The driving experience of the QX80 can only be described as buttery smooth.
Nothing beats the large sport-utility-vehicle when tackling long road trips in which ever direction your heart desires. They come with ample storage for all forms of baggage with ample room for seven or eight occupants. While the age of these enormous vehicles may be coming to a slow halt thanks to rising fuel costs and green initiatives, the arena is still full of competition ready to sell. GM continues to push forward with their robust lineup compiling of short and long wheel base version of the Escalade, Yukon, and Tahoe (reviewed here), whereas Ford is turning a new leaf with the 2018 Expedition.
Non-American brands do produce seven-seater SUV’s, though few compare to the sheer size of the previously mentioned North American players. Infiniti does, however, have something that stands shoulder to shoulder with these American counterparts; this 2017 Infiniti QX80 Limited.
For those of who aren’t in the know, the QX80 is formally known as the QX56, prior to 2014. The name change came after the second-generation launch in 2010 to keep the new branding language organized for the entire Infiniti lineup. Flavours for the 2017 QX80 include a standard seven-passenger configuration and a no-cost eight-passenger option. A Limited version of the truck is also available as a premium luxury option; tested here, though this model restricts seating to maximum of seven-passengers.
The Limited hosts just about every extra one can fit into a QX80, with a design language that feels relatively fresh both inside and out, however this can be said for some areas more than others. Key identifiers on the Limited include darker housings for the headlamps and taillamps, dark chrome A-pillar covers, and a variety of darker chrome trim all around the vehicle. The rear taillight housings sport clear lenses that show off inner details of the taillight design.
LED daytime running lights add some flare to the front fascia when the projector low-beam bulbs are not in use. The LED signal lamps are placed just above the fog lights which are also of the LED variety. While the rear brake lights include even more LEDs, the rear signal lights remain conventional halogen bulbs, which seem a little dated when compared the rest of the modern lighting systems of the truck.
The Limited also receives unique 22-inch four-spoke dark finished aluminum alloy wheels, mounted on 275/50R22 Bridgestone all-season performance tires. The wheels themselves have a very unique colour tone to them, which contrasted well with the Hermosa Blue metallic paint job on this test vehicle. Buyers have a choice of six colours for the QX80 Limited, three of which come as exclusive options for the Limited.
When compared to some of the competition, the QX80 lacks the grace of what is expected from the premium vehicle of this day in age. Though the QX80 (reviewed here) and QX56 had always been a bit of an ugly duckling in the segment, the previous-generation truck had the rugged resemblance of a rhino, and this new version brings forth an image of a whale more than anything. The hood seems to have been formed out of a lumpy mold, which becomes even more apparent when sitting inside looking out the front.
More flaws become apparent with a closer look, one of which being the awkward space between the headlights and the hood, where there seems to be a separate panel connecting the front quarter panels to the grill. The cabin is where the QX80 redeems its styling points, as the leather detailing emotes a true sense of luxury. It’s important to note that the QX80 Limited only has one interior arrangement available, and that is the Truffle Brown semi-aniline leather with quilted seats and contrast stitching and piping, paired with open pore Ash Wood trim.
The dashboard and centre stack feel very upright and flat, which seems a little odd at first though it’s something becomes comfortable with time. The centre stack itself features the signature Infiniti analog clock, surrounded by tactile controls finished in a silver plastic. Real glass would have been a nicer touch for the dome covering the clock, as opposed to the plastic used.
Passengers in the middle row can enjoy rear-seat entertainment found in the headrests of the front seats, with two screens that can be toggled to display the same image, or separate media. The middle row is made up of two captain’s chairs, separated by a large centre console for storage and cup holders. The third-row bench has a 60/40 split configuration with power folding capability, with buttons located on the right sidewall of the trunk. While the bench is meant to sit three people, the person sitting in the center will be missing an adjustable headrest.
With large stature comes large power. The QX80 Limited shares the same engine as its lower-trim sibling, producing 400 horsepower at 5,800RPM and 413 lb-ft. of torque at 4,000RPM, thanks to the all-aluminum 5.6L V8 hidden underneath that massive hood. For daily driving, this engine provides a smooth power delivery all around, with the seven-speed automatic transmission seamlessly waltzing through the gears.
The large displacement of the engine does translate into less than ideal fuel efficiency ratings, with 16.9L/100KM city and 11.9L/100KM highway, and our real world combined average of 15.1L/100KM. Premium luxury does of course call for premium fuel when filling up. This is right about in line with the likes of the GMC Yukon (reviewed here), though the Infiniti doesn’t offer cylinder deactivation technology to save more fuel on the highway.
The driving experience of the QX80 can only be described as buttery smooth. The rack and pinion variable assist steering makes maneuvering this SUV easy, especially once drivers get used to the dimensions of the vehicle. The overall turning radius remains tight, which is impressive for a truck of this size. One might not expect for something like this to handle itself well around corners, but with the Hydraulic Body Motion Control system, the QX80 manages to keep itself poised all the way through.
As expected a suite of safety equipment comes standard in the QX80 Limited, including Lane Departure Warning and Lane Departure Prevention, Distance Control Assist, Blind Spot Warning and Blind Spot Intervention, front Pre-Crash seatbelts, Adaptive Front Lighting System with auto-leveling headlights, Back Collision Intervention, Forward emergency Braking and Predictive Forward Collision Warning.
The QX80 has an opening price of $75,650 and opting for the Limited ups the ante by $18,150, for a total of $93,800. While the beauty of this truck remains subjective, the all-around driving performance is nothing to be ashamed of. Being in seventh year of production for this SUV, it might be worth holding off until the next generation is released sometime in the near future. Based off other examples recently released by Infiniti, it is quite possible that the next iteration of the QX80 be something worth gawking at. For now though, the 2017 Infiniti QX80 Limited offers a proper luxury SUV experience with seating fit for a group of basketball players.