2014 Infiniti QX80

Infiniti’s QX56 is now called the QX80, but no matter the number, it’s still a big, beautiful people-hauling machine. As many as eight can ride in the QX80, and every one of them will be surrounded by an elegant and spacious interior. The new QX is a road-trip machine extraordinaire.

“Q” is the new letter for Infiniti’s lineup starting in 2014, a nod to the original Infiniti performance luxury flagship, the Q45. Infiniti sedans, coupes and convertibles are now named with a Q, and SUVs and Crossovers will be named with QX. All Infiniti vehicles will still come with a nice perk: Infiniti Personal Assistant, a live 24-hour concierge service for the first four years of ownership.

Our test vehicle this week, the QX80, is available in RWD or AWD. Powering the QX80 is a 5.6-liter V8 rated at 400 horsepower and 413 lb.-ft. of torque. The transmission is a 7-speed automatic.

When we first stepped onto the running boards and climbed aboard this big QX AWD, we were immediately impressed with the cabin. With sumptuous leather seats and Tuscan burl trim, the interior is world class. The front seats are heated and cooled; the driver gets a 10-way seat and the passenger gets 8. The tilt/telescoping steering wheel with controls is also heated, as are the outside mirrors. Headlights and windshield wipers are automatic, there are three zones of climate control, the 60/40 third row seats are lowered and raised with the push of a button, and there is a power rear lift gate.

The test QX had standard navigation with traffic and weather, satellite radio, Bluetooth and a 13-speaker Bose sound system. Also standard was an intelligent key with pushbutton start.

The QX also has, as standard equipment, the best camera system on the market, hands-down as far as we’re concerned. The Around View Monitor system has selectable views that give the driver a look at every square inch around the vehicle. It’s as if the driver is sitting on a stepladder on top of the car with a 360-degree view around the car. You could literally black out all the windows and still safely navigate into the tightest of parking spots by just using the camera system. And that’s a good thing, too, because the QX80 is a tall, massive vehicle.

Our test QX80 was equipped with the optional Theater ($3,100), Technology ($3,250) and Deluxe Touring ($4,650) packages. The Theater package gets you dual 7-inch screens in the back of the front headrests, wireless headphones and heated second row seats. The Deluxe Touring package gets you upgraded Bose sound, a Hydraulic Body Motion Control System that reduces body roll in the vehicle, Mocha burl trim, semi-aniline leather and headlight washers.

The Technology Package, which we think is the best of the bunch, brings a host of safety and convenience features including intelligent cruise control, blind spot warning and intervention, backup collision intervention, lane departure warning and departure prevention, distance control assist, intelligent brake assist with forward collision warnings, and adaptive auto-leveling headlights.

On the road, the big QX80 isn’t the lumbering beast you might expect. It has plenty of power (towing capacity is 8,500 lbs. when properly equipped), and it is surprisingly agile. Because of its height, the QX80 tends to lean more in the corners. But the Hydraulic Body Motion Control System distributes force to the outer or inner suspension as required to decrease the body lean and level out the ride.

The base price for the QX80 AWD is $64,450 ($61,350 for RWD), and options can add up quickly. But this is a top notch, luxurious and safe SUV that can haul up to eight people in supreme comfort.

2014 Infiniti

QX80 AWD

Engine:

5.6-liter V8

Transmission:

7-speed automatic

Horsepower:

400

Test model base price:

$64,450 ($79,095 as tested)

EPA mileage rating:

14 mpg city / 20 mpg highway