The Infiniti QX80 has been in the shadow of American luxury competitors. This generation of the large luxury SUV has been on sale continuously for thirteen years and is increasingly showing signs of age. It raises the question: How does the QX80 compare to its competitors? We had the chance to drive it on a 1500 km (932 mi) road trip to better answer the question. Our test model was built at the Yukuhashi, JPN plant and had an MSRP of $95,340.
The Infiniti QX80 is the larger vehicle in the automaker's lineup, and with its bold grille, it's hard to mistake it for anything else on the road today. The signature double-arch grille is present but stretched to better fit this vehicle, and the dark chrome is a nice touch as it provides a meaner look. The lighting fixtures are recognizable but with an added touch of elegance. On the sides, the boxy look isn't uncommon but bodes well with the purpose of the vehicle. The blacked-out mirrors are a nice touch, and the 22-inch wheels are massive and improve the QX80's profile. In the back, that's where the vehicle indeed shows its age. So many automakers are going towards elaborate tail light designs in their flagship, but you won't find any here. Also, the bulbous rear bumper isn't particularly attractive, and the third brake light needs to be more luxurious for a vehicle at this price point. Compared to the competition, this model's design needs to be updated since its introduction in 2010. An update is overdue.
The interior of the Infiniti QX80 could also use a refresh. Starting on the driver's side, the gauge cluster is no frills: you have a classic tachometer and speedometer with a small LCD screen tucked in between the two gauges, something unacceptable at this price point. The long gear selector also sticks out of the center console, especially since its base looks like a lower-level, manual vehicle. The sunroof doesn't have an electric cover and only allows the luxury of having an open-air experience for the front occupants. On the flip side, the quality of the materials used is excellent: the quilted leather on the door and seats, the wood trim on the center console and the stitchings all over the interior remind us that this is a premium vehicle. Another element that bothered us was the seats themselves; even though they look great, they do not provide enough lateral support, so your body moves from one side to the other at any turn. Also, we found it unfortunate that the second-row seats don't fold on the floor like so many SUVs nowadays; instead, you need to fold them in half manually and flip ninety degrees to give you access to the third row. The interior room is good for a vehicle this size; even with all the seats in place, you get a decent 470L (16.6 cu. ft.), albeit having a high cargo floor makes it harder to load items in it. Finally, as for baby car seats, the ISOFIX ports are indicated on the rear captain chairs but not in the third row. The rear anchors are also quite visible in the middle but not in the back; that's also a bit disappointing.
Technology-wise, the Infiniti QX80 is starting to look archaic. As mentioned earlier, the lack of a full-screen gauge cluster in a top-of-the-line model is the apparent indicator of the moment when this vehicle was released. Furthermore, there is a 12.3-inch infotainment screen, but when you're on the home screen or in Apple Carplay, roughly ⅓ of the screen is left unused and displays which song is playing. That wasn't very pleasant since the map wasn't as big as possible. That said, the double-screen layout found on other models is gone; that's a huge plus since the old system was archaic and confusing. The Japanese automaker kept the knob to navigate the menus, but you can still use your fingers. Now, the climate controls are displayed efficiently, and there's also a small cubby under them to store small items like cell phones. Moving in back, you will find a rear infotainment unit on each front headrest with all the necessary to plug any devices on the screen. Another benefit is the standard 17-speaker Bose sound system; the sound is crisp and loud, which was a huge plus on our 16-hour total journey.
Moving on to the driving experience, we had plenty of time in the driver's seat of the Infiniti QX80 AWD, but let's start with the numbers first. All QX80s are powered by the same 5.6L V8 engine, a reliable workhorse, which is one of the main benefits over its competitors. The engine is coupled to a seven-speed automatic transmission, and the total output is 400 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque. Although it's not the most powerful engine, it boasts a towing capacity of 8,500 lbs. Big V8 means big fuel consumption, and the story is not different here: the Infiniti QX80 is rated at 12.2L/100km on the highway and 17.5 in the city. We drove mainly on the highway, with four people and a couple of backpacks in the Adirondack mountains, and we averaged 12.9L/100km (18.3 mpg). In terms of speed, you won't be surprised to learn that this is no sportscar, going from 0 to 100kph in roughly 6.3 seconds.
As for the driving itself, we enjoyed the engine's sound upon starting the Infiniti QX80. It's got a nice, noticeable rumble that doesn't intrude too much in the cabin. When accelerating from a standstill, the engine sound makes the process more enjoyable for the driver. The vehicle lacks balance when accelerating or turning at high speeds, causing constant body roll, which can be annoying over time. The Japanese automaker has equipped this SUV with Hydraulic Body Motion Control to reduce the shifting balance, but the system isn't effective enough. The steering is vague; it can be irritating at low speeds since you have to move the wheel a lot to park the car. Also another drawback is the lack of a steering assist in the cruise control setup, especially at this price point.
Overall, the 2023 Infiniti QX80 Proactive is a vehicle on an old platform with a thirsty, reliable engine, an average interior and an uninspiring ride. If you're considering the Infiniti QX80, we recommend the base Luxe model, which starts at $90,136, nearly $20,000 less than its competitors. The good news is that Infiniti has released the concept for the next generation, expected to debut as a 2025 model. We cannot wait to see the finished product because, as the song says, the only way is up!
Infiniti has lent us this vehicle for one week as a press vehicle. We have no affiliation with Infiniti Canada. The above reflects our personal opinion of the car referred to above.