Full 2014 Infiniti QX80 Review
What's New for 2014
Aside from the new name, the only change for the 2014 Infiniti QX80 is the addition of Back-up Collision Intervention to the Technology option package.
Infiniti has renamed pretty much its entire lineup this year, so you're fully excused if you don't immediately know what the 2014 Infiniti QX80 is. Replacing last year's QX, which was previously called the QX56, Infiniti's full-size luxury SUV has gone through more names than Candlestick Park. But once you get past its initially confusing moniker, you'll realize the QX80 is a pretty appealing sport-utility.
With 400 horsepower on tap from its V8 engine, this deluxe sport-utility vehicle has the muscle to tow an impressive 8,500 pounds. Simultaneously, the classy interior will coddle you and a half-dozen friends (seating capacity is seven or eight, depending on how you configure it) with its rich-looking materials and cutting-edge technology. The QX80 isn't lacking in the safety department either, as it has the full gamut of passive and active systems, including this year's newly optional back-up collision mitigation system. Finally, this big SUV lives up to Infiniti's sporty heritage by offering reasonably athletic moves around turns.
While these are undeniable strengths, some buyers will find it hard to overlook the Infiniti QX80's few notable shortcomings. The trade-off for the 5.6-liter V8's performance is rather lackluster fuel economy, and unlike many of its rivals, Infiniti doesn't offer a more efficient engine option. And if you choose the 22-inch wheels, the resulting stiffer ride quality may end up being a little too harsh. Lastly, the third-row seat is really only suitable for young kids.
As such, we suggest also looking at a few of the QX80's competitors. Topping that list is the 2014 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class. Though it will typically cost you a little more, the GL provides just as much (or more) luxury ambience along with better fuel economy, quicker acceleration and a roomier third-row seat. Other options might be the off-road-capable 2014 Lexus LX 570 or the all-American 2014 Cadillac Escalade. Overall, though, the 2014 Infiniti QX80 stands out as a solid choice in the luxury SUV field -- in spite of its less-than-memorable name.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 Infiniti QX80 is a full-size luxury SUV that offers seating for seven or eight passengers. It's offered in one well-equipped trim level with a choice of rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive.
Standard features include 20-inch alloy wheels, automatic bi-xenon headlights, foglights, a sunroof, roof rails, rear privacy glass, a power liftgate, front and rear parking sensors, keyless entry/ignition, automatic tri-zone climate control, leather upholstery, a heated eight-way power driver seat (with power two-way lumbar), a six-way power front passenger seat, driver memory settings, second-row captain's chairs, a power-folding 60/40-split third-row seat, auto-dimming mirrors and a power tilt-and-telescoping and heated steering wheel. Standard electronics include a 360-degree parking camera, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, an 8-inch touchscreen display, a voice-activated navigation system and a 13-speaker Bose sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and a USB/iPod interface.
Options are arranged in packages, some of which require other option packages as prerequisites. The Theater package adds a rear seat dual-screen entertainment system, a 120-volt household-type power outlet and heated second-row seats with a power tip-up feature for easier third-row access. The Split Bench Seat package replaces the second-row captain's chairs and center console with a 60/40-split-folding bench seat that increases seating capacity from seven to eight.
The Deluxe Touring package adds 22-inch wheels (available separately) as well as Infiniti's Hydraulic Body Motion Control suspension, an upgraded climate control system, upgraded leather upholstery and special wood trim, ventilated front seats and a 15-speaker Bose surround-sound audio system. Finally, the Technology package adds adaptive headlights, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring and a lane departure warning and keeping system.
Powertrains and Performance
Powering the 2014 Infiniti QX80 is a 5.6-liter V8 engine that produces 400 hp and 413 pound-feet of torque. A seven-speed automatic transmission is standard. Rear-wheel drive is also standard, with four-wheel drive (with low-range gearing) available as an option. Properly equipped, the QX is capable of towing up to 8,500 pounds and, if so optioned, also features an automatic-leveling rear suspension.
In Edmunds testing, the QX80 accelerated from a standstill to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds, which is a little quicker than average for this vehicle segment. The EPA estimate for both rear- and four-wheel-drive models is 16 mpg combined (14 mpg city/20 mpg highway).
The 2014 Infiniti QX80 comes with stability and traction control, antilock brakes, a 360-degree parking camera, front-seat side-impact airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and front active head restraints. Included with the Infiniti Connection telematics service are automatic collision notification, stolen vehicle notification, remote door access/locking, geo-fencing and max speed notifications.
The optional Technology package bundles several safety-related features, including blind-spot monitoring, a lane-departure warning and keeping system, frontal collision warning, frontal collision mitigation and a back-up collision mitigation system.
In Edmunds testing, the QX80 stopped from 60 mph in only 123 feet, a figure we're accustomed to seeing from much lighter passenger cars. For a massive SUV, that performance is quite good.
Interior Design and Special Features
Inside, the 2014 Infiniti QX80 offers a handsome cabin that's enhanced by the generous use of high-quality materials. Technophiles will appreciate the wide array of cutting-edge bells and whistles, not the least of which is the Around View Monitor that offers a 360-degree top-down view of the area around the vehicle. Just as important is the fact that technophobes have nothing to fear, because the QX's electronics interface is very easy and intuitive to use.
As you'd expect, the QX80's front and second-row seats offer a high degree of comfort. The 60/40-split power-folding third-row seat has less legroom than the third rows in other large luxury SUVs, and depending on their age and size, youngsters may only find it passable for short jaunts. When it comes to cargo room, the 16.6 cubic feet of space behind the QX80's third row grows to a healthy 95 cubic feet with all the rear seats folded.
If there's one thing that quickly becomes apparent when you slide behind the 2014 Infiniti QX80's steering wheel, it's the strong acceleration the 400-hp V8 puts at your disposal. Shifts from the seven-speed automatic are likewise smooth and swift. On the highway, the QX feels solid and stable, and road and wind noise are blissfully absent.
Infiniti's big SUV is also blessed with uncommon agility, particularly when it's fitted with the Deluxe Touring package and the automaker's advanced Hydraulic Body Motion Control system, which reduces body roll around tight turns to the point that the QX almost feels light on its feet. The downside to the handling improvement is that ride quality suffers somewhat, though the decline in comfort has less to do with the optional suspension itself than the large 22-inch wheels that are included in the same option package. It's a good idea to take a QX80 for a thorough test-drive before opting for these larger wheels.