2021 Infiniti QX80: A distinctive, powerful Premium SUV

Auto review by Veeno Dewan

The 2021 QX80 invokes Infiniti’s “Powerful Elegance” design language in a bold new direction, creating a powerful, contemporary and commanding aesthetic.” Well, that’s the tag line, the 2021 QX80 is a full size, V8 powered luxury SUV that has available seating for seven, 3,800 kg of towing capacity, and every conceivable luxury you can imagine. It’s a looker too, with its huge, handsome square jawed, commanding presence.

For 2021, there are no significant changes. The QX80 is available as a seven-passenger model in Luxe and ProActive trims, or as an eight-passenger in ProActive trim. All models are offered exclusively with four-wheel drive — All-Mode 4WD with a computer-controlled transfer case and three settings (Auto, 4H and 4L). The SUV is powered by a 400-hp 5.6L V8 and has a maximum towing capacity of 8,500 pounds. Available Hydraulic Body Motion Control limits excess body roll under more severe cornering. As standard on the QX80 is advanced 5.6-litre DOHC V8 engine, with VVEL (Variable Valve Event and Lift) technology, the V8 engine produces 400 hp (298 kW) and 413 lb ft of torque. A seven-speed automatic transmission is fitted as standard to every model.

We tested a fully loaded 2021 seven-passenger QX80 with the Technology package, 22-inch wheels, hydraulic body motion control system, lane departure warning system, blind spot monitoring, forward collision monitoring, intelligent cruise control, distance control assist, back up collision intervention, adaptive lighting, advanced climate control, front and rear sonar sensors, active trace control and much more. A wonderful, very eye- catching metallic paint finished off our test model.

The inside of the QX80 is sumptuous and welcoming. The leather upholstery features a very upscale quilting on the seating surfaces. Other luxury touches include new stitching throughout the cabin and shiny high-gloss dark wood trim around the steering wheel, dash and door panels, centre stack and lower console, it’s quite well done, I think and sets off the metal accents trim very well. The dash features an 8 inch and 7-inch display for infotainment needs and a premium Bose 17 speaker sound system. Our cabin was upholstered in black leather seat trim, but I have seen the tan/brown versions of the QX80 interior that look amazing. High-quality materials abound and everything looks very well fitted together. The front seats are wonderfully plush, and we just love the big armrest and sheer amount of space to stretch out. The rear seats are also supremely comfortable. There are dual rear headrest DVD displays that come with the Theater package and the availability of larger 8.0-inch screens with high-resolution capability. So, no worries about keeping passengers entertained on long road trips! Accessing the third row is uncomplicated thanks to the ingenious second-row seats that tumble forward via either a button in the center stack or a lever pull on the seat. The third row offers decent enough space for a pair of adults on short journeys or for a couple of teens or kids on longer trips. Note that safety is high, and our tester came with active safety features such as: forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot warning and intervention, lane departure warning and lane keeping, adaptive cruise control with a full speed range, reverse auto braking, and Distance Control Assist that maintains a safe distance from the car in front.

On the road, the QX80’s old school 5.6-liter V-8 engine has lots of grunt, although extra sound deadening means there is more of a polite woof than a snarling growl when you give it some gas. It’s a docile, smooth, power- plant teamed with the seven-speed automatic transmission with Adaptive Shift Control, and manual shift mode with Downshift Rev Matching. The class-exclusive hydraulic body-motion-control system, aids in the handling department by automatically adjusting the suspension to significantly mitigate body roll in corners. It is much needed as the top heavy QX80 feels more stable and controlled in turns. The steering is amazingly light for such a large vehicle and parking the QX80 is not a daunting task thanks to the as standard 360-degree camera system with multi camera views capability and other aids.

Of course, the V8 powered QX80 will punch your wallet at the gas station with fuel economy not great at 17.3 L/100km city, and 12.3 highway and 15.1 l/100km combined. Still not much to gripe about, a bit of a dated infotainment system, but it still works. I have a bit of a soft spot for the QX80, it’s luxurious, super roomy, and just feels great to drive. The ultimate family cruiser. Highly recommended.

2021 Infiniti QX80 MRSP from MSRP $79,998 to $87,998
Total price as tested $90,093 Including freight and PDE
More info at infiniti.ca