2016 Infiniti QX80 Review

2016 Infiniti QX80 - Infiniti's large SUV makes for a very family friendly hauler.


The Infiniti QX80 is a full-size, 3-row sport-utility vehicle. It shares chassis and engine with the soon-to-be-released Nissan Armada. QX80 competes with Cadillac Escalate, Lincoln Navigator, Land Rover Range Rover, Lexus LX 750 and Mercedes-Benz GL Class. Seating capacity is seven when equipped with second-row captain's chairs or eight when fitted with the three-place, second-row bench. The QX80 is Infiniti's largest crossover. They also offer the QX50, QX60 and QX70.

Only two models are offered, base and Limited. Both come with a 5.6-liter V8 engine that produces 400 horsepower. The sole transmission is a 7-speed automatic. Rear-wheel drive is standard on the base. All-wheel drive with a low range is optional on the Base and standard on the Limited. When properly equipped, QX80 has a towing rating of 8500 pounds.

Standard safety features include stability and traction control, antilock brakes, a 360-degree parking camera, front active head restraints, front and rear parking sensors and dual-front, front-side and side-curtain airbags. The available Driver Assistance package adds adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, lane-departure warning and intervention, frontal collision warning and mitigation and a back-up collision mitigation.

The standard equipment list on the base is fairly extensive, highlights include 20-inch alloy wheels, automatic LED headlights and foglights, automatic high-beam control, sunroof, roof rails, power-folding auto-dimming mirrors, rear privacy glass, power liftgate, keyless entry and ignition, automatic tri-zone climate control, leather upholstery, heated 8-way power driver seat, 6-way power front passenger seat, driver memory settings, second-row captain's chairs, a power-folding 60/40-split third-row seat and a power-adjustable heated steering wheel. Also include are Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, 8-inch touchscreen display, navigation system, voice controls and 13-speaker Bose sound system with CD player, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and a USB port.

Limited adds dual-screen rear entertainment system, 120-volt power outlet and heated second-row seats with power tip-up feature. Also available is the Tire and Wheel package, which nets you 22-inch wheels and all-season performance tires.

Prices start at $63,250 for the base and rise to $88,850 for the Limited. The QX80 has a destination charge of $995 and is built in Japan.

Powering the QX80 is a 5.6-liter V8 that makes 400 horsepower. Despite the vehicle's hefty 6000-pound curb weight, it propels the QX quite nicely. At a stop or on the go, mash the throttle and there's a satisfying lurch of power. The V8 will push the QX80 from 0 to 60 mph in about 6.5 seconds, quite impressive for the class. The engine is smooth and refined and mates well to the smooth-shifting 7-speed automatic.

The all-wheel-drive system has several modes but can be left in "auto" most of the time. Like most others in the class, the QX80 offers a true low range for off-road slogging and lots of locking and electronic assists to help make novice drivers look like seasoned off-road veterans.

As you might expect, all of the power and off-road prowess comes at a price. That means paltry EPA ratings of 13 mpg city and 19 mpg highway. Things improve one mpg for rear-drive models. Compounding the issue is Infiniti's request that owners use more-expensive, premium-grade gasoline, Thankfully, there's a little light at the end of the tunnel and that comes via the QX80's real-world fuel economy numbers which will likely exceed the EPA's estimates. In typical suburban commuting, it's easy to average 20 mpg overall and you can even net 24 mpg in gentile highway cruising.

Despite the QX80s large footprint, the vehicle feels remarkably agile. Not that you'd ever take the QX auto crossing, but there's good control from the accurate steering and a reassuring feel from the powerful brakes. Even body motions are kept well in check when equipped with the available Body Motion Control system. About the only downside is a slightly firmer than expected ride from the available 22-inch wheels.

Wind and road noise are nicely isolated and the engine never intrudes on the conversation.

The interior is well crafted with a handsome design that sports lots of plush and expensive-looking materials. Fit-and-finish is top notch. Driver faces a traditional set of analog gauges and grips a meaty steering wheel that boasts lots of ancillary buttons that help reduce distraction. The center stack is dominated by a large display screen and loaded with buttons and knobs. It's a trifle off-putting at first, but passengers will quickly come to appreciate the quick access to vehicle functions.

Front seats are extremely comfortable and offer plenty of head and leg room The same can be said for the second-row captain's chairs. Even the available bench seat in the second-row is nicely fitted. Unfortunately, third-row seats aren't nearly as roomy or comfortable, Still, they are acceptable for adults on short trips, even if they lag behind the class leaders in overall room.

Cargo space borders on cavernous, but that's to be expected in this class. With the third-row seats in use, there're just 16.6 cubic feet available. However, that number quickly expands to 95 cubic feet with the second- and third-row folded. Most people will be very happy with the 50 cubic feet offered with just the third-row folded. Interior storage is great with lots of open and covered storage bins, large map pockets and a deep center console bin.

All told, the QX80 is an extremely competent and comfortable large SUV. It matches the competition in just about every category and exceeds some in more than a few. Price is steep, but that's the case for all large luxury SUVs. It would be nice if Infiniti offered the body control suspension without the 22-inch wheels for those who live in northern climates, though. Either way, it's hard to go wrong with the QX80 if you are in the market for a luxurious family hauler.

Mark Bilek

Mark Bilek is the Senior Director of Communications and Technology for the Chicago Auto Trade Association and the General Manager for DriveChicago.com. He is also responsible for developing and maintaining the Chicago Auto Show Web site.

Mark has been reviewing vehicles for more than two decades. Previously, he was associate publisher at Consumer Guide, where he oversaw publication of Consumer Guide Car & Truck Test, Consumer Guide's Used Car Book, and ConsumerGuide.com. He was also responsible for publication of "Collectible Automobile" and various hardcover automotive titles. In 2001 and 2002 he served as president of a Midwest Automotive Media Association. Mark has appeared on NBC TV, ABC TV, Fox News, WGN and MotorTrend TV as an automotive consultant. He hosts the Drive Chicago radio show on WLS 890 AM and was a regular guest on WGN Radio's Steve & Johnnie show. Mark lives in the northwest suburbs with his wife and three sons.