The QX80 officially debuted in 2014, but wasn’t really a new model. Instead, it was a part of INFINITI's new model-naming restructure, with vehicular roots that stretched back to the 2004 debut of the QX56 full-size SUV. INFINITI had renamed that QX56 the QX in 2012, then switched to QX80 in 2014. Two years later, the QX80 still looks similar to the 2014 model, but some notable changes have been made to this large SUV, to keep it competitive.
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2016 INFINITI QX80 Overview
What's New for 2016
Last year, the QX80 received a fairly hefty refresh. A new Signature Edition has been added for 2016. Only 1,000 Signature Editions will be offered.
Choosing Your INFINITI QX80
Each QX80 features the same engine: a 5.6-liter V8 that produces 400 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque. This powerful V8 mates with a seven-speed automatic transmission. Only one decision has to be made in the drivetrain department, and that’s whether you want rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
With that kind of power in a heavy vehicle, fuel economy isn’t a strong point, EPA-estimated at 14 mpg in city driving and 20 mpg on the highway. All-wheel drive makes it even less thrifty, estimated at 13/19 mpg (city/highway). When properly equipped, towing capacity is 8,500 pounds.
Two trim levels are offered: base and Limited, plus the new Signature Edition.
Buyers of the base QX80 can choose from five option packages:
- Driver Assistance Package: Adds $2,500 to the base price, providing plenty of active safety features. They include Backup Collision Intervention, Predictive Forward Collision Warning and Emergency Braking, Intelligent Cruise Control, Blind Spot Warning, Distance Control Assist, and a steering wheel-mounted switch for Safety Shield Technologies.
- Theater Package: For $2,400, you can keep rear passengers entertained. Package includes two seven-inch monitors in front headrests, a wireless remote, two sets of wireless headphones, A/V input jacks and 120-volt outlet, and heated tip-up second-row seats.
- Tire and Wheel Package: Lay out an extra $2,800 and INFINITI will toss in a set of 22-by-8-inch, 14-spoke forged alloy wheels wrapped in all-season performance tires.
- Split Bench Seat Package: At no extra cost, INFINITI will replace the second-row captain's chairs with a 60/40 split bench, which increases seating capacity from seven to eight.
- Deluxe Technology Package: For $5,500, this package adds Hydraulic Body Motion Control, climate-controlled front seats, 15-speaker Bose surround-sound, semi-aniline leather seating, Stratford burl trim, chrome mirror caps, second-row footwell lighting, Advance Climate Control, Blind Spot Intervention system, headlight washers, lane-departure warning and prevention, pre-crash front seatbelts, and adaptive headlights.
Considering how much is included with the base QX80, that seems to be the sensible choice. Moving up to a Limited brings a long list of additional features, true, but at a whopping $22,500 premium—enough to buy a whole additional vehicle. Of course, adding a few of those option groups individually also pushes the total outlay sharply upward.
2016 INFINITI QX80 Review
The INFINITI QX80 is a full-size, luxury SUV based on Nissan’s large truck platform. This traditional body-on-frame model with standard rear-wheel drive and available all-wheel drive operates in a narrow segment, a vehicle offering room for seven or eight as well as 8,500 pounds of towing capacity.
Pricing and Equipment
Starting at $63,250 (plus a $995 destination charge) for the base rear-wheel drive model, this SUV tops out at $88,850 for the all-wheel drive Limited edition. Add $3,100 to obtain all-wheel drive to either the base or the Signature ($64,250) editions. The INFINITI QX80 Limited brings in an assortment of packages, including some available elsewhere, such as a deluxe technology package ($5,500) with a 15-speaker Bose Cabin Surround Sound System, climate-controlled leather, and headlight washers. Shoppers can also opt for a theater package ($2,400), a tire and wheel package ($2,800), and a driver assistance package ($2,500).
Standard equipment for the model tested included:
- LED lighting all around
- 5.6-liter V8 making 400 horsepower
- Seven-speed automatic transmission
- Class IV tow hitch
- Navigation system
- Tri-zone climate control
- Surround view monitor with moving object detection
- We found the INFINITI QX80 offers very good power with its 400-horsepower V8 tuned to deliver generous off-the-mark acceleration and full power on the road when you need it. The SUV’s seven-speed transmission shifts confidently and works seamlessly in the background.
- We didn’t have the opportunity to pull with the QX80, but its 8,500-pound towing capacity beats the Lexus LX 570 by 1,500 pounds and matches well with the Cadillac Escalade and Lincoln’s Navigator. All three models are the INFINITI’s chief competitors.
There is no getting around the fact that the INFINITI QX80 is one heavy vehicle. In Limited trim, it tops three tons with ease. As such, fuel economy comes in at just 13 mpg in the city and 19 mpg on the highway. One more note: premium fuel is required.
- The cabin is large, open and bright, and is carefully outfitted with leather touches. The top-end Limited pulls out all the stops by bringing in quilted, semi-aniline leather, an ultra suede headliner, and pillars, and silver switchgear on the center stack.
- Upgrading from seven to eight seats replaces the middle row captain’s chairs with a 60-40 split bench and at no charge to consumers.
Not everyone desires a truck-like SUV. And that’s what you have in the INFINITI QX80. Its ruggedly handsome exterior visage appeals to some. Inside, the cabin may be too spread out to others.
The Most Pleasant Surprise
The INFINITI brand offers few surprises as we’re used to the high-quality interiors matching the best of what Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi have to offer. You don’t need the Limited edition to experience high-end luxury, but the semi-aniline leather in the QX80’s most expensive trim level is exceptional and quite comfortable.
The Least Pleasant Surprise
We found the tested INFINITI QX80 hits all the high notes for luxury and quietness. It also pushes $90,000 and that’s a budget buster for some. There is no intermediate step between Signature all-wheel drive and Limited, making for a $20,000 price premium that’s hard to swallow.
The Bottom Line
Lower fuel prices make the INFINITI QX80 a more enticing proposition than when gas was near $4 per gallon. This SUV operates in a niche market, serving people who need the interior room as well as its robust towing capabilities. For most shoppers, the Signature edition with one or two packages added may be the best value proposition.
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