With increased emphasis on green vehicles — entry-level economy boxes to electric supercars — one look at the 2018 Infiniti QX80 and a prevailing thought is that the luxury division of Nissan has missed the movement.

The massive SUV is a small tank defined by opulence. It weighs more than three tons. It’s a heavy drinker, sucking down a gallon of fuel for every 13 miles it advances in city driving. It has 20-inch wheels (22-inch wheels are an option) and all-wheel drive. It often doesn’t fit in standard-sized parking spots. The QX80 has a 26-gallon gas tank that requires refilling in less than 500 miles.

The 2018 Infiniti QX80 has several interior and exterior updates for 2017.
The 2018 Infiniti QX80 has several interior and exterior updates from 2017 including a new front grille. Image © James Raia/2018

When fully equipped, the QX80 has four option packages and a few miscellaneous items that contribute $16,000 to a not-so-sweet $85,000 purchase.

All of that, of course, is exactly what luxury SUV aficionados desire. The Infiniti XQ80 is what buyers of large machines purchase to power to down the road while sitting high and looking over the masses.

As the mothership of Infiniti’s four SUV lineup, including the new 2019 QX50, the QX80 can impress neighbors who are impressed by what kind of vehicle neighbors drive.

A three-row, eight-passenger SUV, the QX80 features a 5-6-liter engine with 400 horsepower and a seven-speed automatic transmission. Acceleration is impressive with the 0-60 miles per hour standard achieved in 6.2 seconds

Infiniti is well aware the top-line luxury SUV segment attracts a niche audience, and competition is stiff. Competitors include the Lincoln Navigator, Cadillac Escalade, Land Rover Discovery and GMC Yukon.

The 2018 Infiniti QX80 is the largest of the upscale Nissan's four SUVs.
The 2018 Infiniti QX80 is the largest of the upscale Nissan’s four SUVs. Image © James Raia/2018

As such, the flagship QX80 is vastly tweaked from last year’s offering. The improvement showcases the brand to it fullest. The exterior front has a more upscale look with a new fascia design, an upright grille and new headlights and foglights. The rear end has also been modified with a new tailgate, taillights and bumper.

The four-wheel drive system has auto, 4WD high and 4WD low settings for various road and off-road conditions. The towing capacity is an impressive 8,500 pounds. Cavernous comfort, convenience, technology, safety and security feature are near-endless lists of state-of-the-art offerings.

Technology overload is real as manufacturers try to outdo each other. The QX80 is the first Infiniti to feature a smart rearview mirror. It uses a camera for a digital view if the window is somehow obscured by in inclement conditions or by people.

Lane departure, blind-spot and forward collision warning systems, adaptive cruise control, distance control assist and forward emergency braking with pedestrian detection remain from 2017.

Updates to the center console include USB ports, space for a smartphone. Technology highlights also include Wi-Fi and an eight-inch touchscreen that pairs with Alexa to unlock and remote start the vehicle. The QX80 doesn’t accommodate Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. The optional Bose sound system is top-line and has 15 speakers.

Interior decorators have nothing on Infiniti designers. Quilted leather seating, a new charcoal burl wood grain, new stitching and piping and interior colors choices all add to the sensory appeal and comfort.

One small disappointment. The dials for the heated seats are tiny and nearly hidden at the bottom of the dashboard. It’s the antithesis of the Infiniti’s big and bold persona.

But why quibble? The XQ80 is big, beautiful and confident. It provides an hard-to-argue-against combination of comfort, spaciousness, performance and safety. It ideally defines what one friend always says when he looks at a vehicle that at first glance makes little sense. “If no one bought them,” he says, “they wouldn’t make them.”

1 COMMENT

  1. It’s a big beast. Possible alternative for Suburban folks. A minivan probably holds more stuff or people comfortably. But that tow rating has the minivan beat!

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