited, which comes with all of the fixin’s—theater bundle, driver-assist, the aforementioned 22-inch wheels, and extra—and a price ticket of $91,450. This costly beast is powered by a 5.6-liter V8 able to 400hp (298kW) at 5,800rpm and 413lb-ft (560Nm) of torque at 4,000rpm. That’s paired with a seven-speed automated transmission, which I want to the repeatedly variable transmission within the QX50 and QX60. If you’ll want to drive your QX80 over some nasty terrain, it has a crawl ration of in 4WD excessive and a couple of.7 in 4WD low.

The impression of an Armada

From a distance, the QX80 may simply be mistaken for a Nissan Armada with a $25,000 cheaper price ticket. That’s no shock—the vehicles share the identical platform and profile. The most evident variations are the angle of the entrance grille, the badge within the center, and the form of the chrome-trimmed vent on the entrance quarter panel. The QX80 will not be as heavy on the Infiniti design language as its smaller compatriots. There are fewer curves, and the profile is taller and extra angular.

With a 121.1-inch (3,073mm) wheelbase and dimensions of 210.2in × 79.9in × 75.8in (5,334mm × 2,032mm × 1,925mm), the inside of the QX80 is spacious and has all the high-end touches you’ll count on from a automotive with a price ticket north of 90 grand. There’s a great deal of gentle gray wooden trim, black Ultrasuede headliners, and embossing on the first- and second-row seats. Second-row passengers will love the expanse of legroom, heated seats, their very own local weather controls, USB ports, and shows mounted into the headrests of the entrance seat (with the theater bundle). Third-row passengers? They’ll be upset except they’re brief. While getting again there’s simple, because of quick-release buttons on the dashboard, the seat is positioned nearer to the ground than the others, leaving passengers feeling unnecessarily cramped.

While the automotive appears luxurious on the within, it additionally feels dated, and Infiniti has made some puzzling design decisions. First and foremost is a monochromatic LED show between the analog dials. That simply feels fallacious in any 2019 car, not to mention one which begins at $65,000. Aside from the appears, the usage of a monochromatic show includes some UX tradeoffs. Want to verify your gasoline financial system and even your compass heading? You’ll want to achieve over to the touchscreen infotainment show—with Infiniti’s dated-looking UI—and navigate by means of a few screens to search out the data.

The heart console and dashboard nonetheless really feel cluttered, though not as a lot because the QX60 and its 60 buttons. Infiniti’s insistence on a single touchscreen and devoted controls for a lot of features means you will must do some searching and reaching if you’re behind the wheel. Down by the correct knee are the liftgate, steering-wheel warmth, and audible-warning controls. The temperature controls for the seats are to this point down that you may solely inform at a look in the event that they’re on at night time or on a darkly overcast day. And there is a pretty analog clock within the heart of the dashboard… proper about stomach button stage. Altogether, the set-up is off-putting.

Lumbering down the highway in consolation

On the streets, the QX80 supplies fairly a snug trip. Step on the working board and pull your self into the motive force’s seat and also you’re rewarded with a commanding view of the freeway, compromised solely by a pretty big C pillar. The trip is quiet, and the absolutely unbiased double-wishbone suspension successfully insulates passengers from tough stretches of pavement. The 5.6L V8 does a effective job of shifting this almost 6,000lb (2,721kg) SUV round. It’s quick sufficient if you’ll want to speed up to make a sudden lane change, however it is a SUV constructed for consolation, not for pace.

The AWD model makes use of Infiniti’s Hydraulic Body Motion Control as an alternative of the entrance stabilizer bar discovered within the RWD model, and it does a good job of restricted physique roll in tight curves. That stated, it is nonetheless a three-ton SUV and needs to be pushed accordingly. While most QX80s will persist with suburban streets and the freeway, it has the flexibility to go off-road should you want it, with 9.2 inches (23.4cm) of floor clearance and 4WD excessive and 4WD low drive modes. The QX80 additionally has a snow mode (which I appreciated throughout this frigid Chicago winter), hill-start help, and tow mode for a great deal of as much as 8,500lb (3,855kg).

Fuel financial system is about what one would count on from a full-size SUV with a V8: 15mpg (13mpg metropolis, 19mpg freeway). I obtained 13.4mpg in per week of blended winter driving.

Although the QX80 was refreshed for the 2018 mannequin 12 months, it’s lacking ProPILOT help, which is discovered within the QX50 and actually does a pleasant job retaining you focused in your lane and following the contours of the highway. Instead, the QX80 has the lesser ProActive bundle, which can chime at you if you drift out of your lane. The blind-spot warning lights are literally on the backside of the A pillar as an alternative of within the facet mirrors, which lessens its utility. On the plus facet, the QX80 has a 360° digicam view that may be shifted from digicam to digicam through the infotainment show, very helpful for maneuvering this large SUV into tight quarters.

After spending a number of weeks behind the wheel of assorted Infiniti SUVs, I perceive their attraction to a sure section of the car-buying public. They provide quiet, snug, and sedate rides—and they’re typically a number of thousand {dollars} lower than a BMW, Volvo, or Audi. But Infinitis—and particularly the QX80—really feel technologically backwards. ProPILOT help works very properly, however it’s solely out there within the QX50. The infotainment system feels dated, and the sheer variety of buttons and knobs that generally work together with the infotainment system makes for a steep studying curve. For the QX80, my lasting impression is not a lot completely different from my first one—it is a expensive, full-size SUV that falls brief in some necessary methods.

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