Motoring - A new model with little upgrades: The 2017 Infiniti QX80 model may not be too different from its past, but still valid to try out
Credit: NAUMAN FAROOQ
The 2017 Infiniti QX80 model may not be much different from its previous versions, but is still something to look into and test out for yourself.
Once upon a time, if you were in the market for a really large, luxury SUV, your choices were to buy American, or buy... err... American. Then, in 2004, Nissan’s luxury division, Infiniti, launched the QX56. This Japanese SUV offering could stand shoulder to shoulder with the likes of the Cadillac Escalade and the Lincoln Navigator. Throw in the usual Japanese refinement and quality, plus a competitive price, meant that Infiniti sold quite a bundle of their QX56. Due to the success of this model, Infiniti decided to keep the product in its portfolio, and gave it an all-new and improved model in 2010.
In 2014 however, Infiniti adopted a new naming strategy for their models, which resulted in the QX56 to be renamed QX80.
The name change brought a few styling updates with it, but nothing really serious – you have to be a bit of a car nerd to spot the detail differences.
The last time I reviewed the QX80 was back in 2015, so have things changed much since then? No, not really.
The chassis, body, and most of the tech have remained unchanged, and that includes the drivetrain. Under the hood is the same 5.6 litre V8 engine, that actually first showed up when the very first QX56 went on sale in 2004. Old this motor may be, but it is still quite good. Max power output is 400 horsepower and 413 pounds per foot of torque – very impressive, especially since it doesn’t rely on turbochargers or superchargers.
Power is routed to all-wheels via a seven-speed automatic gearbox that is very smooth. Thanks to its tall ratios, this hefty (curb weight 2,671 kilograms) SUV can still manage a city and highway combined run consuming 14.7 litre per 100 kilometres. OK, that might not sound great, if you’re currently driving a Nissan Micra, but in the world of ultra-luxury SUVs, that figure is quite impressive.
One thing to keep in mind though, is that while the QX80 has an intelligent all-wheel drive system (and it has terrain and weather modes), it has a rear-wheelbase, so when the weather is being a bit slippery, be careful with the throttle, as snappy oversteer is a possibility – trust me, I speak from experience.
For 99.9 per cent of the time, you can just sit back and relax in the QX80. The ride is wonderful, it just irons out all the imperfections on the road. It is also very quiet, which means, your mind will feel very relaxed, even after a long drive. Handling however, is not its strong point, nor should you expect it from a vehicle that is like a rhino on wheels!
Given its girth, the QX80 is not easy to park, however, its reversing camera and around-view monitoring system does help you a lot in this regard.
In regards to luxury, it has pretty much everything you’d wish for, especially if you pick the ‘Limited’ model, like my tester. Not only did it have arm chairs up front, but also in the middle row – this is like a proper limo, almost!
I say, almost, because, while those middle row seats are like armchairs, it would have been nicer if they offered electrical reclining and a massaging function – even the front seats could have benefited from a massage feature – and while it did have a DVD player (with wireless headphones) for back seat entertainment, the screens are quite old, and not nearly as clear as the latest LCD screens.
In many areas then, the current QX80 is showing its age. It is a good vehicle, which cuts quite a pose wherever you go, but the competition has moved on – so Infiniti needs to come out with an all-new model, before the current model is looked upon as a living dinosaur!
The current Infiniti QX80 might not be perfect, but I still quite enjoyed my time with it. Prices start at $75,650 – my top of the line ‘Limited’ tester stickered at $93,800.
Is it worth it? If you’re looking for the latest and greatest in technology, then no. However, if you want a proper tank of an SUV, that will give you reliable service for a decade, then the QX80 is hard to beat.