Monday, November 10, 2014


The new 2015 Infiniti QX80 is a full-size SUV, designed for towing a heavy trailer, carrying passengers in luxurious comfort, or doing some serious off-roading. Changes for the 2015 Infiniti QX80 are primarily related to styling and trim updates. Starting with the SUV's exterior, the new QX80 gets a redesigned grille, new bumper with an integrated lower grille and flush-mounted sonar, LED headlights and fog lights, and a standard rear bumper protector. New 20- and 22-in. wheel designs debut for 2015, along with new paint colors called Hermosa Blue, Graphite Shadow, and Majestic White.

The QX80 is a spacious beast, with a high seating position and big front chairs that don't lack for room in any direction except where knees meet the center console. Ventilated front seats are an option. As for the second row, there's plenty of space for two adults there (perhaps three for shorter distances), and the leather seats can be heated. Second-row bucket seats are available, and we do prefer them. There's a third-row bench as well, but don't think that given the QX80's mammoth proportions it's usable by anyone but small children. Behind it, there's enough space for moderate shopping duty, but the third-row seat can be powered down to expand cargo space to 95 cubic feet.

Infiniti makes its darker Mocha Burl wood trim standard, and adds it to the steering wheel. QX80s with the Graphite-color interior add new silver contrast stitching and accents for the controls.

With its higher ground clearance, thinner profile and lighter side glass, the kinship is there. The QX80 may have the tall forehead and cheesy fender vents, but its interior is a handsome blend of leather, burled wood and metallic trim, all arranged with logical controls and strong, masculine lines. The 2015 refinements for the QX80 include a wider range of trim options, and more visual differentiation between those choices.

All 2015 QX80s come with a 5.6-liter V-8 delivering 400 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque, with drive going to either the rear wheels or all four via a seven-speed automatic transmission. The engine’s numbers might not seem high, but it’s enough to tow up to 8,500 pounds and provide adequate performance for this big and burly three-row SUV. This big ute can hit 60 mph in a surprisingly quick seven seconds, while gas mileage is no surprise -- a low 14/20 mpg. And despite being built by the same company that's responsible for pioneering the first mass-market electric car ever, there's still not an alternative drivetrain in sight for this model line.

You do get surprisingly off-road-worthy underpinnings, though, with full-time four-wheel drive with a real low drive ratio. Torque is biased to the rear, but can be split 50:50 between the front and rear axles when wheels start slipping. It’s fairly simple and effective—more so with the QX’s standard hill-start-assist electronics. Ride quality is excellent, too, in the QX80, even if you get the 22-inch wheels that are available on the most expensive versions. The QX's steering feel is light -- perhaps too light -- but its brakes are big and powerful. There’s an automatic leveling setup on the rear end for towing duty (the QX will drag 8,500 pounds behind it), as well as available Hydraulic Body Motion Control, air pressure at individual wheels to help damp out body lean (a feature not entirely worth the extra cost).

The QX80 remains a standout for those who want a vehicle that feels plush and exclusive; and that's even more the case for 2015 with the introduction of a new Limited model. In the new 2015 Infiniti QX80 Limited, you get a new Truffle Brown cabin marked by a palette of brown, black and silver leather and wood appointments and trim. Quilted leather seats, a suede-like headliner, silver accent piping, leather-wrapped speaker grilles for the instrument panel are among the many dress-ups. 

Some of the much anticipated new features in the 2015 Infiniti QX80 include adaptive headlights that automatically dip the high beams if another vehicle is approaching, and a collision warning system that can detect if an accident is imminent with an object ahead of the vehicle. Other fancy tech features include brake assist, a backup collision warning system, adaptive, and blind spot and lane departure warning systems. There haven't been any U.S. crash-test results for the QX in recent years.

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