The Infiniti QX80: A powerful contender in a crowded Luxury SUV space
Updated: Feb 16, 2022
WHY THIS SUV MATTERS
I’m staring at this beautiful behemoth thinking about how impressive it is. Its important to Infinity and it's positioned to appeal to a unique buyer. The Infiniti QX80 is the brand’s largest SUV, positioned above the QX50, QX55, and QX60. The large luxurious three row SUV arrives at around $71,995.
The problem? It's in a very competitive segment which makes it difficult for consumers looking for a big vehicle like this to decide between one or the other. It's the little things that will make a difference and I hope to point out a few.
I've read and heard some auto critics claim that the QX80 is basically a stylized Nissan Armada with a little higher cost. Well that's a matter of opinion but I say the independent suspension and the sweet smooth ride as well as the 400 horsepower V8 that gives it lots of competitive selling points beyond the Armada.
The competition? Still there's the BMW X7, the Mercedes-Benz GLS class, the Mercedes-Benz AMG GLS 63 4matic which is significantly higher at 135,000, the Jeep Grand Wagoneer, the Lexus LX I just five others in this tough class but let's break down what makes this vehicle special.
The first thing you look inside is the design and layout of the interior, it's luxurious and plush with stylish upscale leather, textures, and appointments.
The front driver, passenger dash, seats and center stack
Looking at the dash, there's beautiful stitching that separates the dash shelf from the driver information area and the center stack. That driver info gauge features two circular readouts on either side.
The steering wheel is stylized with black gloss on the outside and leather on the back side with stitching.
The center stack is bold with the infotainment system protruding out and beautiful stylish leather columns on either side of the stack. The 12.3 inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android features knobs to control your volume and tuner and under that a chrome encased set of air vents with additional climate control knobs and buttons underneath stylized with black gloss and chrome lines.
Hit the button underneath the air and climate controls and you've got a nice little storage area. Beneath that you've got your charger inlets for your cell phone. The separating area between the passenger and driver seats is as gorgeous as the rest of the area with more leather trimming around the outside, black stylish gloss on the inside with chrome trimming and a knob that enables you to use your modes options like snow, and towing. Behind that are your two cup holders and to the left your gear stick with leather casing and the Infinity insignia. It's all beautifully done, well designed and organized. Between the seats is an exceptionally large pull out storage space that you can tug lots of stuff in there believe me I did. The BOSE speaker system is stylish with three speakers tucked into the forward area and into the driver and passenger doors.
Sitting in the seats is like sitting in the captain's chairs of the home. They’re big, fat and comfy. The oversized headrests add to the comfort and soft sweet leather is good for the body and the soul. The doors are well designed with the two-tone mix of a dark khaki and this case with water wave designs stitched into the leather. That's pretty impressive from an artistic standpoint. The armrest on either door is thick and the window controls and lock controls for the door as well as the mirror are tucked in near the handle. Back to the The Bose speaker system tucked beautifully (Chromed out) in the door. Its a dynamic 13-speaker stereo that Bose delivers.
There's plenty of places to store lots of stuff on the bottom of the door as well as an additional speaker to the forward bottom of that door. There's also wireless charging devices and lots of charger ports that include USB outlets. The QX 80 gets 10 cool points for the front driver, passenger, dash and center and divider design and functionality.
The second row seating
Let's go to the second row where it gets interesting to say the least. Sitting in the second row is comfortable because there's ample head and leg space. Looking straight ahead, you've got an entertainment screen integrated into the back of the driver and passenger seat headrests. The entertainment system includes a rear seat setup with two 8-in screens tucked into the back of the front seat headrests, but that's going to come with the top of the line sensory trim option. The seats are comfy and feature a design stitching that sets the vibe.
The back of the driver's seat has a place to store items for the passenger in the second row,
Climate controls in the center front between the passenger and driver seats compliment the second row experience. There are buttons to activate that heats your seats, and other outlets to charge your phones. There's a theater package which is optional that will add a USB port and an additional 120 volt outlet. There's also plugs way down below tucked away nicely. Between the two second row seats is a large storage area that's quite functional as well. In the front there's a pull out storage space that you might miss if you don't look forward. It's pretty large and the area is color coordinated with more khaki brown leather with stylish stitch trimming. The center area is a push button open space for two cups or bottles. Pull back the storage box behind it and you've got close to a foot more of storage space. That's where we kept the headphones for the screened entertainment. The seats are very comfortable and also easy to operate.
The doors on the second row passenger area are pretty much the same as the front rows. The air vents are on either side above the doors and there's a handle to help yourself in and out above the doors as well. The second row has captain's chairs that can be exchanged for a three seat bench style configuration. All in all, the seating is excellent, the technology is excellent and the storage is excellent. The QX80 gets twenty cool points for this amazing interior.
The Third row seating
Let's go to the third row seating. I thought it would be a pain in the butt to try to get myself back there, but I was extremely happy to know that there was a great system for getting back there. To get into the third row you're simply pull forward or pull up on the lever second row seat which will cause the back to flip down and the bottom to flip up creating a passageway spacious enough to comfortably get into that third row.
Gotta love it.
The first thing I noticed being a tall guy is the fact that I can actually sit back there. All the luxury in the world doesn't compensate for being stuffed in the third row like a sardine. That's not the case here. There's space and headroom along with air vents up top and storage spaces for two cups or bottles on either side of the back row. Passengers can adjust the seat forward in case you want to store things. And it's relatively easy to get in and out once you figure it out.
Test driving a vehicle this size is certainly luxurious, but the need for practical use is essential. The Infiniti QX80 has 16.6 cubic
feet of cargo space behind its third row, 49.6 cubic feet with these seats folded, and 95.1 cubic feet with all rear seats folded. Only a few other luxury large SUVs offer more cargo space. There are also roof rails up top for additional cargo transit needs.
The engine is smooth and powerful, the acceleration is quick and responsive. It's like riding on pillows, or soft waves if there's a tough road to navigate. Under the hood the 400 horsepower 5.6 liter V8 with a 7-speed automatic transmission and either a rear or all-wheel drive. To me, that is impressive. The estimate from 0 to 60 is around 5.9 seconds, pretty fast for a vehicle this size. The QX80 can also tow 8500 lb in either rear wheel drive or all-wheel drive settings. That too, is competitive. The fuel economy is nothing close to what I would hope for. 14 miles per gallon in the city and 20 on the highway means that I'll be stopping at gas stations pretty frequently. But when you take on luxury of this caliber, with a V8 and all this weight, then it's going to take more gas to keep it moving.
The vehicle achieves 5,080 RPM and 413 lb ft of torque at 4,000 RPM. To stop the vehicle requires 13.8-in vented discs brakes and it rolls Bridgestone dueler tires. Getting this vehicle from point a to point b is as smooth as it gets but it's a big one with a wheelbase of 121.1 in and a length of 208.9 in.
Let's break down the exterior design and functionality of this big beautiful SUV. Let's start with the front fascia. It's bold, almost overwhelming. Let’s start with that undeniable grill and it's got a big chromed out frame with the huge Infinity logo right smack in the middle and the grated design filling up the space. There's a small bumper line area with chrome trimming underneath running from one side to the other and horizontal Vines running underneath it and a lower bumper spoiler underneath. There's clearly lots and lots of clearance room from the ground to the bottom of the vehicle on either side of the front fascia you've got sweep around headlights that extend the exterior front somewhat and widen the look. Beneath that lower lights are during either side which are tucked away into an area just above the bumper. It's a strong presence that's easy to identify. The side profile is even more striking. It's just a big vehicle that has a lot of confidence. The huge tires and elegant but bold side view doesn't require lines or textures to give it additional shape and style. It's straight ahead sweeping from front to back that is both strong and bold. Roof rails to carry whatever you want is on top as well as an attractive sunroof over the passenger area, heading to the back there's an extraordinarily wide presentation with a huge rear window, a strong center line chromed out with the infinity logo and the infinity badging underneath. Strong tail lights adorn the back and sweep around a good 9 into the side, the QX80 badging and the 4-wheel drive badging is also on the bottom of the liftgate. An attractive Chrome border is pretty sizable for one side to the other beneath the liftgate. The lower bumper is solid with tail lights on either side of the lower outside.
INFINITI QX80: Highlighted Features
The most opulent full-size luxury SUV in the Infiniti lineup is easily the 2022 INFINITI QX80. The added value of the cargo space is perfect for your on your adventures around town as well as on the highway and road trips. The size allows for lots of flexible options and functions that add to the experience. It may be in a crowded segment, but it has its own vibe and ambiance.
Key Performance and technology
400 hp with V8 engine
Forward Emergency Braking with pedestrian detection
Intelligent Cruise Control
Blind Spot Intervention® with Lane Departure Prevention
Heated/ventilated first-row seats, 10-way power driver’s seat
Available Bose 17-Speaker Performance Series audio system
Enhanced INFINITI Intelligent-Key
Tri-Zone Automatic Temperature Control System with microfilter
Wireless Apple CarPlay® integration
INFINITI Controller 12.3-inch infotainment touch screens
Available second-row dual 8” screens
AutoFOCUS WORLD: Consumer Buying Update
Brand Awareness among most automakers is weak
among consumers of color
Brand awareness is essential in selling cars, trucks and SUV's to the vital minority consumer segments. According to a recent Nielsen Survey Hispanic, Black and Asian American consumers aren’t aware of as many car brands as the rest of the population. "We have worked to close the gap between certain auto brands that have the inside track to buyers of colors and those that don't with content and events that help" says Tony Lesesne, host and producer of the AutoFOCUS WORLD TEST DRIVE. He adds that "the larger issue seems to be that those brands that don't connect with buyers of color don't appear to make the kind of effort necessary to get their share".
The obvious solution of the brands hoping to increase sales consider ways to reach buyers of color. Its a matter of improving the bottom line and become more competitive with the brands out there getting the business. This is a race to win the hearts and minds of a key consumer segment. In the race to win their hearts and minds, automakers and dealerships should consider that many consumers of color may know very little about your brand first place.
Nielsen found that consumers in general only have a couple of auto brands in mind when they start off on their path-to-purchase. Automakers and dealerships should aim to become one of those two brands.
For those campaigns, the priority is not to sell, but rather to connect with your target customers. In these difficult times, they may not all go out and buy a new car right away, but you’ll be at the top of the list when they do.
Nielsen reminds the auto industry that minority consumers have been disproportionately affected