2019 QX80 Limited: Keep moving, nothing to see here

By Jim Prueter

(December 30, 2018) Last year, we did a thorough review of the QX80, Infiniti’s flagship SUV. It had just received a complete refresh that included, among other things, improved interior materials, a modestly upgraded infotainment system, and new safety systems. We concluded, based on our impressions, that QX80 still fell short of newer and thoroughly upgraded competitors like Lincoln Navigator, Mercedes-Benz GLS and Range Rover.

Now, for 2019, Infiniti has introduced a special edition QX80 Limited, first previewed at the New York Auto Show last spring. So, what is it that makes the Limited that much different and nearly 40 percent more expensive than the base QX80 Luxe? And, is it worth the extra money?

To begin, the Limited is, well, limited to a choice of just five exterior colors: white, black, dark blue, silver and dark gray. If you like any of the colors other than dark blue and silver, it’ll cost you an extra $500. Our test Limited was finished with the extra-cost Anthracite Gray finish, exclusive to the Limited.

Other exclusive features include all-wheel-drive and massive 22-inch black painted wheels, and dark satin chrome trim on the front grille and surround, door handles, roof rack, lower front and back valance, and rear liftgate. Illuminated stainless steel running boards and a “LIMITED” emblem for the rear hatch are also part of the package.

Inside, there’s exclusive heated and ventilated two-tone stone-colored semi-aniline leather seating with “Limited” embossed on the upper seat backs, along with a black Ultrasuede headliner. Interior trim includes dark silver open pore Ash wood and satin chrome trim elements about the center console, steering wheel, instrument panel, center stack, and door handles. And don’t look for Wi-Fi hot-spot capability, wireless Smartphone charging, Apple CarPlay, or Android Auto because they aren’t available.

Unfortunately, the Limited upgrades are almost exclusively cosmetic and don’t extend to its massive 5.6-liter 400-horsepower V-8 engine and seven-speed automatic transmission, or upgraded suspension modifications.

Much about the QX80 hasn’t changed, including the body-on-frame, truck-based chassis that delivers a ride and handling experience that’s far from sporting or precise. The steering, while light to the touch, is vague with little driver communication. The Limited also comes standard with the Deluxe Technology Package and a Hydraulic Body Motion Control system. To me, there was no discernible difference with it, and the QX80 still felt top-heavy and clumsy on the road.

Still, the cabin is exceptionally quiet, the ride smooth, plush and comfortable. The 5.6L 400-horsepower V-8 engine, connected to a seven-speed automatic transmission is also a carryover, as is the dismal fuel economy. But, power comes on instantly, moving this hulking beast with imperturbable poise and power.

Overall, the new Limited is a good addition to the QX80 model offerings, but still isn’t the best-looking full-sized SUV on the market, and is further hindered by its decade-old platform, seriously outdated infotainment system, unrefined ride and handling, dismal fuel economy, and out-of-style interior. Combine that with a sticker price of over $91,000 our advice is to keep moving. There’s nothing to see here.

Vital Stats
Base Price: $91,095
Price as Tested: $91,950
Powertrain: 5.6L 400hp V8 with seven-speed automatic transmission
Fuel Economy: 13-MPG City – 19-MPG Highway – 15-MPG Combined
Seating: 7

Crash Test Results: The QX80 has not been crash tested for results by either the NHTSA or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

Competes With:
Cadillac Escalade Platinum
Land Rover Range Rover
Lexus LX
Lincoln Navigator Black Label
Mercedes-Benz GLS

Fab Features
Roomy, quiet, comfortable
Priced lower than competitors