2015 Infiniti QX80 Limited – review

2015 Infiniti QX80 Limited

2015 Infiniti QX80 Limited

I’ve had this love affair with rugged off-road vehicles.  These big, tough off-road vehicles such as the Land Rover Defender and Toyota Land Cruiser are the type of beefy trucks often used in Third World countries where ‘roads’ are more likely to be the fantasy of some sketchy ‘government’ drawn on a map as an unofficial transportation wish list.

While Land Rover and Toyota’s Land Cruiser may be well known brands to the automotive cognoscenti, few North Americans are familiar with the Nissan Patrol.

The Infiniti QX80 is the super luxurious offering in North America based on the rugged Nissan Patrol sold in markets such as Australia.

Full Size, Fully Capable Make no mistake, the 2015 Infiniti QX80 Limited is big, brawny and ultra-luxurious.  The 2015 QX80 Limited is currently being offered by Infiniti Canada at a lofty $91,185.  That competes directly with the Cadillac Escalade Premium ($94,695.)Everything about the QX80 is big.  There’s a beefy 400 horsepower 5.6-litre DOHC V8, 7-passenger seating, a massive curb weight of 2761 kg (5888 lbs.), and an impressive towing capacity of 8,500 lbs.

This is the luxurious Infiniti QX80 in North America.  In markets such as Australia, it's the rugged Nissan Patrol

This is the luxurious Infiniti QX80 in North America. In markets such as Australia, it’s the rugged Nissan Patrol

Big and brawny has a cost

The QX80’s big and brawny character comes at a cost.

Its muscular 5.6-litre 400 horsepower aluminum block V8 sucks premium unleaded at a rate that makes oil company executives rub their hands in glee.  Rated at 16.9/11.9 l/100 km (city/hwy), the QX80’s fuel consumption is pretty much average for its class.

(Interestingly, Infiniti  have employed numerous engineering ‘tricks’ to improve the big brute’s efficiency.  The specs show a respectably low aerodynamic coefficient of drag as 0.36 and an electronically-controlled 7-speed automatic contribute to the SUV’s should help maximize the SUV’s on-road efficiency.)

On-road performance

I’m used to driving smaller vehicles, usually with a ‘sporting’ bent.  (Regular CarAndRider.com readers will know our daily driver is a 2015 Subaru WRX.)  So jumping into the QX80 requires a definite change in driving mindset.

The QX80 is big, and it feels big, heavy and slightly ponderous.  For sure, the Infiniti wraps you in a beautiful, leather and steel cocoon of luxury, but the first corner you take at speed signals the driver to slow down and enjoy the limo-like ride.

Think of driving this Infiniti SUV as if you’re at the helm of an ocean liner and everything clicks into sharp focus.  Think well in advance, brake early and smoothly, and corner at a speed imagining you’re transporting a 5-tier wedding cake in the back and the Infiniti behaves impeccably.

Our real world testing consisted mostly of highway driving, with sustained speeds at 120 kph.  The big Infiniti returned 13.3 l/100 km (21 Imp mpg.)

2015 Infiniti QX80 Limited has an impressive 8,500 lbs towing capacity

2015 Infiniti QX80 Limited has an impressive 8,500 lbs towing capacity

I was happy to test drive the 2015 Infiniti QX80 Limited.  Priced at the top end of the luxury full-size SUV class, its big, quiet and powerful.

Who’s the Infiniti QX80 Limited for?

The QX80 is best suited for the SUV buyer who wants a luxury highway cruiser with all-wheel-drive capability and the ability to tow a big load.

Infiniti claims the QX80 has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of 0.36, impressive for a full-size SUV

Infiniti claims the QX80 has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of 0.36, impressive for a full-size SUV

Likes:

  • Luxurious interior
  • Powerful V8
  • 8,500 lbs. towing capacity

Dislikes:

  • Fuel economy
  • Land yacht handling
  • Mis-matched woodgrain on dashboard and door panels

 

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