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2016 Infiniti QX80 : Review

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2016 Infiniti QX80 3 560x280In automotive market time, the 2016 Infiniti QX80 is an old design, but it’s one that wears its age very well. A few updates were made for this new model year, including some exterior changes. A few small tweaks to the interior also update this new QX. Outside of small details, in essence, the 2016 QX80 is as it’s always been; Big, bold, and muscular. The QX80 is still a top contender in the luxury sport utility market and competes well against others in its price range, such as the Lexus LX, Mercedes-Benz GL, and the Land Rover LWB.

The 2016 Infiniti QX80 offers a lot of interior bang for the buck, solid performance, and the most statement-making styling in the segment. Those alone are reasons to love this big SUV, but its added performance and extras make it more than compelling.

Exterior

2016 Infiniti QX80 1 560x280The QX80’s exterior is all about making a statement. That statement is that this is one massive SUV and its owner is proud of that fact. There’s no question as to this big Infiniti’s bulk and that it laughs at words like “austerity.” When the big QX pulls up, you know it’s a powerful SUV and that luxury is its greatest highlight. For many buyers in the luxury utility segment, that’s what they want to portray.

The rounded fascia of the 2016 QX80 is dominated by a big, almost truck-like grille topped by a long, flat hood that bulges just enough to promise power residing underneath. Flared fenders at front and rear help de-emphasize the squared build of the bodywork, while further hinting at the truck’s power.

The Infiniti QX80 creates luxury through the rounded edges of its body, chrome adornments, huge ornate wheels, and sharp pulls on the corners of its fascia. These add elegance to what would otherwise be seen as a hulking SUV. They’re just enough to temper the throwback plain nature of a sport utility of this size, but not so much that they make it look weak or smaller than it is. It’s a careful balance and Infiniti’s designers found the fulcrum and placed it well.

Interior

2016 Infiniti QX80 Interior 1 560x280Inside the 2016 Infiniti QX80 is one of the most invitingly beautiful cabins you’ll find in this luxury segment. The quality of materials is matched only by the high degree of workmanship found within the SUV. The number of controls and buttons may seem like a pilot’s cockpit at first glance, but a few moments in the driver’s seat creates a soothing feeling of competence when the intelligent layout of the controls is felt.

Front row passengers are treated to top-notch seating and second row occupants will find themselves in a far more comfortable and luxurious place than they might expect. The third row is mainly for children, but still large enough that adults can use it in a pinch.

Behind that third row is 16.6 cubic feet of cargo space, expanding to 49.6 with the third row folded down (a simple button push makes that happen). With all rows folded, 95 cubic feet are made available – more than many New York City apartments.

Infotainment is centered on an 8-inch touchscreen, which features basic smartphone connectivity, navigation, voice control, and Bose sound as standard equipment. A 360-degree camera system (called AroundView) is also standard equipment in the QX80. The infotainment interface is basic, but well-done and graphics are crisp. Compared to other luxury SUVs in the segment, the Infiniti is up to snuff in terms of what’s offered. A dual-screen rear entertainment system and a tech upgrade to add Infiniti’s version of NissanConnect apps are available as upgrades.

Performance

2016 Infiniti QX80 4 560x280The big QX80 is powered by a well-established 5.6-liter V8 that outputs 400 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque. This big engine runs through a seven-speed automatic transmission in rear-wheel drive. Four-wheel drive is optional and adds offroad low gearing through the transfer case. A tow package is optional and adds a self-leveling feature to the rear suspension and up to 8,500 pounds of pulling capacity.

The EPA rates the 2016 QX80 at 16 mpg combined in RWD and 15 mpg combined in 4WD. Our 4WD model was rated at 13 mpg in the city and 19 mpg on the highway. We averaged 14 mpg overall in our week with the SUV.

2016 Infiniti QX80 560x187For all of its bulk and presence, the Infiniti QX80 is surprisingly nimble on the road. The optional Hydraulic Body Motion Control System, which helps stabilize the body during maneuvers, is well worth the added cost for its confidence building. The forgiving suspension isn’t too cushy in the corners and for those who prefer higher amounts of feedback when driving, the 22-inch wheel upgrade adds a little extra stiffness to the ride to give that.

The QX80 is more than capable off the road, though we note that the factory tires are primarily for highway use and more aggressive tread would be needed to really put the big Infiniti through its paces. Most will probably find that the factory tires are good enough for what they need, however, getting the family and a camp trailer to the lake without trouble. Dirt or no. Again, the optional hydraulic BMCS goes a long way here.

Overview

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Most buyers in this big luxury SUV segment are looking to spend about $80,000 and for that price, a well-equipped 2016 QX80 can be had readily. There is plenty of value for those dollars spent given the QX80’s capability and refinement. Comparing the big Infiniti to the lower-priced Cadillac Escalade, for example, shows that the QX has more to offer all the way around and compared to Lexus’ redesigned LX 570, the QX80 retains a better value proposition; though we note that the LX is far more competent off the road in its factory configuration.

All told, though, the 2016 Infiniti QX80 offers a uniquely bold style and allure that no other luxury SUV can match. We are hard pressed to argue with that appeal.

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