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.
Sitting inside the huge, full-size Mazda MX-5 Miata . What am I supposed to do with this beast in downtown San Francisco?QX80, I'm eye-level with bus drivers. I'm used to small, nimble cars that can dart through traffic and mark just about anywhere -- cars like my daily-driver
Thankfully, its size is purely deceiving. With easy driving dynamics, not to mention a robust suite of active driver's aids, the QX80 proves a quiet, luxurious steed for city and highway driving alike. Unfortunately, despite receiving a big update for 2018, its age really shows in a number of key areas.
In the past, the QX80 has been rightly accused of having a face only a mother could love. The 2018 redesign is a welcome update, and while it's still not pretty, it's much more attractive than before.
The Good Plenty of driver's aids and a new digital rear view camera mirror means the QX80 is a comfortable and easy ride. The new look is an improvement over last year.
The Bad The InTouch infotainment system is out of date and needs a complete redesign.
The Bottom Line The latest full-size SUV is improved, but struggles to keep up with a healthy group of competitors.
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