Infiniti’s extra-large QX80 has had a major facelift and a number of stylish interior updates. Previously the shape had been a bit – dare we say – Japanese and wasn’t always to the taste of Australian or Americans. Most sales are to these two nationalities so the changes are likely to make it more appealing in this country, and perhaps increase sales, because they have been rather slow to date.
This is more than your routine facelift, everything forward of the windscreen has been revised, not just the easy-to-reshape plastic bits.
The bonnet is 20 mm higher and has been extended forward by 90 mm, the grille is taller and broader. The tailgate, taillights, chrome bar and rear bumper have also been redesigned. The QX80 sits on large new-design 22-inch forged aluminium-alloy wheels, up from 20s on the old model.
Overall, the look is certainly different and not as challenging as previously. Those who commented on our test car all liked the new look.
The topline Infiniti has an updated instrument panel as well as the centre and rear-centre consoles. Seat and door trim quilting, stitching and piping have been refreshed, and there is a now a contrasting coloured double-stitch design on the centre arm rest.
The Japanese SUV has Bluetooth connectivity. We loved the output from the Bose Surround audio system. The rear entertainment screens have been increased from 7.0 to 8.0 inches as part of the QX80’s makeover. The large symbols on the central screen minimise the time you have to take your eyes off the roads.
Infiniti QX80 is powered by a large 5.6-litre V8 petrol engine. It has an impressive 298 kW of power and 560 Nm of torque. That’s good old fashioned grunt.
Power is sent to all four wheels by way of a seven-speed automatic transmission and Infiniti’s All-Mode 4WD system.
Towing capacity is listed at 3500 kg.
The big Infiniti does not have an Australasian NCAP rating, but being aimed primarily at the market in the USA there’s a big emphasis on safety. Major items include Blind Spot Monitoring, Forward Emergency Braking and Lane Departure Warning. All of which will intervene if the driver isn’t paying attention.
There are only two IsoFix points, on the outer seats of the second row. You would expect three, even four.
Normally you may not think of an Intelligent Parking System as being a safety item, but when you want to fit about half an acre of SUV into a normal Aussie-sized parking spot the semi-automatic parking system is certainly useful.
Cleverly QX80’s Rear View Mirror system has its camera mounted to the top of the rear windscreen, rather than low as in many other vehicles, so there’s less chance of it getting dirty.
Infiniti has revised the QX80’s suspension to reduce complaints from enthusiastic drivers that it isn’t particularly agile. It hasn’t lost any comfort because of this to our way of thinking, but then we didn’t do an old-versus-new test.
The typical buyer who is far more interested in peaceful progress than in attacking favourite hilly bends will find the largest Infiniti smooth, quiet and relaxing.
It’s hardly a secret that very few people buy SUVs to go off-road into tough conditions. So the fact that the side steps have been extended outwards by 20 mm to make it easier to get in and out makes sense. But side steps are often the first components to be damaged if you tackle serious off-road driving. Your call…
All our testing was done on-road and the side steps certainly made it relatively easy to get in and out. However it is a long way up and some may find it awkward at times. The rearmost seat is probably best left to the kids in this respect.
Inside, the big comfy seats with their diamond pleating certainly gained plenty of positive statements.
Loading the huge boot (when in five-seat configuration) is simple.
The big old-style V8 is a delight to sit behind. It is smooth as silk, has plenty of punch off the line and when you need to overtake safely. There’s no lag as there’s no turbo to cause it.
Fuel consumption on motorways was in the nine to eleven litres per hundred kilometres range, around town it rose markedly, to 14 to 17 litres per hundred.
There’s no diesel option as our cousins on the other side of the Pacific don’t like diesels in passenger cars.
If you’re looking for quiet comfortable cruising in the great Aussie continent this Japanese Infiniti SUV is certainly worth a look.
The QX80 is bargain priced for its class. The recommended retail is $110,900 (plus on-roads) putting it about $40,000 to $100,000 under that of large premium SUVs from Lexus, Mercedes and Range Rover.
AT A GLANCE
QX80 5.6-litre V8 petrol five-door wagon: $110,900 (automatic)
Note: This price does not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Infiniti dealer for drive-away prices.
SPECIFICATIONS (Infiniti QX80 5.6-litre V8 petrol five-door wagon)
Capacity: 5.552 litres
Maximum Power: 298 kW @ 5800 rpm
Maximum Torque: 560 Nm @ 4000 rpm
Fuel Type: Premium unleaded petrol
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 14.5 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 341 g/km
DRIVELINE: Seven-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 5340 mm
Wheelbase: 3075 mm
Width: 2030 mm
Height: 1945 mm
Turning Circle: 12.6 metres
Kerb Mass: 2783 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 100 litres
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Ventilated disc
Four years / 100,000 kilometres