2022 Infiniti QX80: Rugged luxury
The 2022 Infiniti QX80 is a dinosaur. The full-size SUV is big and old, and it's days on this planet are numbered by increasingly tough government fuel efficiency standards. So buy one now if you want a powerful off-road capable luxury family hauler. When the QX80 and its ilk are phased out, you will never see their kind again. The environmentally-conscious all-electric versions will cost a lot more and their trail abilities are unknown.
The QX80 is the largest vehicle produced by Nissan's luxury brand. Because the current version was first introduced in 2012 and redesigned five years later, Infiniti is able to hit a sweet price spot with the significantly upgraded 2022 version. It costs thousands less than European and American competitors, while still delivering all the goods — including a 400 horsepower V8, a sophisticated four-wheel-drive system, a premium interior, and all the tech that anybody could want.
Despite its advanced age by today's automotive standards, the 2022 QX80 drives remarkably well. The 5.6-liter V8 provides effortless power channeled through a sophisticated seven-speed automatic transmission. The suspension provides a well-controlled ride even over broken pavement, the bane of many large vehicles. Like all of the company's models, it is remarkably quiet, even passing through the numerous road construction projects in my neighborhood these days. And it's third row of seats can accommodate up to three people.
Major upgrades for 2022 include an all-new touch screen infotainment system that is much easier to use than the previous version. Aside from that, there really wasn't much that needed improvement. Both the QX80 and Armada share a platform with the Nissan Patrol, a rugged SUV that isn't sold in America. That gives it surprising off-road capabilities for such a large and comfortable vehicle.
In truth the Armada is the QX80's toughest competitor because it is so mechanically similar and costs thousands less. But that is same with other manufactures who base their luxury SUVs on less expensive but still impressive models. That includes: Cadillac, whose Escalade is based on the Chevy Suburban; Lexus, whose LX is based on the Toyota Land Cruiser; and Lincoln, who bases the Navigator on the Ford Expedition. Buyers need to decide whether the additional refinements are worth the higher prices.
There is no doubt the 2022 Infiniti QX80 is an impressive achievement, however. For a vehicle that weigh nearly three tons, it moves very smartly down the road and is capable of impressive acceleration. Although far from sporty, it does not "float" down the road or around corners as might be expected. There is remarkably little wind or road noise in the cabin. The interior materials are of the highest quality, including the heated and cooled front bucket seats. And the technology is impressive, including the camera system that simplifies parking such a large vehicle.
The biggest drawback is undoubtedly fuel economy, which is in the teens. That why the QX80 and similar traditional gas-powered vehicles are not likely to be around much longer. Governments are mandating higher fleet mileage and subsidizing electrified vehicles. Tradeoffs are likely to include much higher prices for such large vehicles, whose outdoor recreational abilities have yet to be seen.
But if you appreciate traditional family-size, off-road capable vehicles with luxury and performance, the 2022 Infiniti QX80 should be at the top of your shopping list.
2022 Infiniti QX80 4WD
Base price: $71,995 (Luxe)
Price as tested: $83,630 (Sensory)
Type: Full-size SUV
Engine: 5.6-liter V8 (400 hp, 413 lbs-ft)
Transmission: 7-speed automatic
EPA estimated mileage: 14/20
Overall length: 210.2 inches
Curb weight: 5,676 pounds
Final assembly: Los Angeles, California
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