When it comes to getting a large luxury SUV that can carry you and your friends and family around in style and comfort, you can go to several places. At Cadillac, you can get the Escalade, which is available in two different wheelbase lengths. Both of those are topped with dashing, dramatic bodywork. In the land of Lincoln (and we’re not talking about Illinois), the Navigator features softer lines around an interior packed with high-end materials and an extensive range of comforts and conveniences. Over at Mercedes-Benz there’s the GLS550, a powerful, first-class people carrier.
We went to infinity.
Correction: INFINITI. Actually, INFINITI came to us and dropped off a vehicle for us to review.
The largest and most prestigious model in INIFINTI’s QX range of vehicles, the QX80 offers distinctive styling, standard V8 power, and three rows of seating for both little ones and big shots. It’s available in base QX80, 4WD, and Limited trim lines. For the 2017 model year, the colossal QX “receives revised package content, a new Mocha Almond exterior color, low-contrast Wheat interior treatment and Trailer Sway Control function,” according to INFINITI.
We were fortunate enough to get the keys to a QX80 Limited. It’s too bad our time with it was limited, too. After a week behind its wheel, we wanted to keep driving it.
2017 INFINITI QX80 Limited Exterior
Out on the road, you’ll see QX80s carrying successful real estate agents and their clients to hot new properties, transporting well-heeled families to ski lodges and summer resorts, and taking executives to high-end restaurants for business discussions over perfectly marbled steaks. You’ll never see a QX80 used as a getaway car, especially one that looks like the one we evaluated. At 17 feet long, nearly seven feet wide, and more than six feet tall, it’s large. The bright work around its latticework grille, lower front air inlet, fog lights, and greenhouse make it shiny. Our test vehicle’s unusual Mocha Almond paint and bronze 14-spoke, 22-inch wheels make it distinctive – and a terrible choice for anyone who wants to get somewhere without being seen.
2017 INFINITI QX80 Limited Interior
The cabin of our QX80 loaner was just as eye-catching as its exterior. All QX80s come standard with a leather interior, a 10-way power driver’s seat, an 8-way power front-passenger’s seat, and second-row captain’s chairs that tip up to make getting into the power reclining third row easier. However, only the Limited model gets INFINITI’s special quilted Truffle Brown leather. INIFINITI’s interior designers made the interesting choice of only putting the quilting in certain areas, including down the middle of the headrests. The Limited is also the only QX80 variant whose interior is trimmed with open pore matte finish ash wood. It made us feel as if we were sitting in an expensive furniture store every time we got in the driver’s seat. As far as materials go, our personal favorites were above all of that miniature forest: the soft Ultrasuede headliner and the leather wrapped grab handles. INFINITI didn’t have to go the extra mile with those often untouched touch points, but it did. We couldn’t keep our eyes or our hands off of them.
When we weren’t pawing at our test vehicle’s fabrics and hides, we were using our hands to adjust the volume on the 15-speaker Bose Cabin Surround sound system, select an option on the 8-inch touchscreen, turn the front seat cooling up to its maximum setting, or manipulate the INFINITI Controller to control the navigation, audio, climate control, or other features. One thing we didn’t need them for was our phone. Once we had that connected to the QX80 via Bluetooth, all of our conversations on the road were hands free.
One night, we took some family members to dinner. Upon entering the second row, they were impressed by the QX80’s opulence. Once they got seated, they made themselves comfortable by reclining and stretching their legs. They were able to do that without any reservations because legroom was plentiful. So was headroom in the third row when the seatbacks were tilted toward the rear glass.
We took the QX80 from Austin to Dallas, Texas to attend the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association’s annual scholarship ceremony, where the Texas Auto Writers Association presented two college journalists with $1,000 scholarships. We transported the TAWA’s large photo backdrop to the event. That, as well as our luggage and camera gear, was not a challenge for the QX80 to digest. With its back two rows of seats tipped forward and folded down, it has 95.1 cubic feet of cargo space.
2017 INFINITI QX80 Limited Performance
The QX80 was big on the outside and big on the inside. Thankfully, it was big under the hood, too. INFINITI equips the QX80 with a 5.6-liter V8. That routes its 400 horsepower and 413 lbft of torque through a smooth-shifting 7-speed automatic with Snow and Tow modes, and INFINITI All-Mode 4WD. That runs through a computer-controlled transfer case that offers the choice of Auto, 4H, and 4L gearing. The QX80 may weigh nearly three tons, but with that kind of muscle up front, it proved itself to be a ute that could scoot.
2017 INFINITI QX80 Limited Safety
Given that it’s INFINITI’s top-of-the-line SUV, the QX80 comes with several safety features as standard. Those include front airbags, seat-mounted side-impact airbags in the first row, roof-mounted curtain side-impact airbags for all three rows, and Active Head Restraints on top of the front seats, as well as Brake force Distribution and Brake Assist. In Limited form, the QX80 gets loaded up with technologies such as Blind Spot Warning, Predictive Forward Collision Warning, Forward Emergency Braking, and Backup Collision Intervention. INFINITI lists Intelligent Cruise Control as a safety feature. We know why it does, although we valued it for its convenience during our trip to and from Dallas.
2017 INFINITI QX80 Limited Overall
Prices for the 2017 INFINITI QX80 start at $63,850.* To get one just like the striking, comfortable, and feature-rich $90,000+ QX80 Limited we evaluated, you don’t have to go to infinity (or beyond). Just drive to an AutoNation-affiliated INFINITI dealer.
*MSRP excluding tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.