The 2015 Infiniti QX80 is an imposing vehicle due in part for its bold styling, which gives it the look of a large locomotive. Its impressive presence, however, is balanced by its overall dimensions, which are a bit shorter and narrower than other full-size SUVs in its class, which consequently, makes it much easier to navigate in urban environs.

Spending a week with the QX80 in and around Chicago revealed its dual nature as a comfortable and spacious hauler on the freeways and a practical city commuter able to easily park in standard-sized stalls. Contributing to this all-around utility is a high seating position with great visibility and the suite of collision and blind spot warnings along with Infiniti's signature all-around view camera. There's plenty of technology here to make sure that you can get into and out of tight spaces without making contact with stationary or moving objects. 

Massive power

To go with the massive looks of the vehicle is a 5.6-liter V8 mated to a 7-speed automatic transmission that makes 400 horsepower. The Infiniti QX80 is quick on its feet and despite the vehicle's heft, delivered acceptable mileage in the high teens.  But even more impressive than the power is the vehicle's ride, thanks to its Hydraulic Body Motion Control system which counteracts body lean and gives the QX80 a supple ride without being floaty. 

Also: Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Awards of 2015

Our test vehicle featured front and second row captain's chairs with a third row bench that could accommodate up to 7 passengers in a pinch. The third row has some, but not a lot, of cargo space behind it, however, the power feature for the split folding back row made reconfiguring the load area for luggage on airport runs a breeze. In addition to carting around suitcases, we also found that the rear cargo area easily swallowed a bike with a liftover that is not as high as you think for a vehicle this tall.

Max luxury

Although the base price of our test vehicle was listed at $66,350, there were plenty of option packages that boosted the bottom line to $80,285 including destination. Among the more noteworthy items is the $2,100 driver's assist package including the bling spot warning, automatic backup collision braking, forward emergency braking and intelligent brake assist. For another $2,400, the QX80 has a theater package that features dual 7-inch rear monitors mounted in the front headrests along with heated rear seats and a remote system to flip the second row seats forward for better access to the third row. A deluxe technology package included the hydraulic body motion control, heated/cooled front seats, burl wood trim, lane departure warning and semi-aniline leather seating. The 22-inch aluminum alloy wheels with all-season rubber cost another $2,450.

The Infiniti QX80 backs this bold design statement with the kind of hardware and software (including a concierge service called Infiniti Personal Assistant) that discriminating buyers seek. It has power, prestige and, as our Chicago experience shows, the ability to cater to a wide range of needs.

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