Full-size luxury SUVs are few in number, with the 2018 INFINITI QX80 named among them. This year’s model is far more attractive than before, but its roots trace back to 2010 and that’s something not easily hidden. The V8 is a charm and the interior upholstery is first-rate. We’re just disappointed that Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility aren't an option.

Best Value

The 2018 INFINITI QX80 is a full-size, seven-passenger SUV. It's a one-trim-level model with standard rear-wheel drive and available four-wheel drive. Here, INFINITI matches a V8 engine with a seven-speed automatic transmission.

Our pick is the four-wheel-drive model with the Driver Assistance Package. All models come with LED fog lights, body-colored running boards, a power-sliding moonroof, roof rails, and chrome wheels. You’ll also find three-zone climate control, second-row captain’s chairs, 4G LTE WiFi and a 13-speaker Bose audio system.

  • Model: 2018 INFINITI QX80 4WD
  • Engine: 5.6-liter V8
  • Output: 400 hp / 413 lb-ft
  • Transmission: Seven-speed automatic
  • Drivetrain: Four-wheel drive
  • Fuel Economy: 13 City / 19 Hwy
  • Options: Four-wheel drive ($3,100), Driver Assistance Package ($2,900, backup collision intervention, blind-spot monitoring and intervention, lane departure warning and prevention, distance control assist, forward automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and predictive forward collision warning)
  • Base Price: $69,145 (including a $1,295 destination charge)
  • Best Value Price: $72,045

Performance

INFINITI QX80

The 2018 QX80 has a 400-horsepower, 5.6-liter V8 engine that delivers 413 pound-feet of torque. While certainly no slouch, it has since been outclassed by newer models and it shows. INFINITI continues with a quick-shifting seven-speed automatic transmission. Together, the QX80 supplies a robust 8,500-pound tow rating.

With its Hydraulic Body Motion Control system, you might think body roll is kept under check. It's not. That’s difficult to do with any big vehicle, especially one pushing three tons. Expect ample body roll, a soft suspension, and ponderous handling. The QX80 is outclassed by the Lincoln Navigator and trails the Cadillac Escalade and Lexus LX 570.

Interior and Exterior

We’re happy INFINITI updated the QX80, although at this point in the lifecycle chain, a new model would have been the better option. Nevertheless, this is what INFINITI offers and we're more than happy to comment on the model at hand.

The updates make quick work of an old, tired design, one with an uninspiring grille and an oversized and out-of-place rear bumper. The fresh look offers a new grille similar to the style of the QX60, improved side grilles, and clean, sharper headlights. The rear bumper is now in proportion to this SUV’s size and the taillights benefit from a similar redo as the headlights.

As before, the cabin, with beautiful leather, remains this model’s strongest attribute. Upgrading to the semi-aniline leather means opting for the four-figure Deluxe Technology Package, which also supplies a pair of handsome wood choices. Like the front seats, the standard second-row captain’s chairs are very comfortable and not worth replacing with an available bench seat to gain an eighth seating spot. The third row is tight for adults and is best left to strap in children.

The Best and Worst Things

The QX80 offers inexpensive active safety features. On the other hand, not offering Android Auto or Apple CarPlay smartphone compatibility is a big ding for tech-savvy motorists. Even budget models are a step ahead of INFINITI in this arena.

Right For? Wrong For?

INFINITI QX80

In a segment with few competitors and high prices, the QX80 seems like a bargain among them. With four-wheel drive, your beginning price is just under $70,000. Choose your packages wisely and you'll manage your costs effectively.

The low cost means settling for an outdated model. The newest big SUV on the block is the Lincoln Navigator and it offers a modern drivetrain and an outstanding interior. The QX80 is behind in the segment in several areas, including fuel economy, and that's apparent.

The Bottom Line

The 2018 INFINITI QX80 offers improvements befitting a mid-product-cycle update, but it comes late in this model’s life. The latest version loses the previous model’s ugliness, but the INFINITI QX80 is still a step behind the competition. You would do well looking elsewhere.