By Don Fuller, Contributing Editor
KBB Expert Rating: 7.0
The 2016 Infiniti QX80 ranks in the uppermost tier of full-size SUVs; it’s big, spacious, capable, smooth as clouds, luxurious as a weekend in Monaco, powerful as a connected politician. It offers 7- or 8-passenger seating in three rows, has every technological feature and convenience imaginable, and competes with the Lexus LX, Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, Range Rover Sport, Cadillac Escalade and Lincoln Navigator. No slackers, these; all are giant on the outside, posh on the inside, capable everywhere. This does not come for pocket change; a starting price around $65,000 and a 5.6-liter V8 that makes 400 horsepower but uses a lot of gas doing it can dent the monthly cash flow. But, at this level, that’s just the price of entry.
You want to haul up to eight people in opulence and tow up to 8,500 pounds, or you want to be able to, or you want people to know you can. The Infiniti QX80 will do all of that, and more, and at a price that’s competitive in the class.
Look; this is a really big, expensive vehicle that is not easy on gas. Very few people can justify such a thing as a “need.” All sorts of choices are less expensive to buy and use, easier to park, and will still haul the kids to school.
KBB Expert Ratings
For 2016 Infiniti’s QX80 is essentially carryover. There’s a new Signature Edition, with Driver Assistance and Split Bench seating, Saddle Tan interior, body-side moldings and chrome mirror caps.
Typical of most full-size SUVs, the Infiniti QX80 has a body-on-frame construction on a truck-type chassis; yet it handles and rides exceptionally well. Helping is the optional Hydraulic Body Motion...
... Control, which reduces body lean in corners and enhances the ride. Even though the QX80 weighs almost three tons, the 5.6-liter V8 and its 7-speed transmission move it with certainty but not without pouring in some gas. The big QX80 really comes into its own on the highway; the interior is quiet as a library after closing time and the ride defines “smooth.” In tighter spaces, such as the coveted front row in the grocery-store parking lot, that size is problematical, but the Around View camera and front and rear parking sensors help describe the boundaries. The all-wheel drive (AWD) offers high- and low-range modes but if you purposely take this thing off-road, you’re sort of missing the point.
PREDICTIVE FORWARD-COLLISION WARNING
The safest vehicle is the one that doesn’t get into a wreck in the first place, and this feature can help keep wrecks from happening. If a vehicle ahead of the one in front of you starts stopping suddenly, the QX80 delivers an alert so you can take appropriate action.
ALL THE OTHER DRIVING AIDS/SAFETY FEATURES
The QX80 is chock-full of useful driving aids and safety features, including blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning and the innovative Backup Collision Intervention that can actually apply the brakes to avoid a collision when traveling in reverse.
Buyers of high-end SUVs expect the utmost in luxury, and the 2016 Infiniti QX80 certainly delivers. There is seating for either seven or eight passengers in three rows; with seven the middle row has wonderful captain’s chairs, with eight it’s a folding bench. Either way, both the front and second rows deliver generous space in all directions. Third-row seats are smaller, but still suitable for most adults, and have convenient power folding. Everywhere is lots of leather and wood, and every surface, every material, every shape reminds the fortunate owner that this is a premium way to travel.
On the highway or while parked, the 2016 Infiniti QX80 is about as unnoticeable as a marching band. Up front is one of the boldest statements of a grille, headlight and hood layout that you’ll find. Along the front fenders are big chrome vents. Large windows provide good views. Massive rear lights wrap around the corners and stretch well into the liftgate. From every angle there is lots of chrome. Like it, love it, merely tolerate it; nobody will miss the QX80 as it stretches nearly 209 inches long and stands almost 76 inches tall. No apologies here.
There are three “levels” -- QX80 (with rear-wheel drive [RWD]), QX80 AWD (all-wheel drive) and QX80 AWD Limited. Standard equipment includes leather seating, navigation system, power liftgate, tri-zone climate control, moonroof, heated front seats and steering wheel, power tilt/telescoping steering column, Around View monitor with Moving Object Detection, one year of a complimentary subscription to the Infiniti Connection telematics system with concierge service and vehicle information sent to your phone, a 13-speaker Bose AM/FM/CD/DVD Premium Audio System with USB connection and Bluetooth streaming, and front and rear sonar parking sensors.
The QX80 Limited adds Welcome Lighting under stainless-steel side steps, Truffle Brown leather with silver stitching, Matte Finish Ash Wood accents and many additional trim and luxury appearance items. Most options are bundled into various packages: A Driver Assistance Package, which we recommend, includes several safety features; the Theatre Package brings entertainment items; a Tire and Wheel Package includes 22 x 8.0-inch 14-spoke wheels; and a Split Bench Seat Package increases seating capacity from seven to eight passengers.
Infiniti’s QX80 is powered by an impressive 5.6-liter V8 that makes 400 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque. Both RWD and AWD models have Hill Start Assist and Snow Mode to help you get moving when roads are slick. AWD models operate with a rear-drive bias but constantly adjust power between the front and rear wheels as necessary. All models feature a 7-speed automatic transmission with a manual-shift mode and downshift rev-matching. Towing capacity is a stout 8,500 pounds. One compromise to such a big and powerful SUV is fuel efficiency, or lack thereof. With RWD the EPA fuel-economy numbers are 14 mpg in the city, 20 mpg on the highway, and with AWD those numbers fall to 13 and 19.
400 horsepower @ 5,800 rpm
413 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/20 mpg (RWD), 13/19 mpg (AWD)
The 2016 Infiniti QX80 has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting around $65,000 for a RWD model; adding AWD is roughly $3,000 more. Adding most option packages can increase the price by several thousand dollars and a fully loaded Infiniti QX80 AWD Limited can be well over $80,000. We recommend the Driver Assistance Package and its safety enhancements. At its entry price, the QX80 is in line with the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, Range Rover Sport and Lincoln Navigator and undercuts the starting prices of the Cadillac Escalade and Lexus LX 570. Be sure to check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for the 2016 Infiniti QX80. The QX80's long-term resale value is expected to be good; better than those of the Lincoln or Cadillac, similar to that of the Mercedes but somewhat behind that of the segment leader, the Lexus LX.