The Infiniti QX80 has always had a special place in my heart for being a desirable body-on-frame SUV. Over the many years of its current generation’s existence since 2011, it has aged well with subtle updates that keep it somewhat fresh and intriguing to a select group of buyers.
For the 2022 model year, the Infiniti QX80 receives a few small but important updates that mostly surround the area of tech. The biggest update is the move to an updated infotainment unit that utilizes a single wide touchscreen in place of the dual-screen setup is a welcomed change.
Still delivering a quiet and luxurious space in a large body-on-frame SUV, the QX80 has aged well and tends to get the job done for those who need the larger dimensions of such a vehicle along with a respected tow rating of 8,500 pounds.
Still serving as the powertrain for the QX80 is the proven 5.6-liter V8 engine with 400 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque that is mated to the same 7-speed automatic during its 10-years of running. Most of how the QX80 drives is predictable and mostly simple for such a large SUV if you can agree with the slow turning ratio of the steering rack that’s still hydraulically assisted. Over the years the QX80 has only had minor updates to its structure to slightly modify its suspension system but nothing so drastic that it loses its enjoyable driving character. That character is improved upon with the upper trim levels having the Hydraulic Body Motion Control system that surprisingly prevents unwanted body lean when conducting turns and more of a leveled body position.
The only downfall I find in the QX80, which has always been a concern, it’s the fuel consumption of 13 mpg city, 19 mpg highway, and 15 mpg combined. Unfortunately, the highway EPA estimate is hardly ever reached leaving me with more of a real-world figure of 18.1 mpg on the highway. However, the combined mpg is mostly consistent and more of what you would expect to get around town. When you’re not minding fuel consumption and need to get up to speed, expect the QX80 to deliver with a decent zero to 60 mph time of about 6.4 seconds. There’s a 26-gallon tank so your range can be as high as 494 miles if you were to ever hit that 19 mpg figure.
The exterior remains unchanged where the QX80 continues to exude a definitive presence out on the road with its large front grille, bright adaptive LED headlights and LED foglights, and an unmistakable boxy body that looks the best it has ever looked in the existence of the QX80 and under its old moniker of the QX56 from the first generation. The 22-inch wheels and beefy 275/50/R22 all-season tires round up the demanding look without making the ride harsh.
Inside, the notable changes reside with the center dashboard stack housing a new high-mounted wide touchscreen that somewhat rises out of the dashboard for better visibility and ease of reach. The new screen, a 12.3-inch unit, proves to simplify controls but my test vehicle seemed to have a minor hiccup with just a couple of functions, possibly due to the early production of the unit. The issue resided with the audio system’s tuning using the tuning knob where it froze several times when attempting to change the radio and satellite radio stations. Otherwise, the system responds well and has a slight learning curve but a welcomed redundancy of controls that use either the touchscreen or physical control knob and buttons that are mounted behind the gear shifter. Infiniti now separates the automatic three-zone climate control system from the infotainment system where it has its own interface below the air vents, which are simplistic and straightforward.
To round up the change for the center stack is a new wireless phone charger cubby with a closing door. The use of the wireless phone charger comes at just the right time as Infiniti adds wireless Apple CarPlay integration. Also, it is good to know that you can still utilize Apple CarPlay through USB connection, in addition to having Android Auto integration through USB as well, which still requires a physical USB connection. Second-row seat entertainment screens mounted in the front seat headrests come as a complementary option for my test vehicle’s trim level, which includes a remote, wireless headsets, and the proper interfaces including HDMI, SD Card, and USB inputs.
There’s a bevy of active safety features, including blind-spot warning with intervention, lane departure warning and prevention, a 360-degree surround-view monitor with moving object detection, forward collision warning with emergency braking and pedestrian detection, high beam assist, and front pre-crash seatbelts.
The luxury appointments of the Infiniti QX80 only go so far as the cabin is a bit outdated at this point when compared to direct competitors. However, there’s still a good use of space with the one exception of the driver’s seat not adjusting back far enough for my tastes with me being slightly over 6-feet tall. You would expect an SUV of such a large size to have more than enough legroom up front but the QX80 still keeps such room a little shorter than I would like. The second-row heated chairs are heavily padded and nearly as comfy as the heated and ventilated front seats with plentiful space for adults of just about any size along with a center storage armrest with cupholders. The third row remains to be an inviting space with decent room where when the seatbacks are power-folded down the cargo area opens up nicely to expand on the 16.6 cubic feet when the third-row seatbacks are in place. Fold down both the second and third-row and you have a vast 95.1 cubic feet of cargo space to work with.
Infiniti has done well to keep the QX80 alive and relevant in such a technologically advanced world. The small updates to its tech go a long way to appeal to buyers who may shop its competition, which they may find cost more than the QX80 – the major selling point of such a vehicle. Even in the loaded top-trim of my QX80 Sensory 4WD test vehicle, the price stands at $87,985 including a $1,395 destination charge, which is a good value in my opinion when you factor in the luxury benefits of buying from a luxury branded dealership network. Not to mention, the QX80 starts at $70,600 before any fees or options.
I commend Infiniti for keeping the QX80 alive and doing what they can without spending much to add to its bottom line for the sake of remaining relevant with updated technology, which is one of the primary driving forces to attracting buyers these days.