The QX80 is a full-featured luxury vehicle and it comes in a single very well-equipped trim, with the only major choice being between rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. Both versions come with a strong 5.6L V8 engine, employing variable valve timing and lift, as well as direct injection and making 400 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque.
In either model, the V8 delivers very quick, confident performance, through a 7-speed automatic transmission that has Adaptive Shift Control as well as a manual shift mode with Downshift Rev Matching. The available all-wheel-drive system is one that is more road-oriented, with 4H and 4L (high and low) ranges, and it can send up to 50 percent of power to the front wheels when needed for better traction. Hill Start Assist, which helps preserve stability on slippery slopes, is included. All models have huge 4-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock and Brake Assist. Along with electronic stability control there's a 4-wheel Active Brake Limited-Slip system.
The QX80 has a body-on-frame design, which makes it great for towing (up to 8,500 pounds), yet its independent double-wishbone suspension affords a better ride and more responsive handling than other large SUVs of its type. Some of its responsiveness and comfort are due to its Dual-Flow Path twin-tube shocks, engine speed-sensitive power steering and automatic leveling system. Add the Deluxe Touring Package and a special Hydraulic Body Motion Control system uses cross-linked chambers to help reduce body lean in corners and improve comfort.
Three rows of seating allow comfortable seating for up to seven in the QX80, and with the available 60/40-split folding bench in the second row capacity goes up to eight. All QX80 models include power heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, tri-zone automatic climate control, Intelligent Key, Bluetooth and push-button ignition and an available 8-inch wide-format touch screen and controller allow access to the available navigation system with NavTraffic, Real-Time Traffic Information, XM NavWeather and Zagat restaurant data.
A Moving Object Detection system (MOD) is also included, and it incorporates an Around View Monitor that uses four superwide-angle cameras and can display the view 360 degrees around. As part of the Technology Package, you can also get Intelligent Cruise Control, as well as Distance Control Assist, Intelligent Brake Assist, Backup Collision Intervention (BCI), and Forward Collision Warning (FCW). A Lane Departure Prevention (LDP) is also on offer.
Entertainment is provided by an excellent Bose Premium Audio system with 13 speakers, a USB port, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, Bluetooth streaming audio and an iPod interface, while the Deluxe Touring Package steps up to a 15-speaker Bose Cabin Surround system (in addition to big 22-inch wheels, Mocha Burl trim and semi-aniline upholstery. A Theater Package brings two 7-inch screens for back-seat passengers, including two pairs of wireless headphones, a remote, a 120-volt power outlet and auxiliary inputs.
The 2021 Infiniti QX80 is a fundamentally good three-row luxury SUV. However, context is always important, and when viewed through the same lens as its newer competitors -- including a call that's coming from inside the house, so to speak -- all its shiny bits may not be as bright.
The 2021 Infiniti QX80 has cosmopolitan good looks, some of which carry over from a 2018 update, while the rest stem from a 2020-model-year interior nip-tuck. While the headlights and taillights now more closely resemble other modern Infiniti models, the general shape of the body remains the same from when it was called the QX56, including the rear bumper's unsightly underbite. From a front three-quarter view, though, it's modern in all the right places, and its 22-inch alloy wheels fill the wells with the right kind of flashiness.
Context once again comes into play inside the QX80. While I like the layered dashboard, it looks decidedly old when compared to other luxe three-rows such as the Mercedes-Benz GLS, Cadillac Escalade or Lincoln Navigator. Heck, even the Nissan Armada -- an SUV with which the QX80 shares a platform -- feels a step ahead of the Infiniti in this department, especially when the awful two-screen center stack is the focus. Nevertheless, there's plenty of comfort to be found in here, with soft leather on the seats and, well, just about everywhere you can reach.
The Good ~ Smooth, potent powertrain ~ Luxury-soft ride ~ Oodles of passenger space
The Bad ~ Worse tech than the Armada ~ Aging styling ~ Way too thirsty
The Bottom Line While a price cut makes it more appealing, the 2021 Infiniti QX80 is showing its age in the face of newer competitors.
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