2016 Infiniti QX80 Review

Joel Helmes road tests and reviews the 2016 Infiniti QX80.

2016 Infiniti QX80 Review.

The 2016 Infiniti QX80 sure is a head turner and if you want to draw plenty of attention then it could be the luxury eight-seat SUV for you.

With that distinctive styling, particularly at the front (which one person described as looking like a dolphin), overall gigantic proportions and eye-catching 22” wheels, the big Infiniti is a vehicle that stands out in the crowd.

Priced from $110,900 and available in only one model grade, an Infiniti QX80 purchase will see you drive home with a 5.6 litre V8 petrol engine under the bonnet and seven-speed automatic transmission.

The engine gives an enthusiastic 298kW and 560Nm and while it takes all of that power to get the 2.8 tonne monster moving, when rolling along on those big wheels it provides seemingly effortless cruising and hill-climbing ability.

2016 Infiniti QX80 Review.

But, if you do the maths: 5.6 litre V8 petrol engine + 2.8 tonnes = 20.0L/100km! That’s right, in my week of mostly suburban/city driving in the Infiniti QX80 I averaged exactly twenty litres per one hundred! That’s half a litre more than the result I got from the Lexus LX 570 in 2013.

So you’d better get used to filling the QX80’s 100 litre fuel tank!

On the road the big Infiniti is a lot of work, simply because of its dimensions. It really fills out the lane and its overall length makes parking a less than simple operation. Thankfully though it does come with front, rear and side cameras and these are a big help.

The turning circle is pretty reasonable though and the extremely high seating position also helps visibility. Yep, climbing into the Infiniti QX80 is definitely best done with the standard side-steps – in this case they aren’t there just for looks.

2016 Infiniti QX80 Review.

The steering is extremely light, perhaps a little too light and maybe not quite sensitive enough as well. The QX80 really needs to be constantly manoeuvred and driven in city areas and the slightly vague steering doesn’t really assist.

Infiniti has given the QX80 quite supple and soft suspension and it does it’s best to provide the luxurious ride you would expect from a vehicle like this, the end result though is quite a floaty feel and this only exacerbates the fairly vague steering.

Unfortunately, the 50 Series tyres provide little absorption against road deformations and this only helps add to the somewhat confused road feel of the big Infiniti. You would also say that these highway-terrain tyres would also be an impediment to anything but relatively light-duty off-road work.

Speaking of off-road, the Infiniti QX80 comes with a simple 4×4 control system located on the centre console and being Patrol-based, aside from the tyres, there is real go anywhere potential in the Infiniti.

2016 Infiniti QX80 Review.

Inside the cabin, well I won’t worry about listing all the standard features, other than to say that it comes with just about everything. One thing that it doesn’t have that is common place in Toyota/Lexus rivals though is a chiller box in the centre console.

Handy, and almost violent, middle-seat automatic fold down controls located on the dashboard provide quite an entertaining feature. Infiniti assures me they won’t spring forward if a child is sitting in the seat and that’s a relief!

The fit and finish all-round the cabin is top shelf and there’s plenty of legroom in all three rows. The third-row seat fits three across and you can even electrically adjust the angle of the rear seat back. If you don’t need the third row seat up, electronic motors see the seat backs easily fold down, though probably not as flat as I would like.

The infotainment system and DVD system works a treat and all controls throughout the cabin are well-positioned, size-able and are easy to operate.

2016 Infiniti QX80 Review.

I’m probably not a huge fan of the faux timber insert on the steering wheel, it looks a bit 1970’s Cadillac and probably doesn’t feel as nice in your hands as simply the leather covering.

Summing it up; vehicles like the Infiniti QX80 make the motoring world fun and interesting. It’s a big, thirsty tank of a thing and while it really isn’t sensible on any level it still has a certain charm about it.

Be prepared to get plenty of comments about the Infiniti’s striking looks as well.

Overall though, I couldn’t think of a more pleasant way to chew up a few hundred highway kilometres, just make sure you take your credit card to refill it for the trip home. Oh, and with those low profile tyres, avoid the potholes!

NUTS and BOLTS – 2016 Infiniti QX80

Engine: 5.6 litre V8 producing 298kW and 560Nm

Transmission: Seven-speed automatic (only)

Safety: Not tested

Warranty: 4yrs/100,000km

Origin: Japan

Price: $110,900

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