The Infiniti QX80 is a three-row luxury SUV that combines modern-day luxuries with old-school power and towing capability. A decade since its debut as the QX56, the current QX80 is starting to show its age, especially on the inside, where an underwhelming interior and dated design sees it fall behind more contemporary rivals such as the Cadillac Escalade or Lincoln Navigator. It still feels relatively on par with the Lexus LX 570, and at a much lower price point, which should appeal to buyers who crave a Japanese luxury vehicle.
Under the hood of the QX80 lies a naturally-aspirated 5.6-liter V8 that produces 400 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque; adequate but not class-leading numbers. Power is sent to either the rear or all four wheels, and with decent breakover/approach/departure angles, the QX80 can be taken off-road if one pleases. While it remains a luxurious large SUV with a reasonable price tag, a week driving the 2021 QX80 Premium Select proves it has fallen behind the pack.
Infiniti's QX80 SUV gets minor interior and exterior features changes for 2021, as well as a trim reshuffling. The new Sensory trim sits at the top of the pile and features luxury appointments such as quilted semi-aniline leather-appointed seats, a new graphite tricot headliner, and Charcoal Burl trim. This model is distinguished by 22-inch forged alloy wheels and chrome mirror caps. The new Premium Select trim incorporates features seen on the limited-run 2020 QX80 'Edition 30' and includes black highlights on the grille, fender vents, and mirror caps, amongst others. All trim levels now feature Infiniti's second-generation smart rearview mirror system and a slew of safety features.
See trim levels and configurations:
This is one handsome brute that won't get ignored on the road. Infiniti last facelifted the QX80 in the 2018 model year, and its big dimensions and imposing front end makes this SUV recognizable from a mile away. Standard exterior features across the board include auto on/off LED headlights, a power-sliding moonroof, a power rear liftgate, and rain-sensing window wipers. The Premium Select adds special exterior appearance features such as black mirror caps and dark chrome exterior elements. The Sensory adds an adaptive front lighting system with auto-leveling headlights. 20-inch alloy wheels are equipped to the base trim, while the top two trims have massive 22-inch wheels.
Whichever way you look at it, the QX80 is one big vehicle, and its technical dimensions don't lie. The QX80 rolls on a 121.1-inch wheelbase and is a considerable 210.2 inches long. The overall width is 79.9 inches, and the maximum height is 75.8 inches, including the roof rails. Ground clearance is a decent 9.2 inches. As a capable off-roader, it is important to mention its 20.9-degree approach angle, 22.3-degree departure angle, and ramp angle of 20.7 degrees. The base model weighs in at 5,678 pounds; the Premium Select weighs 5,706 lbs, and the Sensory tips the scales at 5,813 lbs.
There's no way to hide the sheer size of the QX80 SUV, but Infiniti has done its best to make this hulking SUV look more classy with a selection of eight mature color options that reflect the vehicle's standing. The four no-cost options on offer are Liquid Platinum, Black Obsidian, Graphite Shadow, and Hermosa Blue. The remaining colors will set new owners back $695 each and are Champagne Quartz, Moonstone White, Mineral Black, and finally, Coulis Red. The QX80 has a VIP feel to it, so we would suggest going with Black Obsidian or Liquid Platinum.
Infiniti has never sold the QX80 as a high-performance SUV on par with the likes of the Porsche Cayenne, but it still manages to perform well in its own reserved way, and you'll barely notice the V8 under the hood unless you give it some serious gas. The 5.6-liter V8 in the QX80 delivers 400 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque and proves to be enough to motivate this colossus around town, despite a curb weight nearing the 6,000-pound mark. Put your foot down, and the QX80 will do the 0 to 60 sprint in a touch over seven seconds, which is slower than its rivals. Keep your foot in it, and you should be able to reach a top speed of close to the 115-mph mark. This translates into an SUV that can comfortably sit with traffic, but takes some coercion to get there quickly. The power on offer from this big lump is equal to the Nissan Armada, which shares the same engine. With all of that torque on tap, the QX80 can tow an impressive 8,500 pounds, meaning it can handily out-pull the Cadillac Escalade.
It takes some serious motivation to get a lumbering 6,000-pound SUV moving, but throw enough capacity and cylinders at the problem, and you'll soon find yourself cruising in the fast lane. Infiniti took this approach when planning the powertrain for the QX80. The naturally-aspirated 5.6-liter aluminum-alloy V8 engine is an old-school unit, with modern touches like variable valve control. This eight-cylinder brute produces an understressed 400 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque. Being a naturally-aspirated motor means that peak torque only arrives at a relatively high 4,000 rpm. Still, out in the real world, the QX80 offers strong torque across the rev range and revs cleanly to its 6,000 rpm limit.
With no turbo-lag issues, the QX80 feels spritely, and there's decent throttle response from the word go. In traffic, the QX80 will happily move in and out of gaps, and on the highway, the miles fly by with ease: this is an adept cruising machine. Power is sent to the rear or all four wheels via an electronically-controlled 7-speed automatic with adaptive shift control. This transmission has been around for a while, and lacks the smoothness and quicker shifts found in Nissan's newer nine-speed box.
With bones dating back to 2010, it should come as no surprise that the QX80 doesn't drive like a brand-new vehicle. There is a raw, truck-like impression behind the wheel of the QX80, which may appeal to old-fashioned shoppers while turning away drivers who prefer car-like handling. This SUV feels its size, with heavy steering that feels vague when turning. Road-holding is not the QX80's strong suit, though the ride is surprisingly supple thanks to available hydraulically-controlled suspension. If you are looking for a more dynamic family hauler, check out the BMW X7 or Mercedes-Benz GLS.
The QX80 excels at removing occupants from outside road noises and bumps. Low-speed road imperfections barely disturb the QX80, and at higher speeds, the vehicle is stable enough to handle rough highways. Though it lacks some of the newer suspension technology found in rivals like the Cadillac Escalade, the QX80 doesn't suffer too greatly in terms of comfort.
This is possibly one of the QX80's greatest downfalls, but it is expected, coming from such a large SUV. With close to 6,000 pounds of body weight and an engine that wouldn't be considered economical back in the 1960s, the Infiniti QX80 likes to drink gas at an unsustainable rate. The EPA rates that the RWD versions will suck down 14/20/16 mpg city/highway/combined while switching to an AWD configuration dumps those numbers to 13/19/15 mpg. Our week of testing yielded 13 mpg. Fully loaded with kids and stuff, this car will struggle to meet those figures. InfinitI compensates for this by fitting a 26-gallon fuel tank, which should see the QX80 get up to 416 miles per fillup in RWD guise.
There's no hiding the fact that the Infiniti QX80 is getting on in years, and one of the most telling signs of this is its interior design. Step inside the cabin, and you'll be greeted by an interior that screams 2011. The space is comfortable and spacious enough for most adults, but the button- and switch-heavy layout feels cluttered, bordering on overwhelming. German competitors do it much better. At least visibility is excellent, thanks to an elevated driving position and lack of any significant blind-spots. Standard interior features across the board include push-button start, tri-zone automatic climate control, ambient interior lighting, a 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat with two-way lumbar support, and heated front seats.
The Interior might seem dated when compared to rivals such as the Cadillac Escalade, but one thing the QX80 excels at is interior space. Infiniti says that the QX80 will carry up to eight, and it does so with relative ease. Seven average-sized adults will have no problem getting in and out of the QX80. Those in the front get cushy bucket seats that are awesomely comfortable, especially on the open road, and feature ten-way power-adjustability for the driver and eight-way adjustability for the front passenger. The headroom is excellent across the board, and the legroom in the first two rows are exceptional. Legroom in the third row is naturally limited thanks to a raised floor, but will suit smaller adults and kids. Those third-row seats are power-adjustable, though the mechanism is slow compared to rivals. The second row gets your choice of captain's chairs or a traditional bench seat, in which case eight occupants can be accommodated. Those second row seats offer tilt and heating, but sliding and ventilation are absent here.
To prove that the QX80 is a real luxury SUV, Infiniti offers a wide range of interior colors and materials ranging from premium to pure luxurious. All models feature leather seating. The base model is offered with graphite leather-appointed seating and Charcoal Burl trim, or Wheat leather and Charcoal Burl if you opt for the Hermosa Blue exterior paint color. The Premium Select is offered with Sahara Stone leather seating with Matte Mocha Burl trim, Truffle Brown leather seating, or Graphite leather seats. The top-spec Sensory comes standard with your choice of quilted Wheat semi-aniline leather seats and Charcoal Burl trim; other upholstery colors include Saddle Brown and Graphite. The rest of the interior features a leather-wrapped steering wheel and aluminum kick plates, while the Sensory receives a headliner, sun visors, pillars, and sun shades finished in Graphite. Wood trim adorns the dash, but it's not the real stuff.
Not only does the Infiniti QX80 comfortably seat seven or eight adults, but it will also swallow any cargo you throw at it. Behind the third row, the QX80 offers 16.6 cubic feet of space. That is more than you get in some medium-sized family sedans, but the Cadillac Escalade makes that number seem minuscule with its 25.5 cubic feet of space. Fold-down the power 60/40-split-fold third-row seats, and you now get 49.6 cubes of space. That should be enough space to fit one and a half Borzoi dogs. You get a massive 95.1 cubic feet of space behind the first row, which is dwarfed by the Escalade's 121 cubic feet. There's a ton of small-item storage on offer, though. Occupants can store their stuff in the front glove compartment, front seatback map pockets, four door pockets, the front center console bin, overhead sunglasses storage, and four cup holders shared between the front and rear of the car. The QX80 also offers storage space for 10 water bottles.
The QX80 is a heavy hitter in the features department. From the base model upward, the QX80 features a ton of standard features that makes it worth the asking price. All models come standard with features such as an Infiniti Intelligent Key with push-button start, three-zone automatic climate control, ambient interior lighting, a power 10-way driver's seat, an eight-way power front passenger seat, heated front seats, a surround-view camera system, and cruise control. Driver assistance features such as intelligent cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, forward collision warning, rear parking sensors, forward emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and lane departure warning. The range-topping Sensory adds auto recirculation climate control, quilted semi-aniline leather seats, a hydraulic body motion control system, and climate-controlled front seats.
As with the rest of the vehicle, the infotainment system in the QX80 is showing its age. There are a myriad of buttons and switches on the dashboard, but the key controls live on the dual touchscreen displays mounted in the center of the dashboard. An eight-inch upper screen shows the map and seven-inch lower display handles everything else. Even combined, options like the Escalade have more screen real estate. The Sensory trim gets dual eight-inch monitors for multimedia video playback. This system is easy enough for most to understand and should not take longer than a day or two to get fully acquainted with. Features include navigation with lane guidance, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto integration, voice recognition, SiriusXM Traffic/Travel Link, TomTom Weather, and Bluetooth streaming. A 13-speaker Bose sound system is standard on Luxe and Premium Select models, and the Sensory gets a Bose 17-speaker system. The Sensory also boasts two sets of wireless headphones and an HDMI port.
If you're looking for a reliable and luxurious three-row SUV, then the Infiniti QX80 should be on your list. In the past two years, the QX80 has not been recalled once, but J.D. Power has ranked the 2019 model under competitors such as the Mercedes-Benz GLS with a reliability rating of 77/100. Infiniti will cover the QX80 with a four-year/60,000-mile basic warranty, a seven-year corrosion protection plan, a six-year/70,000-mile powertrain warranty, and four years of roadside protection.
Smaller cars, walls, cyclists, and pedestrians stand no chance. The QX80 is a massive car and will plow through most obstacles without its occupants taking much notice. The NHTSA's review of the Infiniti QX80 in 2020 returned a safety rating of four out of five stars, although there were some surprisingly disappointing individual results, such as a two-star rating for the front driver side crash test. An IIHS review for the 2021 Infiniti QX80 is still outstanding.
If the sheer size of the QX80 isn't enough to prevent injury, Infiniti has packed its full-sized luxury SUV with most of the modern safety systems and equipment you'd come to expect. Traditional safety equipment includes a six-airbag system with roof-mounted curtain side-impact airbags, trailer sway control, and brake assist. Active driver assistance systems on board include blind-spot monitoring, a rear collision intervention system, intelligent cruise control, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and forward emergency braking with pedestrian detection. A surround-view monitor is standard.
As is the case with most vehicles that stick around for a decade without a significant overhaul, the 2021 Infiniti QX80 is a tough sell in a competitive market. Options like the Cadillac Escalade and Lincoln Navigator outshine it in nearly every category except value. The American competitors start for around $7,000 and can easily crest the $100,000 mark. There are some pricey European options as well, though they are all much smaller than the QX80. If a shopper specifically craves a massive Japanese luxury SUV, we'd be inclined to recommend the QX80 over the pricey (and equally dated) Lexus LX 570.
As long as the full-size SUV remains a popular form of transport, the Infiniti QX80 will stay somewhat relevant. The exterior will divide opinions, but a big part of the QX80's appeal lies in its suave yet brutish form. Under the hood, the big 5.6-liter V8 keeps things moving and offers competitive towing capability. This mass of steel floats its occupants on a cloud of luxury but feels disconnected to drive and won't bring many thrills. Thankfully, it is still somewhat capable off-road in AWD guise. Inside, the interior is starting to show its age, but most modern features are included, which should future-proof this car for a short while longer. At the price, we could see it as a viable option but the Nissan Armada offers the same features at an even lower cost.
Infiniti is a brand aimed at the higher end of the car-buying market, and its vehicle prices reflect that, so it should come as no surprise that its headlining SUV costs a pretty penny. Infiniti QX80 prices vary from trim to trim, and a new QX80 starts with an MSRP of $69,050, excluding tax, registration, and a destination fee of $1,395. The AWD version of the base model costs $72,150. The mid-range Premium Select will set you back $73,350, climbing to $76,450 for the AWD version, and the top-spec Sensory is $80,200 in RWD configuration, rising to $83,300 for the AWD variant. Fully kitted, the Sensory comes in at over $90,000.
There are three trim levels to choose from, with all three available in either RWD or AWD form. The range starts with the Luxe model, which shares its 5.6-liter, 400-hp V8 engine and seven-speed automatic transmission with the rest of the range. Standard features on the Luxe include push-button start, ambient interior lighting, three-zone automatic climate control, a 10-way power driver's seat, and an eight-way power front seat. The driver is well taken care of with standard cruise control, a surround-view camera system, and driver assistance features such as front and rear collision warning, blind-spot monitoring, forward emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and lane departure warning.
The Premium Select adds 22-inch dark chrome wheels and a dark chrome front grille surround, fender vents, and liftgate finisher.
The range-topping Sensory adds an advanced climate control system, semi-aniline leather seats, a 17-speaker Bose surround sound system, climate-controlled front seats, and a hydraulic body motion control system.
Infiniti offers buyers in the USA a limited number of options for the 2021 QX80. All three trim levels are offered with a host of accessories, including items such as chrome side mirror covers for $285, illuminated kick panels for $485, and a radiant interior ambient light system that illuminates the cupholders and footwells for $250. Other than that, each trim level gets locked in with its standard features, and you'll have to shop around the trim levels to get the gear you desire.
There might be three trims on offer, but there's not much separating these three SUVs. All trims share the same 400-hp 5.6-liter V8 engine and an eight-inch upper and seven-inch lower infotainment display. Tri-zone climate control, power-adjustable front seats, and driver assistance features like intelligent cruise control, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, rear collision warning, forward emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and blind-spot monitoring are all standard. The Premium Select doesn't add any notable features but adds some styling parts such as 22-inch dark chrome wheels and dark chrome exterior trim pieces. The Sensory trim adds a more advanced climate control system and a 17-speaker Bose sound system. When it comes to value for money, the base model is your best bet, but we'd also suggest the Nissan Armada Platinum, which packs the features found in the Sensory at a much lower price.
Being Nissan's luxury brand, Infiniti cars share most of the same underpinnings and tech but get exclusive features and, of course, a higher price tag. The Nissan Armada shares the same platform, powertrain, and other bits and pieces. The 5.6-liter V8 engine in the Armada produces less power at 390 horsepower and 394 lb-ft of torque, but the QX80 requires premium fuel to produce the extra power, making it more expensive to run. On the road, both SUVs offer a similar driving experience and return near identical fuel economy figures, with the QX80 being slightly more economical on the highway. To justify the significant jump in price from the Armada to the QX80, Infiniti has decked the QX80 out with premium materials and a few added features. These two are basically the same car with different branding, but with a new Nissan Armada on the horizon, the favor might just tip to the side of the more affordable car.
The Cadillac Escalade has quickly become a style icon in the USA and holds a special place in American culture that the QX80 can only dream of achieving. Now in its fifth generation, the 2021 Escalade is better than ever and makes the QX80 feel even more ancient than it is. Under the hood of the Escalade, you'll find a 3.0-liter six-cylinder turbodiesel and a 6.2-liter naturally-aspirated V8, both offering 460 lb-ft of torque. The Escalade is the faster car off the line and provides a better spread of power, making it easier to live with daily, especially in diesel guise. The Escalade is capable of towing 8,000 lbs, which is lower than the QX80. On the road, the Escalade is more comfortable to drive and lives up to its reputation of being a peerless cruiser. On the inside, the Escalade blows the QX80 out of the water with a cutting-edge interior that rivals European brands such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz. The Caddy will set you back an additional $7k over the cost of the Infiniti QX80 at entry level, but it's the better car by a long shot.
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