2016 Infiniti QX80: New Car Review
While many luxury SUVs are beginning to morph into low-slung sport wagons, the 2016 Infiniti QX80 remains a big, bold people mover loaded with technology, luxury and a penchant for quality.
The QX80's platform serves its driver and passengers well, providing a modern suspension and ample space for passengers with long legs in all three rows. Fold down the second- and third-row seats, and the QX reveals a plentiful cargo bay to hide luggage, sports gear or the latest acquisitions from Best Buy.
Far from subtle, the QX80's proportions are massive, augmented by styling that seems to exaggerate every line, curve and seam. The entire package is set off by a massive set of 20- or optional 22-inch alloy wheels that, when rolling, look like giant fan blades ready to slice into anything that draws near. Its luxury appointments, on the other hand, are perfectly suited to the upper-class clientele that Infiniti seeks. In fact, the QX80 possesses one of the most attractive and well-equipped luxury-SUV interiors we've tested.
What's New for 2016?
For 2016, the Infiniti QX80 gains a new Signature Edition that adds the Driver Assistance and Split Bench packages, Saddle Tan interior and unique exterior details. Production will be limited to 1,000 models.
What We Like
Powerful V8 engine; lovely interior detail; impressive electronic safety assists; surprisingly manageable road manners
What We Don't
Poor fuel economy; can be difficult to maneuver in tight spots
The QX80 is powered by a 5.6-liter V8 that makes an impressive 400 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque. Models with Infiniti's All-Mode 4-wheel drive (4WD) include a driver-selectable AUTO/4HI/4LO computer-controlled transfer case. When left in AUTO mode, the system will detect wheel slippage and route power to the wheels with the best traction.
The Environmental Protection Agency rates the QX80 at 14 miles per gallon in the city and 20 mpg on the highway for both 2-wheel-drive (2WD) and 4WD models.
Standard Features & Options
The 2016 Infiniti QX80 comes in three trims: base, Signature Edition and Limited. All three trims offer the option of all-wheel drive (AWD).
Standard equipment for the QX80 2WD ($64,245) and QX80 4WD ($67,345) includes a 13-speaker Bose audio system, Intelligent Key keyless entry and push-button starting, a power sunroof, a power rear lift gate, LED headlamps, 10-way power driver's and 8-way power passenger seats with 2-way power lumbar support, a heated steering wheel, a power tilt-telescopic steering wheel, voice-activated hard-drive navigation, front and rear sonar parking aids, and Bluetooth. The Around View 360-degree monitor is also standard. It uses cameras in the side mirrors, front grille and rear hatch to create 360-degree and bird's-eye views of the scene outside the car. The system also includes Moving Object Detection, which can detect moving objects within the top view (when in park) or from both the front and rear when backing up or moving forward, respectively.
The QX80 Signature Edition 2WD ($65,245) and QX80 Signature Edition 4WD ($68,345) add the Driver Assistance package, the Split Bench package, Saddle Tan leather interior, chrome mirror caps and color-keyed side molding.
The QX80 Limited ($89,845) features standard AWD, all QX80 features and option packages plus unique Truffle Brown leather seating, an open-pore matte finish, ash wood trim and dark chrome exterior trim.
The QX80's options list is composed mostly of packages. The Driver Assistance package includes backup-collision intervention, a blind spot monitoring system, intelligent cruise control, distance-control assist and intelligent braking with predictive forward-collision warning. The Deluxe Technology package adds adaptive front lighting, semi-aniline leather seating, Infiniti's Hydraulic Body Motion Control system, advanced climate control, a blind spot monitoring system and more. The Tire and Wheel package includes 22-in wheels, while the Theater package brings dual 7-in LCD screens, wireless headsets and heated, remote tip-up second-row seats. The no-charge Split Bench package increases capacity from seven to eight by replacing the second-row captain's-chair seating with a split folding bench seat.
The 2016 Infiniti QX80 comes with a full roster of safety gear, including 4-wheel anti-lock brakes, electronic traction and stability control, and an available Hydraulic Body Motion Control system that uses sensors to pressurize individual shocks, minimizing body roll and lean. Inside, the QX80 provides front, front side-impact and 3-row side-curtain airbags. The Technology package also includes many electronic safety measures to help avoid accidents, keep the vehicle in its lane, and alert the driver to vehicles in the QX80's blind spots.
Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has performed crash tests on the QX80.
Behind the Wheel
This is one of the better-handling large SUVs. Unlike the Lexus LX 570, the QX80 doesn't feel large. Instead, its steering effort is light and direct, with good feedback in fast curves. The optional Hydraulic Body Motion Control system helps the QX80 avoid the tippy feeling commonly found in large vehicles with a high center of gravity. As for acceleration, the 5.6-liter V8 offers stellar performance, responding instantly to throttle input and delivering a sweet, low rumble that is music to a V8 lover's ears.
The QX80's seating is supremely supportive in the first and second rows, and even the 60/40 power-folding third-row seats are suitable for adults, though not spacious. One important note: The QX80's second-row seats are twin captain's chairs separated by a wide console. If you need 3-row seating, you'll need to check off the 60/40 split bench seat option, which can be included at no extra charge.
The QX80 is rated to tow up to 8,500 pounds.
Other Cars to Consider
2016 Lexus LX 570 -- There's no contest here. The QX80 is superior in terms of ride, comfort, handling, power, towing and fuel economy. The LX 570 might have an advantage in resale, but that's about all we can think of.
2016 Cadillac Escalade -- The Escalade offers two body lengths, the longer of which has a larger cargo hold than the QX80. Although it has more hp and torque, the Escalade can't tow as much weight as the QX80.
2016 Mercedes-Benz GL -- The GL isn't as large as the QX80, and it drives a bit better. Plus, you can opt for a V6 or diesel engine. But a comparably equipped GL costs more than the QX80, and we find the GL's interior to be conservative.
Used Land Rover Range Rover -- A 2010-2014 Land Rover Range Rover provides plenty of luxury and real off-road ability, but be sure to get a certified pre-owned model for the extended warranty.
If you're going to do it, do it right. Since there's no difference in fuel economy, go for the 4-wheel-drive over the 2-wheel-drive QX80. If you want heated second-row seats, you'll have to tack on the Theater package. The Deluxe Technology package is helpful for those who think they might need the added assistance, but it's not a must-have.