The Infiniti QX80 is part of a niche cohort of full-size luxury SUVs. It goes up against some very heady competition, including the Lexus GX, Cadillac Escalade, Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class, Lincoln Navigator, Land Rover Range Rover, and the BMW X7. The segment remains robust as more than half the players are new or feature updated models. Soon, a Genesis GX90 model will join the fray.
The current or second-generation model rolled out in 2010 and was once known as the QX56 until Infiniti overhauled its model naming convention in 2014. Largely the same since then, the QX80 received refreshes in 2014 and 2017. For 2020, a special Edition 30 Package rolls out, offering a tribute to this marque’s 30th anniversary.
2020 Infiniti QX80 Overview
Other changes for the year include now standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone compatibility and a new infotainment interface. Infiniti offers the 2020 QX80 in Luxe RWD ($66,750), Luxe 4WD ($69,850), and Limited 4WD ($91,450) trims. Add $1,395 for the destination charge.
The Edition 30 Package ($3,500) is available with the Luxe trims only. It brings in such features as a black front mesh grille, black mirror caps, dark chrome exterior parts, special badging, 22-inch, dark forged aluminum-alloy wheels with black center caps and 275/50R22 H-rated all-season tires, first-row illuminated steel kick plates with EDITION 30 inscribed, and a graphite headliner, sun visors, sun shades, and pillars. Our test Luxe 4WD model was dressed accordingly and retailed for about $75,000.
Aged to Perfection
Okay, this is an exaggeration. The Infiniti QX80 hasn’t aged to perfection, but the current look simply looks great. This SUV has a commanding presence with its oversized chrome-edged grille, narrow headlamps, and broad lower intake that combine sportiness with luxury. The look is even a bit intimidating and that’s alright.
This SUV’s long profile features a raised beltline, extended roofline, chrome embellishments, and nifty wheel designs. This is where the Infiniti shows its age. From the rear, an oversized liftgate dominates; chrome trim connects the taillamps and covers the top of the bumper.
Inside, the cabin is large, quiet, and nicely appointed. There is ample room in the first two rows. The third row is a tighter fit, although the flip and fold forward captain’s chairs make it easy to get back there.
Depending on the trim, you’ll find such features as quilted leather seats, leather trim, wood and metal touches, power-adjustable and heated front seats, and second-row captain’s chairs are additional other highlights.
If you need room for eight, you can swap out the captain’s chairs for a bench seat – but only do this if you must as the second-row thrones are almost as comfortable as the front seats. Among the upgrades are cooled front seats, heated captain’s chairs, and various accessories.
Storage is excellent with ample door pockets, closed compartments, drink holders, and other places to stash stuff. Cargo space measures just 16.6 cubic feet behind the third-row seat. Behind the second row, it measures 49.6 cubic feet. Behind the first row, you’ll find 95.1 cubic feet. It doesn’t match the long-wheelbase versions of the Cadillac and Lincoln models, but it is within the range of the BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
Tech & Safety
The biggest tech need for the QX80 was resolved this year. All models now come with an Infiniti InTouchTM System with an HD twin-screen display, a new 7-inch TFT meter display, and standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. These features put Infiniti in the thick of the luxury SUV segment, delivering the amenities customers want and expect. They also build on the 8-inch touch-screen display, navigation, and standard 13- or available 17-speaker Bose audio systems that are also present.
Also available is a rear entertainment system (Theater Package, $2,000) with dual eight-inch screens. This package allows second-row passengers to play their games or movies, a great way to keep the children occupied on those excursions away far away from home.
On the safety front, you’ll find such features as forward emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, an enhanced rear-view mirror, predictive forward collision warning, blind-spot warning with blind-spot intervention, and lane departure intervention. These features are standard on the top trim or a $2,200 ProAssist Package upgrade on the Luxe.
Under the Hood and On the Road
Every Infiniti QX80 comes with a 5.6-liter V8 engine generating 400 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque. Power travels to the rear or all four wheels utilizing a 7-speed automatic transmission. If the engine sounds familiar, you’re correct: it powers the Nissan Armada and the Nissan Titan/Titan XD. It isn’t uncommon for brands to share a big V8 – witness the 6.2-liter V8 powering the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, GMC Yukon/Yukon XL, Cadillac Escalade and Chevrolet and GMC trucks.
There are always pros and cons to such a big engine. On the plus side, this engine puts down excellent power. When properly equipped, it pulls up to 8,500 pounds. On the flip side, it runs on premium gasoline and its 13/19/15 mpg city/highway/combined fuel economy is about as low as you can go.
But the QX80 is all about the performance, something that’s quite evident as soon as you pull away from a stop and while passing. Its weight isn’t much of a factor, even though the QX80 approaches three tons without payload.
Decent handling and firm braking are two of this model’s strengths. But keep in mind that its girth and high profile mean carefully entering corners and pulling out of the same. Kudos also for a comfortable ride and the interior quiet to go with it.
An air suspension is available, which supplies a more comfortable ride. You can also opt for 22-inch wheels, but these may diminish ride quality.
Now in its eleventh year, the Infiniti QX80 has aged well. Interim refreshes have benefited the exterior the most.
Inside, the cabin still looks good, although the bar is now set much higher with the likes of the Lincoln Navigator. A future model may have a twin-turbo V6 engine and a 10-speed transmission, but for now, we have a powertrain that no longer seems ahead of the curve.
We think most people will choose the base model, select a few packages, and pay between $75,000 and $80,000 to outfit their QX80.
2020 Infiniti QX80 Specifications
|Segment||Full-size luxury SUV|
|Price Range||From $68,000|
|Standard Engine||5.6-liter, V8|
|Horsepower||400 @ 5,800 rpm|
|Torque (lb.-ft.)||413 @ 4,000 rpm|
|Seating||7 to 8|
|Curb Weight (pounds)||5,679|
|Head room (f,r…inches)||39.9, 40.0, 36.8|
|Legroom (f,r…inches)||39.6, 41.0, 28.8|
|Shoulder room (f,r…inches)||63.8, 63.5, 60.5|
|Hip room (f,r…inches)||59.2, 58.4, 48.8|
|Storage (cubic feet)||16.6/49.6/95.1|
|Gross vehicle weight rating (pounds)||7,300 to 7,385|
|Fuel Tank (gallons)||26.0|
|EPA Fuel MPG (city/highway/combined)||14/20/16|
Data compiled by Tom Keegan. Specifications supplied by the manufacturer.
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