Past its expiry date: Infiniti QX80 review


The Infiniti QX80 on a cold winter day.
Enlarge / The Infiniti QX80 on a cold winter day.

Eric Bangeman

As the old saying goes, you never have a second chance to make a first impression. When I first boarded the Infiniti QX80 for the first time, one of the first things I saw was a monochromatic LCD in the middle of the dashboard. I looked at the Monroney sticker on the passenger seat and saw a price tag north of $ 90,000. The juxtaposition of a rack that looked like a car from my garage to the luxurious, ten-year-old interior trim left me feeling like Infiniti had made some strange choices with the QX80 – an impression I have never managed to shake during my week. with the vehicle.

The QX80 is the flagship product of the Infiniti SUV range. It's a true three-row full-size SUV, competing with the Mercedes GLS, Lexus LX and Lincoln Navigator for the hearts and wallets of big families and people who want a vehicle as spacious as it is spacious. The QX80 has been overhauled for the 2018 model year, getting an exterior remelting that lengthens the body and makes it look longer. For 2019, Infiniti added a Limited model with 22-inch, machine-finished dark wheels.

The price of the QX80 starts at $ 65,100 for a front-wheel drive model; if you want all-wheel drive, you will have to shell out $ 3,000 extra. Our test model was the QX80 Limited, which came with all the hardware – the film package, driver assistance, the aforementioned 22-inch wheels and a price tag of $ 91,450. This expensive beast is powered by a 5.6-liter V8 capable of producing 400 hp (298 kW) at 5,800 rpm and 413 lb-ft (560 Nm) of torque at 4,000 rpm. It is paired with a seven-speed automatic transmission, which I prefer to the continuously variable transmission of the QX50 and QX60. If you need to drive your QX80 on rough terrain, it has a high analysis ration of 1.0 to 4-wheel drive and 2.7 to 4-wheel drive.

The print of an armada

By far, the QX80 could easily be mistaken for a $ 25,000 Nissan Armada. This is not a surprise: cars share the same platform and the same profile. The most obvious differences are the angle of the front grille, the badge in the center and the shape of the chrome ventilation grille on the front panel. The QX80 is not as heavy in Infiniti design language as its smaller compatriots. There are fewer curves and the profile is bigger and more angular.

With a wheelbase of 121.1 inches (3,073 mm) and dimensions of 210.2 inches × 79.9 inches × 75.8 inches (5,334 mm × 2,032 mm × 1,925 mm), the interior of the QX80 is spacious and has all the upscale touches waiting for a car with a price tag north of 90 grand. There are lots of light gray wood trim, black Ultrasuede trim and reliefs on the first and second row seats. Second-row passengers will love the available legroom, heated seats, their own climate controls, USB ports, and front-seat head-mounted displays (with the movie set). Third-row passengers? They will be disappointed unless they are short. Although the return is easy, thanks to the quick-release buttons on the dashboard, the seat is placed closer to the ground than the others, leaving passengers unnecessarily cramped.

While the car looks luxurious inside, it looks aging and Infiniti has made some confusing design choices. First of all, there is a monochromatic LED display between the analog dials. It feels bad in all Vehicle 2019, not to mention a vehicle that starts at $ 65,000. In addition to appearances, the use of a monochromatic display involves some trade-offs in user experience. You want to check your fuel consumption or even your compass heading? You will need to access the touch screen infotainment screen (with outdated user interface dated appearance) and navigate through two screens to find the information.

The center console and dashboard are still cluttered, but not as much as the QX60 and its 60 buttons. Infiniti's insistence on a single touch screen and dedicated controls for many functions means you'll need to look for and reach your goals while driving. The tailgate, steering wheel warmth and sound alert controls are below the right knee. The seat temperature controls are so far apart that you can only see at a glance if they are nocturnal or on a dark day. And there's a nice analog clock in the center of the dashboard … around the navel. Overall, the configuration is disconcerting.

Cross the road comfortably

In the streets, the QX80 offers a comfortable ride. Ride on the step and sit in the driver's seat. You will be rewarded with a breathtaking view of the road, compromised only by a fairly large C pillar. The suspension is quiet and the fully independent double wishbone suspension effectively isolates passengers from unevenness. The 5.6L V8 does a great job of carrying this nearly 2,000 kg (6,000 lb.) SUV. It's pretty fast if you have to speed up to change lanes suddenly, but it's an SUV designed for comfort and not for speed.

The AWD version uses Infiniti's hydraulic body movement control in place of the front stabilizer bar of the front-wheel drive version. It performs a correct roll work limited in tight curves. That said, it's still a three-tonne SUV and should be driven accordingly. While most QX80s will remain in suburban and highway streets, they have the ability to get off the road as needed, with 23.4 cm (9.2 inches) of ground clearance and driving modes. four-wheel drive high and low. The QX80 also features a snow mode (which I enjoyed in this cold Chicago winter), hill start assistance, and towing mode for loads up to 8,500 lbs. kg).

The fuel economy is roughly what you would expect from a full-size SUV equipped with a V8: 15 mpg (13 mpg city, 19 mpg highway) ). I had 13.4 mpg in a week of mixed driving in the winter.

Although the QX80 has been refreshed for the 2018 model year, it lacks ProPILOT support, which is found in the QX50, and really lets you stay on course and follow the contours of the road. Instead, the QX80 features the smallest ProActive package that will resonate when you leave your lane. The blind spots are located at the bottom of the A-pillar instead of in the mirrors, which reduces its usefulness. On the positive side, the QX80 offers a 360 ° view of the camera that can be changed from one camera to another via the infotainment display, which is very useful for maneuvering this huge SUV into spaces restricted.

After spending a few weeks driving various Infiniti SUVs, I understand their appeal to a certain segment of car buyers. They offer quiet, comfortable and quiet rides – and they usually cost a few thousand dollars less than a BMW, Volvo or Audi. But Infinitis – and especially the QX80 – feels technologically at the back. ProPILOT assist works very well, but it is only available on the QX50. The infotainment system seems dated and the large number of buttons and knobs that sometimes work together with the infotainment system creates a steep learning curve. For the QX80, my enduring impression is not much different from the first: it's a costly, full-size sport utility that lacks many points of view.

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