Despite the popularity of new smaller crossover utility vehicles, large, luxurious SUVs are still holding their own quite well. These are the modern examples of craftsmanship, design, engineering, and opulence. Perhaps nowhere is that more evident right now than in the new 2018 Infiniti QX80.
Infiniti has given its flagship QX80 a makeover for model year 2018 and that begins with the new face of the luxury division of Nissan. This new design language is dubbed “Powerful Elegance” and it works quite well on this large land yacht. Granted, the best makeover for any modern vehicle came when Infiniti updated the QX about eight years ago and this time around changes are not quite so drastic. Subtle, yes, but appreciated. Designers have removed some of the “plump” factor to give the new QX80 a bit more athletic look. Engineers have addressed some suspension aspects for a more refined ride on all road surfaces and the interior is almost like a palace.
The experience of this big luxury SUV is a commanding ride that occupies a good bit of real estate yet is surprisingly easy to drive. It seats up to eight in three rows and offers configurable interior arrangements to allow for cargo or occupants depending on need. The second-row seats are flip and fold for easy access to the rear while the third row can be operated via switches in the rear for greater ease. We found this a great attribute while on a grocery run as the big Infiniti has a max cargo volume of 95.1 cubic feet.
The QX80 is powered by one engine and transmission choice, that being a very smooth yet powerful 5.6-liter V-8 generating 400hp and 413 lb. ft. torque. It is mated to a smooth-shifting seven-speed automatic transmission with adaptive shift control and manual shift mode. Infiniti offers QX80 in two- and four-wheel drive. Our tester arrived in the latter which features an automatic mode for daily driving that will automatically send power to the front wheels should any slippage be detected. High- and low-range settings are available as conditions warrant and the QX80 features active brake limited slip that works with all four wheels for maximum traction. It rides on four-wheel independent suspension with front and rear anti-roll stabilizer bars and there is a new hydraulic body motion control system available to limit body roll when cornering.
The interior is an environment that was not easy to leave each time I drove the QX80. Seating is uber-comfortable yet supportive and every creature comfort you could think of was in our test model. The theater package added entertainment for the rear passengers while heated and ventilated semi-aniline leather seats with quilting and heated steering wheel kept me comfy up front. And of course, I enjoyed the upgraded Bose 15-speaker Cabin Surround premium audio system. Also on this Deluxe Technology package was the smart rearview mirror that features rear camera mode at the flip of a switch. At the heart of the infotainment system is the 8-inch color touchscreen display with Infiniti InTouch navigation and suite of services as well as console controller for easy access and use.
In addition to the host of standard safety equipment that all modern vehicles now arrive with, our test model QX80 featured the driver assistance package consisting of the likes of backup collision intervention, blind spot warning, blind spot intervention, lane departure warning, lane departure prevention, intelligent cruise control, distance control assist, forward emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and predictive forward collision warning.
Pricing for the new 2018 Infiniti QX80 begins at $64,750 with our loaded 4WD test model arriving with a final window sticker of $85,160. Fuel economy is rated for 13 mpg city and 19 mpg highway. This big luxury SUV is heavy and does use quite a bit of fuel but thank goodness gas is still relatively inexpensive.
In mixed driving, we found the new QX80 to quite comfortable and very well controlled. It is extremely quiet inside and very powerful. All of the vehicle functions were easy to use and required little, if any, acclimation time to their operation and use. Everything was extremely intuitive in the big Infiniti, which is a nod to its designers and engineers. They have done their homework and score very highly with this 2018 QX80.
“The new Infiniti QX80 has been designed and engineered to allow customers to travel everywhere in luxury,” said Christian Meunier, Infiniti Global Division Vice President. “Our flagship SUV features a high-quality, hand-crafted interior, creating a driver-centric, passenger-minded space for inclusive, modern luxury travel.”
While the Infiniti QX80 is right at home in driveways across North America, it is helping fuel the growing market demand across the globe for large, luxury SUVs. The updates to the newest flagship from the automaker are setting the bar even higher for competitors but I see no signs of any of them resting back on their laurels as this segment is as heated as any in the consumer market these days. The 2018 QX80 will have you feeling like royalty whether heading to work or out on a night on the town. Its powerful presence and host of creature comforts make it a worthy choice when shopping this segment.