The 2019 Infiniti QX80 displays big, bold styling on a proven platform as powerful as it is durable. The styling isn’t as in-your-face as the new Lincoln Navigator, but feels more distinctive than the conservatively-styled Audi A8 and Land Rover Range Rover. Indeed, the QX80’s less-than-subtle proportions appear larger than life, 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 in their path.
The QX80 offers a sophisticated suspension that helps the driver feel more in control and the passenger more comfortable. A roomy interior provides good headroom and legroom in all three rows, and with the second- and third-row seats folded, the QX80 offers up a massive level cargo floor capable of hauling all kings of gear, luggage or whatever else requires 95.1 cu ft. of space.
What’s New for 2019?
For 2019, a new Limited trim joins the lineup, armed with just about every available option as standard equipment. The Luxe trim gains standard forward emergency braking with pedestrian detection and predictive forward-collision warning.
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 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 rear-wheel-drive models, and 13 mpg city/19 mpg hwy when equipped with all-wheel drive.
Standard Features & Options
The 2019 Infiniti QX80 comes in two trims: Luxe and Limited. Luxe models offer the option of either RWD or AWD, while the Limited comes standard with AWD.
Standard equipment for the QX80 Luxe ($66,395 with 2-wheel drive and $69,495 with AWD) includes a 13-speaker Bose audio system, Intelligent Key keyless entry and push-button starting, a power sunroof, a power rear lift gate, LED head lamps, 10-way power driver and 8-way power passenger seats with 2-way power lumbar support, a heated steering wheel, tri-zone automatic climate control, 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. New this year is automatic emergency braking and collision warning.
The QX80’s options list is composed mostly of packages. The ProActive package adds adaptive front lighting, Infiniti’s Hydraulic Body Motion Control system, a blind spot monitoring system, a Smart rearview mirror and more. The ProAssist package includes backup-collision intervention, a blind spot monitoring system, intelligent cruise control, distance-control assist and lane-departure and intervention. The Sensory package adds a 15-speaker Bose audio system, semi-aniline leather-quilted seating, Charcoal Burl or Espresso Burl trim, climate-controlled front seats, heated remote tip-up second-row seats, Plasmacluster air filtration and more.
The 22-in wheel package includes 22-in wheels, while the Theater package brings dual 8-in LCD screens and wireless headsets. The Split Bench package increases capacity from seven to eight by replacing the second-row captain’s-chair seating with a split-folding bench seat. A Wi-Fi package is also available.
The Limited ($91,095) trim includes all of the Luxe option package plus standard AWD. The only option is a $500 premium paint job.
The 2019 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. 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 maximum 8-passenger capacity, you’ll need to check off the 60/40-split bench seat option.
The QX80 is rated to tow up to 8,500 pounds.
Other Cars to Consider
2019 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.
2019 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.
2019 Mercedez-Benz GLS — The GLS isn’t as large as the QX80, and it drives a bit better. Plus, you can opt for a twin-turbo V6, twin-turbo V8 or a twin-turbo AMG V8 rated at 577 hp. But a comparably-equipped GLS costs more than the QX80, and we find the GLS’s interior to be conservative.
If you’re going to do it, do it right and get a loaded QX80 Limited. If you go with the Luxe, at least add the ProAssist, Sensory and ProActive packages.