If you like big, macho, no-nonsense and no-compromise luxury SUVs, you’re not going to be left wanting with the 2019 Infiniti QX80. It might not be the newest kid on the full-size luxury SUV block, but it is aging remarkably well. It definitely checks a lot of the most important boxes for a vehicle in this segment, especially compared to rivals in the same marketplace.
The only problem this impressive SUV really has is convincing you to choose it over some of the competition. It may be as luxurious, capable, and versatile as any of its rivals (and much more affordable than some of them), but the question is always going to be is it affordable enough to stop you from paying more for a Cadillac, Mercedes, BMW, or Range Rover badge instead. Let’s try and answer the question by looking at the QX80 in a little more detail.
Infiniti updated the exterior styling of the QX80 last year, which those of you with longer memories might know was called the QX56 until it was renamed as the QX80 for the 2014 model year. This year it gets a much more likable front grille and some sharper, more modern headlights. Infiniti has done away with the under-bite and excessive bling of previous incarnations. The QX80 hasn’t been made pretty or sporty, but it has been brought up to date a little.
Full-size SUVs don’t tend to attempt sleek, sporty styling, and the Infiniti QX80 is no exception. Almost every element of the exterior styling has been modernized and improved, and the designed should be congratulated for that. It’s not as stylish as a Range Rover or an Audi, and it’s not as unique as a Cadillac Escalade, but it does occupy an interesting space somewhere between those two camps.
If you’re one of those people who start to lose interest when someone starts talking about fuel-efficiency, and how gas-electric hybrids can save polar bears and the ice caps, you might have a sneaking admiration for a model like the QX80. It might not be as politically incorrect as a heavy-duty diesel pickup truck, but it’s getting there.
Only one engine is available in the 2019 Infiniti QX80 lineup, but it’s a good one. The unit in question is a 5.6-liter V-8 that puts out 400 horsepower and 413 lb.-ft. of torque, which is exclusively mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel-drive is the standard format, but all versions can be upgraded to four-wheel-drive (which is standard with the Limited model).
When properly equipped, the Infiniti can tow up to 8,500 pounds. While that’s not as much as a Suburban or an Expedition, don’t forget that this is a luxury model first and foremost, so that level of towing is probably par for the course with an SUV like this. Despite plenty of power, this is still a huge vehicle and it’s not going to feel very quick as a result. With four-wheel drive versions having a two-speed transfer case, the Infiniti can handle a bit of the rough stuff when the tarmac runs out. The 20-inch wheels might not help with off-road capability, especially when upgraded further to 22s, but the QX80 isn’t really designed to be a genuine mud-plugger anyhow.
Set aside what you may or may not think about the Infiniti branding for a moment, and then you can revel in the opulence of what has to be one of the most comfortable cabins of any vehicle costing this type of money. A comfortable interior is the most basic credential for any would-be luxury vehicle, and the QX80 passes that particular test with flying colors. You can get better in another vehicle, but only by paying the kind of money that would get you two of these SUVs.
All the basics of high seating position, plenty of room, and excellent outward visibility are covered. The standard leather upholstery is mighty impressive even before you get to the pure opulence of the Limited model’s superior hides.
Every seat inside the QX80 is all-day comfortable. The front seats in every model are heated, and a lot of available stock will have been optioned with a package that adds cooling to the front seats too. There’s a massive 41 inches of legroom in the second-row seats, but like most three-row SUVs, the seats right at the back are probably best kept for the kids.
On the downside, you’ll only find 16.6 cu.-ft. of cargo space behind the third-row seats, but the better news is the third-row in every model is power-folding and can be dropped to open up a much more user-friendly 25 cu.-ft.
It’s perhaps not as straightforward as you might like when it comes to ordering a QX80. The three basic trim levels are the Luxe, Luxe 4WD and the Limited 4WD, but then you add on the upgrade packages you want to get the specific upgrade features you need. These include the ProASSIST, Theater, 22-inch Wheel and Tire, Split Bench Seat, Sensory, and ProACTIVE packages. The ProASSIST package includes an impressive array of safety features, the Sensory package is all about entertainment and comfort, and the ProACTIVE package adds more safety and comfort tech like Hydraulic Body Motion Control that some would consider essential.
- Better styling than previously
- Powerful V-8
- Superb interior
- Quick and quiet
- One of the more aged models in its class
- Big, bulky and a bit ungainly
- Questionable handling
- Thirsty for gas
The Last Word
It’s interesting trying to identify exactly where the 2019 Infiniti QX80 sits in the full-size luxury SUV segment because it’s available in quite a wide range of prices. At its starting MSRP of $64,400, the QX80 can look and feel like pretty decent value, and adding 4WD only lifts the price up to $68,500. However, go for a Limited and the price jumps to $90,100, and that’s before you starting loading up with the upgrade packages you’re sure to want for a vehicle at that level.
Our advice would be to stick with the Luxe models and add the ProASSIST package. That way you get a genuine luxury full-size SUV with all the comfort and capability you could want at a reasonable price and a vehicle that will tell people you’ve put some thought and consideration into your purchase instead of doing the lazy thing of choosing one of the usual suspects.