Infiniti QX80 — An appealing large SUV

By David Finkelstein

It wasn't that long ago that the 2015 Infiniti QX80 was named the highest ranked Large Premium SUV in the annual J.D. Power U.S. Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout Study.

"The JD Power APEAL Study represents a deep dive into every aspect of what owners appreciate about their new purchases or leases — from appearance, driving performance and safety features to all the little details that make you fall in love with, or out of, a vehicle," said Randy Parker, vice president, Infiniti Americas.

"The large premium SUV segment includes some very impressive competitors, so it is especially gratifying to have our owners rank the QX80 at the top of the segment."

To “fast forward” to the 2016 version, owners were asked the top reasons why they would purchase an SUV of this magnitude and the general consciences across was pretty much the same — they wanted premium exterior styling, notable interior roominess and superior ride/handling characteristics.

The 2016 version delivers on all of these bullet points — and more! This product offers up a unique combination of inspired design and performance that makes it stand out in the luxury performance full-size SUV class. Some of the underlining highlights include the standard Infiniti Hard Drive Navigation System, available Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection system, optional Bose 13-speaker Premium Audio System and available Bose Cabin Surround Sound System that also includes a digital 5.1 decoding and 15 high end audio speakers.

Powering this three-row herculean sport utility vehicle is a rugged 400-horsepower 5.6-liter V8 engine. Its matched with a 7-speed automatic transmission. With its high capacity performance output, it further allows owners of the QX80 to easily tow up to 8,500 pounds and still feature notable acceleration. That's even with up to eight occupants on-board.

The EPA numbers reflect the size and horsepower of the Infiniti — 13 mpg city/19 mpg highway and combined average fuel consumption of 15 mpg.

This titanic size SUV is offered in three models: QX80, QX80 AWD and QX80 AWD Limited, which happens to be their most premium SUV ever offered by the brand. QX80 with rear-wheel-drive has a base MSRP of $63,250. If you wish the all-wheel-drive version, the price point is $66,350. The flagship all-wheel-drive Limited shows $88,850. Interesting as it is, pricing for all three models remain unchanged from the previous model year.

Based in fact that the crowd-pleasing QX80 received an extensive exterior redesign change just last year, the new model adds Infiniti’s first limited production Signature Edition for the '16 model year. The Signature Edition also includes the full content of the Driver Assistance and Split Bench packages, along with exclusive Saddle Tan high-contrast interior, bodyside moldings and chrome mirror caps. The Signature Edition has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price of just $1,000 over a base QX80.

QX80’s vast exterior design features a powerful and dominating front end appearance highlighted by a large upper and lower grilles, front fascia with LED high/low beam headlights, LED turn signals, LED fog lights, and a body-colored bumper with flush-mounted sonar sensors.

The AWD Limited rendition features dark chrome 22-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, dark chrome interior trim, stainless steel running board caps with rubber grips, under running board welcome puddle lighting, darkened headlight inner lens, darkened taillight inner lens, dark chrome A-pillar covers and three unique exterior colors — Imperial Black, Mocha Almond and Dakar Bronze. Also for 2016, the Hermosa Blue exterior color is added to the QX80 AWD Limited’s color palette.

The AWD system is selectable with a large rotary controller positioned near the transmission drive gear selector. The vehicles cavernous interior is without doubt stupendous with even a first glance. It now features two interior color atmospheres — Wheat or Graphite leather-appointed seating, along with two interior finisher colors.

The Limited’s eye candy interior includes rich Truffle Brown leather appointments with a unique quilted diamond pattern, ash wood finish trim, Ultrasuede headliner and support pillars, leather-covered grab handles and speaker grilles, unique floor and trunk mats and unique silver switchgear on the center stack.

However, lacking is an electronic operated parking brake and multiple USB ports for added suitability.

As expected from Infiniti Motors, the 2016 model offers a range of meaningful and welcomed advanced safety and driving technologies. This includes Forward Emergency Braking and Predictive Forward Collision Warning, Backup Collision Intervention, Intelligent Cruise Control, Blind Spot Warning and Distance Control Assist.

With what appears to be an endless number of operating switches and driver input controls, you'll need to get busy and review the owners manual in order to take full advantage of this sizable SUV's intended hefty and renowned capabilities. To further help persuade shoppers in this specialty cavernous SUV segment, all 2016 Infiniti QX80's come with the factories 4-year/60,000 mile basic limited warranty. Also included is the 6-year/70,000 powertrain coverage.

The Limited AWD version I test drove had a posted sticker price of $89,845 including shipping and destination charges.