The Infiniti QX80 is now ten years old in its current generation, but it doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. There are some things about it that maybe don’t match the luxury expectation for today’s SUV market, but when it comes to capability, plush comfort, and sheer massiveness, the QX80 still reigns.
Quick Specs & Info
|2020 Infiniti QX80
|Class: Full-sized Luxury SUV
|As Tested: Limited
|5.6L V8, Auto
|5.6L V8, Auto
|MSRP as tested
The 2020 QX80 gets a couple of upgrades this year, starting with a new and much more functional infotainment system. The two-screen system, now common across the Infiniti lineup, features some thing we aren’t fond of, such as a lack of screen swapping capability, but it breaks up technology in a way that makes it easier to use overall. Basically, one screen handles in-vehicle things like safety and climate while the other handles phone pairing, music, and navigation. This makes using the system more intuitive, once the split is understood, and allows a lot of information to be available to the driver and passengers without a lot of distracting screen swiping or button pushing. Plus Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integrate well with the new setup and are standard in the QX80.
The 2020 Infiniti QX80 seats seven or eight, depending on seating choice (7 in standard), has huge amounts of interior room, and can tow up to 8,500 pounds. That’s the core of this big luxury SUV, but not the extent of it.
Where the Infiniti stands out in against other SUVs is in its surprisingly good handling and drive appeal. The QX80 is huge both dimensionally and in mass. Yet it accelerates, brakes, and handles like a smaller sport utility half its size. This is a combination of excellent steering metrics and a strong drivetrain.
The 2020 QX80 uses a superbly done 5.6-liter V8 that produces 400 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque. This goes to a seven-speed automatic transmission that aggressively keeps lower gears for better power at lower speeds, and does so with a rear-wheel drivetrain. Rear-wheel drive is default in the Luxe base model and four-wheel drive is an upgrade option there that comes standard in the other trim level, the Limited.
There are several options packages for add-on to the QX80 Luxe. These include the ProAssist package for advanced safety and driver’s aids, the Theater package for rear seat entertainment, and the Sensory package with its 17-speaker Bose audio and quilted leather. We’d greatly suggest the ProActive package with its hydraulic body roll control system, which improves the ride and handling even further. All of these packages are standard in the Limited package at a mere $24,000 price jump. The Luxe model starts at $66,750 and the Limited starts at $91,450.
For that kind of money, you’d expect some serious luxury. Infiniti delivers, on most fronts, with a lot of included equipment as standard such as a 360-degree camera system, heated seating, a heated steering wheel, and a pretty great base level audio system that offers great sound. Everything feels luxurious and comfortable too. There’s no getting past the bulkiness of an SUV as large as the QX80, but Infiniti seems to embrace this quality rather than attempt to downplay it with extra padding or sophisticated design cues to draw the eye away from large surfaces. The 2020 QX80 is full of heavy-looking design items and space-emphasizing use of materials. Amazingly, this comforts with the appeal of the safety that bulkiness inherently implies to us. Even the third row has plush seats and the feeling of lots of room inside fat bulkheads.
The downer to a vehicle this large, of course, is fuel economy. The trade off here is that for the performance and capability, there has to be a loss in fuel economy. Still, once you’re in the kind of price point that would make a realtor think wooden signs are involved, fuel costs aren’t too prohibitive. Or even on the radar as a metric.
There’s a lot of goodness in a huge sport utility and the 2020 Infiniti QX80 exemplifies all of that goodness. The capability is outstanding and the drive quality is very good. All upsides.