2021 Infiniti QX80 review: All that glitters is not gold

The QX80 casts an imposing shadow in site visitors. Andrew Krok/Roadshow The 2021 Infiniti QX80 is a fundamentally superior three-row luxury SUV. Having said that, context is usually essential, and when seen by the exact same lens as its more recent rivals — which includes a phone that is coming […]

The QX80 casts an imposing shadow in site visitors.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

The 2021 Infiniti QX80 is a fundamentally superior three-row luxury SUV. Having said that, context is usually essential, and when seen by the exact same lens as its more recent rivals — which includes a phone that is coming from within the property, so to converse — all its shiny bits may not be as vivid.


  • Sleek, powerful powertrain
  • Luxury-delicate ride
  • Oodles of passenger space

Don’t Like

  • Worse tech than the Armada
  • Ageing styling
  • Way way too thirsty

Premium seems to be and convenience galore

The 2021 Infiniti QX80 has cosmopolitan superior seems to be, some of which carry about from a 2018 update, although the relaxation stem from a 2020-product-12 months inside nip-tuck. Although the headlights and taillights now extra closely resemble other fashionable Infiniti designs, the common condition of the system stays the exact same from when it was identified as the QX56, which includes the rear bumper’s unattractive underbite. From a front three-quarter check out, though, it truly is fashionable in all the correct spots, and its 22-inch alloy wheels fill the wells with the correct kind of flashiness.

Context at the time once again arrives into play within the QX80. Although I like the layered dashboard, it seems to be decidedly previous when in contrast to other luxe three-rows this sort of as the Mercedes-Benz GLS, Cadillac Escalade or Lincoln Navigator. Heck, even the Nissan Armada — an SUV with which the QX80 shares a system — feels a stage in advance of the Infiniti in this office, in particular when the terrible two-monitor middle stack is the concentrate. Even so, there’s a lot of convenience to be discovered in below, with delicate leather on the seats and, well, just about all over the place you can get to.

Looking at the QX80 is about the dimensions of a pink dwarf star, it truly is no surprise that the next and third rows usually are not way too shabby for occupants, both. My Premium Select tester rocks two captain’s chairs in the next row that are just as comfortable as those in the 1st, separated by a middle console sizable adequate to deal with no matter what children want to throw at or in it. Slide both chair ahead and there’s sufficient area to sneak to the third row, which is roomy adequate to property grown ups, while maybe not for cross-place road outings without the need of some stops to stretch.

Luxury does not impugn on cargo capability both. With the third row up, the QX80 presents a commendable sixteen.6 cubic feet. Drop the third row, and that range expands to forty nine.6 cubes. Leave just the front row standing, and that range grows to a suitable ninety five.1 cubic feet. 

Plenty of motivation

The 2021 QX80 reminds me that occasionally there’s no alternative for displacement. All variants of Infiniti’s honkin’ three-row SUV arrive with a five.6-liter V8 making four hundred horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque, which is despatched to both two or four wheels (the latter on my tester) by a 7-pace automated transmission. Which is the specific exact same setup as the Armada, consider it or not.

Performance is even keeled across the two fraternal twins, as well. Irrespective of a porcine control pounds of about 6,000 lbs ., the V8 is eager to choose up the QX80’s nose and send the SUV careening ahead with minimum provocation. The transmission is easy for its age, but some downshifts choose a small more time to register than I might like. Towing fans will value all that hustle, mainly because that motive power grants the QX80 an 8,500-pound towing capability in equally 2WD and 4wd variants.

Comfort is at the forefront of the QX80 driving experience, and the result is satisfying. The steering is a touch overboosted, which helps make it a small less complicated to make directional improvements without the need of upsetting the SUV’s balance on its regular mounted suspension, factors can get a small system-roll-major if provoked to go way too speedily. Having said that, amongst the dampers and the 275/50R22 Bridgestone Dueler H/T tires, most road nastiness is vanquished just before it reaches the cabin. Highway and tire sounds are delightfully minimal in the cabin, way too.

All that motive power requires some thing to kick it off, and however, that some thing is a total good deal o’ gasoline.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

One issue that is minimal, and not in a superior way, is the QX80’s gas financial state. 4wd variants like my Premium Select tester realize an EPA-approximated 13 miles for every gallon metropolis and 19 mpg highway, with each individual range bumping up by 1 for 2WD designs. I’m generally rather easy on the throttle on the expressway, but reaching EPA estimates took a reasonable little bit of concerted work.

In all honesty, equally the Armada and QX80 travel nearly precisely the exact same. They come to feel rather similar on the road, whether it truly is steering come to feel or suspension or braking. They are equally capable of towing 8,500 lbs ., way too. One of those vehicles fees a couple thousand significantly less than the other. What you pick to do with that details is up to you.

Odd, previous infotainment

Infiniti requires to put its two-monitor infotainment setup on to a boat and ship it off to Valhalla. It is not essentially tough to use — the map lives on the top rated monitor, although most of the usual responsibilities are managed by the monitor below — it truly is just nowhere in the vicinity of as superior as what rivals can provide, like BMW’s iDrive or Mercedes-Benz’s MBUX. The graphics are considerably distinctive on each individual monitor, while I’m happy Infiniti upgraded the top rated display to a resolution that no more time resembles a Greatest Purchase-ordered Garmin, and neither layout truly screams “luxury vehicle” to me. At the very least there are actual physical buttons for the climate controls, which helps make adjusting them a breeze. The two screens are sufficiently responsive, though, and fashionable niceties like Apple CarPlay, Android Car and a Wi-Fi hotspot are all tucked in there.

Here is the major issue, though: The Nissan Armada’s new infotainment is leagues in advance of its luxury-oriented sibling’s, and for significantly less money, to boot. The layout is cleaner, the graphics seem like they had been intended inside of the final 12 months or two and Apple CarPlay is readily available wirelessly. I can only hope that this procedure helps make its way not just to the QX80, but to all Infiniti designs in the long term, mainly because it truly is significantly closer to what is expected in a luxury vehicle in this rate variety.

Even with distinct delineation of responsibilities, twin-monitor setups are generally extra distracting and tough to determine out than their solitary-monitor counterparts.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Even though my Premium Select tester just isn’t a variety-topping variant, it truly is continue to loaded with oodles of regular security tech. The window sticker contains ahead-collision warning, adaptive cruise handle, automated unexpected emergency braking, rear-door inform, blind-spot checking, lane-departure warning, lane-retaining guide and a bird’s-eye-check out observe. I’m not eager to use them most of the time, as I prefer to be in handle of this considerably momentum at all situations, but when I did engage the highway-welcoming stuff, it labored easily.

Down to brass tacks

The 2021 Infiniti QX80 has some stellar competitiveness, which places it in a tricky spot. The Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class and BMW X7 are significantly extra lavish, and equally are also extra satisfying to travel. The Lincoln Navigator can be optioned out in wild ways, supplying exclusive inside styling cues that even the Germans have difficulties matching.

But in all honesty, the QX80’s major competitor is the 2021 Nissan Armada, which presents the exact same driving experience and cabin space with improved technological know-how and, in my view, improved seems to be. My Premium Select tester is the midrange product, and with a smaller range of selections, its $seventy six,450 base rate bumps to almost $80,000 which includes $1,395 for desired destination. Nissan has not introduced pricing for the 2021 Armada as of this crafting, but it will unquestionably arrive in lower than this.

In a bubble, there’s a good deal to like about the 2021 QX80. It is a huge boy that presents sufficient inside space and leather-lined convenience on the road, and it truly is capable of towing a superior total of stuff thanks to a V8 that loves to go. But when placed against the context of its closest rivals, it begins to shed some of that luster.

Rosa G. Rose

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