Infiniti’s big SUV features new trim names and standard SRVM.
2021 Infiniti QX80 Review
The QX80 remains the top model in Infiniti’s product line, a full-size SUV with room for eight. The current generation rolled out in 2011 as the QX56 and was given a new name when it received its first facelift in 2014. In 2018, the QX80 received its second refresh and for 2021 Infiniti debuts new trim names: Luxe, Premium Select, and Sensory. The latest model is in Infiniti showrooms.
The other change of note is that this marque’s smart rearview mirror (SRVM) is now standard. We’ll detail what this system is about following our dissection of the trim groupings.
We reviewed the 2020 Infiniti QX80 here. Given that the changes involve trim packages and the SRVM, we’ll focus on the updates here.
Shoppers might also consider two other Infiniti utility vehicles: the two-row QX50 and the three-row QX60.
Every 2021 QX80 is powered by a 5.6-liter V8 engine with 400 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque. Power routes to the wheels employing a 7-speed automatic transmission.
Notably, all three trims come with standard rear-wheel drive and available four-wheel drive, a $3,100 upgrade. Infiniti calls the system “all mode,” which means it can operate in three positions: AUTO, 4HI, and 4LO. The first setting mimics all-wheel drive as power shifts to all four wheels automatically, as needed.
We found the big V8 more than sufficient for the task at hand. It reminds us of something the Detroit 3 make, with its naturally aspirated design, whooshing sound, and ample grunt. It supplies engaging steering, very good handling, and a comfortable ride thanks to its rear automatic self-leveling suspension.
Combined with a 7-speed automatic transmission, this SUV pulls up to 8,500 pounds. It comes with a trailer tow hitch.
In four-wheel-drive guise, the QX80 manages most off-road places just fine. On gravel roads, we didn’t need to switch to 4HI, but did. In a few places where clay, puddles, mud, and dirt were common, the QX80 prevailed. We’ve never taken a large SUV to an off-road course, mostly because of its girth. That said, its 9.2-inch ground clearance means capable approach, break-over, and departure angles. While doubtful many buyers of a luxury SUV have that in mind, it’s still attainable.
Luxe – From $70,445
There is no strip model in the Infiniti QX80 lineup. The standard Luxe trim comes with automatic LED headlamps, power-folding and heated side mirrors, and 20-inch all-aluminum wheels. Upgrading to select metallic exterior color choices adds $695.
Inside, the seats are covered in leather and feature a 10-way power driver’s seat with 2-way lumbar support. That seat is very supportive for tall individuals and is all-day comfortable. Other features include wood accents, a power third-row split-bench seat, and second-row captain’s chairs. Those seats are nearly as comfortable as the front thrones. As for the third row, the seats are sufficiently padded, but the legroom is very tight. We’d reserve that seat for youngsters only.
On the tech front, the Luxe comes with a 7-inch touch-screen display, a 13-speaker Bose audio system, navigation, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone compatibility, Bluetooth, satellite radio, and a Wi-Fi hotspot.
The list of safety features is impressive and includes forward emergency braking with pedestrian detection, predictive forward-collision warning, backup-collision intervention, lane-departure warning, lane-departure prevention, blind-spot warning, blind-spot intervention, and an around-view monitor. Full-range cruise control is also included.
Swapping out the captain’s chairs for a bench seat is a no-cost upgrade. We highly recommend it if the eighth seating position is not needed.
Premium Select – From $75,440
The middle of three QX80 trims features black touches across the grille, trim, and mirror caps. Matching 22-inch dark finish forged aluminum-alloy wheels add pop.
Inside, the Premium Plus offers upgraded trim and additional seating colors.
Sensory – From $81,595
While the changes from the Luxe to Premium Select trims were modest, upgrading to the Sensory level delivers a more comprehensive adjustment in features. Our test model was the Sensory 4WD, therefore we’re most familiar with what this one offers.
A pair of mechanical offerings exclusive to this trim are worth noting. To begin with, this one adds hydraulic body motion control. Although you won’t take corners with abandon, the system noticeably reduces body roll and that’s laudable. The second feature is the vehicle speed-sensitive power steering. Here, the steering lightens as the speed increases.
This trim offers more chrome highlights than the other two and has forged aluminum-alloy wheels to match. An adaptive front lighting system with automatic-leveling headlights is also included.
Inside, the Sensory lives up to its name with the Charcoal Burl trim with gradient finish. The semi-aniline leather seats are extra plush and beautiful to behold. Heated and ventilated front seats are standard; models with the optional second-row bench seat benefit from outboard heated seats.
As for tech features, this is precisely where the Sensory pulls out all the stops. To begin, a 17-speaker Bose audio system is included. Further, a rear-seat entertainment system features a pair of 8-inch displays. Other improvements include an additional USB port and a 120-volt power outlet. The power outlet is one feature we’d love to see offered on the other trims, but it isn’t.
We like tech features as long as they do what they’re purported to accomplish. Some driver-assist features are annoying, but there isn’t anything we hate more than automatic on/off engine shutoff that cannot be contravened by the driver.
One of the more useful features offered by Infiniti is its nifty SRVM system. The system utilizes the rear-view mirror, easily switching between a standard mirror and an LCD monitor that benefits from a rear-mounted camera to display a high-definition image. In effect, the system “looks past” obstacles such as lighting, passengers, and cargo to supply a clear view of what’s behind the vehicle. We like this feature because of the extra safety measure it provides.
Each of the major luxury marques offers a large SUV. This wasn’t always the case as the BMW X7 is a more recently offered model.
Besides BMW, shoppers might compare the Cadillac Escalade and Lincoln Navigator. Both offer something that the Infiniti does not: standard and stretched wheelbase versions.
The Mercedes-Benz GLS Class, Lexus LX, and the Land Rover Range Rover Sport are other models to consider. The competition is tough, but we think this Infiniti holds its own.
As much as we enjoyed the Sensory model, we think the standard Luxe trim has many of the creature features customers want built in. Thanks to every safety feature made standard, the Luxe has much to offer.
We would consider upgrading to four-wheel drive, given that the system mimics all-wheel drive when roads are slippery. The added measure of grip support can certainly come handy on slick roads and not just where icy or snowy conditions prevail.
2021 Infiniti QX80 Specifications
|Segment||Full-size luxury SUV|
|Price Range||$69,050 to $83,300|
|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)||5,678 to 5,813|
|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 7,435|
|Fuel Tank (gallons)||26.0|
|EPA Fuel MPG (city/highway/combined)||14/20/16|
Data compiled by Tom Keegan. Specifications supplied by the manufacturer.
See Also — New and Improved! 2019 Infiniti QX50
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