2018 Infiniti QX80

2018 INFINITI QX80 Review

With new sheet metal over the same bones, the restyled 2018 QX80 is aging but very capable.
7.1 / 10
Edmunds overall rating
author
by Jonathan Elfalan
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

For shoppers looking for a rugged, do-it-all people mover that's also comfortable and upscale, a traditional three-row luxury SUV like the 2018 Infiniti QX80 is an obvious choice. With available four-wheel drive, genuine towing capability, a feature-rich interior, and no shortage of upgrades to select from, the QX80 is built to handle just about any situation.

What's readily noticeable about the 2018 QX80 is its updated exterior design. It's sleek, modern and much more befitting a member of the luxury class. Beneath the new skin is essentially the same mechanical components from last year. A powerful V8 engine helps the QX80 pull 8,500 pounds, and when equipped with four-wheel drive, the QX80 can take you pretty far off the beaten path.

Not much has changed on the inside either, and that's the biggest letdown to the 2018 QX80. The infotainment system isn't as advanced as those in rival luxury SUVs, for instance, and the overall look and feel of the cabin aren't as classy. The QX80 has enough pros to keep it relevant in 2018, but shopping around some before settling on this Infiniti is a wise idea.



What's new for 2018

The 2018 QX80 receives a noticeable exterior makeover. New LED headlights, taillights and foglights complement redesigned front and rear bumpers and a rear tailgate. The QX80 also rides along restyled wheels wrapped in softer sidewall tires, which, along with a retuned suspension, are intended to improve ride comfort. The interior center console has been updated and features a cellphone storage pocket, and there's a new optional smart rearview mirror that can switch to become a rearview camera screen. Lastly, there's additional insulation in the cargo area to reduce road noise.

We recommend

If you've determined that this XL-size SUV is the right all-purpose family hauler for you, there's not much else to decide upon other than which options you want. We suggest getting the Driver Assistance package, which bundles seven active driving features together. Unfortunately, the Deluxe Technology package, which has the desirable Hydraulic Body Motion Control suspension, requires that you buy nearly all other packages, including the 22-inch wheels that we'd avoid.



Trim levels & features

The 2018 Infiniti QX80 is a full-size luxury SUV that provides seating for up to eight passengers. It's offered in a single, well-equipped trim, powered by a 5.6-liter V8 (400 horsepower, 413 pound-feet of torque) with a seven-speed automatic and a choice of rear- or four-wheel drive.

There are quite a few standard features on the QX80, including 20-inch alloy wheels, automatic LED headlights and foglights, automatic high-beam control, a sunroof, roof rails, power-folding and auto-dimming mirrors, a power-adjustable steering wheel with heating, a power liftgate, front and rear parking sensors, keyless entry and ignition and automatic tri-zone climate control. Also standard are leather upholstery, a heated eight-way power driver seat and six-way power passenger seat (both with two-way power lumbar adjustment), driver-seat memory settings, second-row captain's chairs, and a power-folding 60/40-split third-row seat. For the second row, a three-passenger, 60/40-split bench seat is available as a no-cost option.

Standard technology features include a 360-degree parking camera, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, an 8-inch touchscreen display, a navigation system, voice controls, and a 13-speaker Bose sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and a total of four USB ports.

Most of the QX80 add-ons come in the form of packages, with very few stand-alone options. If you're a fan of advanced safety features, as we typically are, the Driver Assistance package is a good value, bundling adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning and intervention, forward collision warning (with pedestrian detection), stolen-vehicle notification, and secondary driver services such as geofencing and maximum speed notifications. All other available packages require that you equip your QX80 with the Driver Assistance package.

To better keep your backseat occupants comfortable and entertained, the Theater package includes a dual-screen rear entertainment system, a 120-volt power outlet, and heated second-row seats with a power tip-up feature for easier third-row access.

The Deluxe Technology package requires that you opt into both packages above and upgrade to larger 22-inch wheels. But doing so gets you adaptive front lighting, headlight washers, the Hydraulic Body Motion Control suspension (provides greater stability during cornering), upgraded climate control, upgraded leather upholstery, special wood trim, ventilated front seats and a 15-speaker Bose surround-sound audio system.

Finally, onboard 4G Wi-Fi that connects up to five devices (monthly data plan required) and a 22-inch wheel and tire package are available as stand-alone options.



Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our First Drive of a 2018 Infiniti QX80 (5.6L V8 | 7-speed automatic | 4WD) and our full test of the 2017 Infiniti QX80 Limited (5.6L V8 | 7-speed automatic | 4WD).

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall7.1 / 10

Driving

8.0 / 10

Acceleration8.0 / 10
Braking9.0 / 10
Steering7.0 / 10
Handling8.5 / 10
Drivability7.5 / 10

Comfort

7.0 / 10

Seat comfort6.5 / 10
Ride comfort7.0 / 10
Noise & vibration8.0 / 10
Climate control7.0 / 10

Interior

7.0 / 10

Ease of use7.0 / 10
Getting in/getting out6.5 / 10
Driving position7.0 / 10
Roominess9.0 / 10
Visibility8.5 / 10
Quality7.0 / 10

Utility

8.0 / 10

Small-item storage7.0 / 10
Cargo space7.5 / 10

Technology

6.0 / 10

Audio & navigation7.0 / 10
Smartphone integration5.5 / 10
Driver aids6.5 / 10
Voice control6.0 / 10

Driving8.0

There's no getting around the fact that the QX80 is, underneath its skin, a 6,000-pound truck. That said, Infiniti has done a solid job engineering solutions to the problems that come along with moving so much mass, and there's really nothing here that lets the big SUV down.

Acceleration8.0

The 400-horsepower V8 motivates this 6,000-pound SUV to 60 mph in 6.3 seconds. It's an impressive and smooth engine with more than enough grunt to hustle this massive vehicle along. Most competitors at this price point post similar or quicker times, but you won't want for power.

Braking9.0

The pedal is soft but linear and offers some feedback. There is a lot of nosedive when braking hard, which might shake your confidence but doesn't hurt performance. In Edmunds testing, our best stop from 60 mph was 116 feet, which is very impressive for a vehicle with this much mass.

Steering7.0

Steering is very light but more communicative than most. It makes you confident about moving such a large object around on crowded roads. Tight maneuvers at low speed can be annoying due to the massive turning radius and the extent to which you need to spin the steering wheel between locks.

Handling8.5

Infiniti's trick self-leveling hydraulic suspension keeps the QX80 stable in turns, controlling body roll very well. This SUV isn't upset by midcorner bumps. Stability control is always on, and it steps in decisively before the QX80 can reach its limits.

Drivability7.5

The QX80 is generally predictable, but during passing maneuvers or quick starts, there's a delay between putting your foot down and acceleration. The transmission shifts smoothly, only causing problems on uphill climbs where its eagerness to upshift makes it difficult to maintain constant speed.

Off-road8.0

The QX80's trick suspension allows for better articulation than many competitors, and the off-road traction settings mean this big beast should be competent enough in most situations. The 22-inch wheels are less than ideal for off-road applications.

Comfort7.0

The QX80 can't quite hide its utilitarian roots. While the seats look nice, they aren't up to the standards of similarly priced vehicles, and the climate control is unrefined. The suspension tuning is quite good, but avoid the big 22-inch wheels if you can.

Seat comfort6.5

The front seats don't offer much adjustability, odd for a luxury SUV. The only seat upgrades Infiniti offers are aesthetic, not functional. The seats are fine, but some won't be able to find a comfortable position. The second-row captain's chairs are less adjustable versions of the front seats.

Ride comfort7.0

Big bumps are handled well by the clever suspension, but the QX80 gets bouncy over uneven pavement. The massive 22-inch wheels and slim sidewalls mean more harshness makes it through than we'd like. The 2018 model should be an improvement, however.

Noise & vibration8.0

The QX80's cabin is generally quite well-insulated from outside sounds and road noise. At partial throttle, the V8 can sound a bit trucky, but it's not intrusive. The QX80's biggest weakness in this category is moderate wind noise at freeway speeds. The 2018 QX80 should be a little quieter.

Climate control7.0

On automatic, the climate control alternates between too passive and too aggressive, and it doesn't maintain temperature so much as charge toward it then back off for a while. Seat heating and cooling both work very well. The controls aren't the best we've seen but are straightforward enough to use.

Interior7.0

There's plenty of interior room to go around. In spite of thick roof pillars, outward visibility is good thanks to a high seating position and big mirrors. But the control layout isn't the best we've seen since some controls require a bit of a reach. In general, the QX80's interior is a bit dated.

Ease of use7.0

The basic driving controls are easily accessed, but with the big center stack, reaching some controls can be a stretch. Also, the distinctly last-generation button layout and user interface require a bit of getting used to.

Getting in/getting out6.5

This is a tall SUV that requires a climb to get in and out. But grab handles and a generous running board, along with high, square door openings, help. The third row can be a struggle for an adult to access since the folding second-row seats don't create a large opening.

Driving position7.0

The driving position feels commanding and upright, and there's enough adjustability for shorter and taller drivers, but the steering wheel feels canted up quite a bit toward the driver. Some controls are hard to reach from a comfortable sitting position.

Roominess9.0

The first and second rows offer lots of headroom, legroom and shoulder room. The third row has much more limited room, but it's better than the third rows in some competitors. Shorter adults will fit in a pinch, and children should have no problem with the space.

Visibility8.5

Visibility is good, with lots of glass all around. The big side mirrors and 360-degree parking camera help. The wide front roof pillars can obstruct some views, and rear visibility can be compromised by third-row headrests.

Quality7.0

Surface materials are nice, and nothing rattles. Under its skin, the QX80 is a well-built SUV. But Infiniti could have gone much further with the interior upgrades. While there's a lot of leather around, the overall look and feel aren't much better than a Nissan Armada's.

Utility8.0

With the QX80's folding seats and big-time towing capacity, there's a lot of utility. But this SUV's design hurts accessibility and usability. The high liftover and big bumper make loading heavy items in the back a strain, and you can't open up a completely flat cargo space, as in some competitors.

Small-item storage7.0

Storage is sufficient but not as clever or well-integrated as many competitors do it. You'll find a big center armrest bucket and door pockets for water bottles. The cupholders don't have any restraint system, which has become a common feature. The 2018 QX80 now has a cellphone storage pocket.

Cargo space7.5

Folding the third row provides quite a bit of room. The second-row center console is fixed in place, so unless you option second-row bench seats, the QX80 can't provide the cavernous cargo space that competitors do. The high liftover and deep rear bumper force you to reach to load or grab items.

Child safety seat accommodation8.0

The spacious second-row buckets mean two of just about any car seat will fit, and the LATCH points aren't hard to find.

Towing9.0

The stated towing capacity is 8,500 pounds, which is quite respectable. The suspension offers load-leveling, and an integrated tow hitch and seven-pin wiring harness are standard equipment.

Technology6.0

The QX80 undeniably offers a lot of features, but the technology feels outdated in every way. From the quality of the screen and graphics to the operation of the interface, it all feels a generation behind.

Audio & navigation7.0

Audio quality from the Bose system is acceptable and fills the cabin without distortion, but it's nothing special. The navigation doesn't have the best resolution, but it does display upcoming directions, which is a nice touch. Traffic info requires a separate subscription to SiriusXM Traffic.

Smartphone integration5.5

The front seats get two USB ports. No Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Bluetooth works, but setting a phone as an audio source takes an extra step. Two second-row plugs are nice for keeping passengers' devices charged.

Driver aids6.5

The execution of driver aids isn't stellar. Manual cruise control won't brake on hills; the adaptive cruise control is sluggish to accelerate and brakes aggressively and late. Distance Control Assist is an odd adaptive-cruise alternative that handles braking and tasks the driver with acceleration.

Voice control6.0

Voice recognition requires very specific phrases and is prone to misunderstanding commands. Voice command options also aren't as extensive as you'll find in most rivals. You can walk through a menu, but that means taking your eyes off the road, and it doesn't fix the limited functionality.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.