by Jarryd Neves
Like an injured runner set on finishing a marathon, the Infiniti QX80 is one tenacious full-size luxury SUV. It's been more than a decade since it first debuted as the QX56, but the three-row QX80 SUV is showing no signs of slowing down. With Infiniti QX80 prices ranging from $71,100 to $85,350, the QX80 is cheaper than rivals like the Lexus LX and Lincoln Navigator, although they offer more fuel-efficient, turbocharged V6 engines. The Infiniti blasts into 2022 with a positively old-school 5.6-liter V8 with 400 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque.
Creamy smooth it may be, but with gas prices as high as they've ever been, the way in which it drinks fuel is alarming. The ride cannot be faulted, though. It's even smoother than the torque-rich V8, ironing out bumps with ease. However, vehicles such as the new QX80 are statement pieces and, when compared to some rivals, it presents as outdated. Still, there's no denying it has plenty of presence. While the MSRP undercuts the aforementioned competitors, is this bastion of excess worth the extra outlay over the Nissan Armada upon which it's based?
Those who loved the styling of the 2021 Infiniti QX80 will be relieved to hear the manufacturer hasn't tampered with the looks for 2022. That doesn't mean the QX80 hasn't received any changes, though. A new 12.3-inch touchscreen supplants the antiquated setup of the previous model, which boasts Apple CarPlay and USB-based Android Auto.
The new system is standard on all trim levels and is far more intuitive. It significantly freshens up the interior styling, too. The climate controls have also seen a much-needed redesign that not only simplifies usability but gives the cabin a more upmarket, clutter-free feel. Additionally, a wireless smartphone charger has also been added to the comprehensive spec list.
The Infiniti QX80's cost of entry is lower than rivals, with a starting MSRP of $71,100 for the Luxe, the cheapest model. The mid-spec Premium Select weighs in at $75,400, with the range-topping Sensory derivative priced at $82,250. All three trim levels have a four-wheel-drive equivalent, priced at $3,100 more than the RWD models.
It's worth noting that these prices are exclusive of licensing, registration, tax, and incentives, as well as the $1,395 shipping and handling fee.
See trim levels and configurations:
As you'd expect from a heavy body-on-frame SUV, the QX80 isn't the last word in refinement and driving dynamics. By no means is it unwieldy, but when compared with the Mercedes-Benz GLS and BMW X7, the less than precise handling and numb steering is notable. Still, the QX80 isn't designed to chase Porsche Boxsters up a twisty road. The Hydraulic Body Motion Control system (standard on Sensory models) does its best to limit body roll but, ultimately, the big Infiniti will lean into bends if pushed hard.
Most consumers won't mind the heavier, inert steering response as it actually complements the laid-back persona of the QX80. What can't be faulted is the superb ride quality. It sails down the road with authority, simply disregarding road irregularities and potholes. Ultimately, the Navigator and GLS provide a smoother ride, but the aging Infiniti isn't too far behind.
Rolling refinement is also excellent. The QX80 can keep any external annoyances at bay, making for a luxurious interior ambiance. Road noise is kept to a minimum, although the large side mirrors can become a touch turbulent at higher speeds. Both the RWD and 4WD derivatives can easily traverse a stretch of gravel, but the all-paw derivative will, obviously, be far more capable off-road.
The 2022 Infiniti QX80 is an excellent product, but after battling other vehicles in the segment for over a decade, there are numerous chinks in the big SUV's armor. Truth be told, it's outclassed by its more modern rivals. That doesn't mean it doesn't have selling points, though. Based on sturdy, proven underpinnings, the QX80 will likely prove to be a hard-wearing SUV that will last a lifetime. The interior is blessed with vault-like quality and it offers plenty of standard equipment. What's more, when compared to the rivals, the pricing is very appealing.
The newer, better-rounded competition is more expensive for a reason, though. The Lincoln and Lexus alternatives offer luxurious interiors and far more efficient powertrains. The QX80 can't match the Navigator or Escalade for on-road comfort and it's outclassed by the LX 600 off-road. It's also nowhere near as dynamic as the German alternatives, the X7 and GLS.
While not at the top of our recommendations, it's certainly worth a look if you want a capable, well-priced, and luxurious full-size SUV. If your heart is set on a QX80, avoid the pricier and thirstier four-wheel-drive derivatives. But if you're willing to trade numerous benefits to save money, why not just get the Nissan Armada in the first place?
The main selling point of the QX80 is its low price when compared to rivals. With this in mind, it's best to opt for the Luxe trim level. At $71,100, the RWD model has all the features you really need. The extra $4,300 for the Premium Select certainly isn't worth it and, while it gains several superb features, the $82,250 needed for the RWD Sensory ruins the value-for-money factor. As there are no options to choose from, all that's left to do is choose your preferred color and place your order.
In the USA, the Cadillac Escalade is the ubiquitous full-size SUV. Now in its fifth generation, the thoroughly modern QX80 competitor makes its antiquated rival look its age. The entry-level Luxury trim may be over $5,000 dearer than the QX80 Luxe, but there's a choice of two engines. The 6.2-liter V8 is more powerful than the Infiniti's 5.6-liter mill yet returns similar gas mileage.
Importantly, it offers the choice of a 3.0-liter turbodiesel, with even better fuel consumption, at no extra cost. The Escalade boasts a far more modern-looking cabin, with a gorgeous curved OLED display. It's more luxurious too, with plenty of soft leather and wood trim to caress. The ride is also more supple and the Escalade feels quieter and more refined on the move. Super Cruise is now also standard on all models with the exception of the base Luxury, making the Escalade the more advanced car, too.
In terms of passenger space, the American is ahead of the Infiniti, with occupants enjoying more head- and legroom. If it's still not enough, an ESV long-wheelbase model is also available. Where the QX80 pips the Escalade is on towing capacity: 8,500 lbs compared to the Cadillac's maximum rating of 8,200 lbs. Overall, we'd recommend the Escalade over the Infiniti. Not only is it more contemporary, but the available diesel powertrain and more modern luxury/safety features make it a no-brainer.
Another loved American giant is the Lincoln Navigator. In terms of the exterior, it's a touch more demure than the flashy QX80, although it's still a massively imposing machine. The Navigator sails ahead of its Japanese counterpart once you step inside the cabin. With the latest model, Ford's luxury division really stepped up its game - the interior is a celebration of high-class materials, gorgeous detailing, and luxury touches.
But, you pay for this privilege. Navigator pricing starts at a heady $76,710 although you could find yourself forking over $103,000 for the Black Label. However, the Lincoln (despite its slightly shorter length) has more interior space than the QX80. With both rows of seating folded down, the Lincoln's 103.3 cu-ft of cargo space bests the Infiniti's still impressive 95.5 cu-ft.
Both trail behind the Escalade, which offers an astonishing 121 cu-ft. V8 aficionados may want to look elsewhere; the Navigator is only available with a 3.5-liter V6. But thanks to twin-turbocharging, it's more powerful than the QX80, with a potent 450 hp and 510 lb-ft up for grabs. Given the choice between the two, it's the Navigator's keys that we'd snatch. Unless you really cannot live without a V8 engine, Lincoln's full-size SUV wipes the floor with the aging QX80.
The most popular competitors of 2022 Infiniti QX80: