2015 QX80 New Car Test Drive
The 2015 INFINITI QX80 full-size luxury SUV gets a new exterior design, an upgraded interior, more standard features, and a new Limited Package.
Formerly called QX56, the largest vehicle from Nissan's luxury division was renamed QX80 for the 2014 model year. The QX prefix designates it as an SUV, while the 80 suffix denotes the largest model in the QX series, which includes the smaller QX50, QX60, and QX70.
Leading the changes to the 2015 INFINITI QX80 exterior are a revised front bumper, new grille insert design, integrated rear bumper protector, flush front and rear sonar sensors, new LED signature headlights with High Beam Assist, LED three-blink turn signals and fog lights, and new 20-inch and 22-inch wheel designs.
Inside, Mocha Burl trim (formerly available on the Deluxe Touring Package) replaces Tuscan Burl as the standard trim. A new burl trim, Strafford Burl, is added to the new Deluxe Technology Package. A Mocha Burl and leather-wrapped steering wheel comes standard on the 2015 QX80.
The new Limited Package, available on fully equipped 2015 QX80 AWD models, features dark chrome 22-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, dark chrome interior trim, stainless steel running board caps with rubber grips, under running board welcome lighting, darkened headlight inner lens, darkened taillight inner lens, dark chrome A-pillar covers and six exterior colors. The Limited Package's unique interior includes rich semi-aniline Truffle Brown leather appointments with a unique quilted pattern, open pore matte finish ash wood trim, Ultrasuede headliner and pillars, leather-covered grab handles and speaker grilles, unique floor and trunk mats and unique silver switchgear on the center stack.
Otherwise, QX80 is mostly unchanged for 2015. This second-generation version was launched as for the 2011 model year and was freshened for 2013.
INFINITI QX80 competes with seven-seat luxury SUVs Cadillac Escalade, Lincoln Navigator, Lexus LX 570, Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, and Range Rover.
QX80 comes with rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, the latter with a five-mode system. All models use a powerful 5.6-liter, 32-valve, double-overhead-cam V8 engine with direct fuel injection and variable valve timing and lift, making 400 horsepower and a hefty 413 pound-feet of torque. The 7-speed double-overdrive transmission enables good acceleration from the 5600-pound vehicle.
Fuel economy ratings for the 2015 QX80 are an EPA-estimated 14/20 mpg City/Highway, or 16 mpg Combined, whether with rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. Premium gasoline is required.
We found the V8 engine very responsive and the transmission is very smooth, like it's not even there. The burly V8 is a satisfying engine, producing 413 pound-feet of torque at 4000 rpm. At lower rpm, there's strong torque for quick acceleration when merging onto a busy highway. The transmission has Adaptive Shift Control, matching a driver's style, and a manual shift mode that provides a sportscar-like downshift blip. INFINITI calls it Downshift Rev Matching. That's something you don't find on every giant SUV. When properly equipped, a QX80 can tow 8,500 pounds.
Ride quality is firm, overly so at times, but usually comfortable, with sharp handling for a full-size SUV, assisted by sophisticated electronics.
The all-wheel-drive QX80 has a five-mode dial on the center console: automatic, four-wheel-drive high, four-wheel-drive low, low lock, tow mode and snow mode. Automatic mode transfers engine torque between the front and rear axles, from 0 front/100 rear, all the way to 50/50. We found it felt secure underway, even on icy highways.
The QX80 big. It seats seven with second-row captain's chairs, or eight with a three-seat bench in the second row. Between the captain's chairs there's a gigantic console with two storage bins and two cupholders. Stepping in is relatively easy, and running boards help ease the entry process. Back in the third row, riders get good headroom and relatively good legroom, and the seats recline 20 degrees. Three's a crowd in the third row, though, so the QX80 is best thought of as a six-seater.
Cargo capacity is generous. There's a modest 16.6 cubic feet of cargo space with the third row up, good for a small grocery trip, close to 50 cubic feet with the third-row seat folded, growing to a whopping 95.1 cubic feet with both rows down. The power liftgate works well and the button to close it is conveniently located on the inside of the hatch. The 60/40 third-row seat folds nearly flat, by pushing a pair of power buttons located in the cargo space.
The 2015 INFINITI QX80 ($63,250) comes standard with either rear-wheel drive, while the QX80 AWD ($66,350) is equipped with all-wheel drive. Each uses a 5.6-liter V8 and 7-speed automatic transmission.
Standard features include leather-upholstered seats; hard drive voice-command navigation with lane guidance, weather, traffic, and restaurant guide; 13-speaker Bose audio system with SiriusXM satellite radio, Bluetooth streaming audio and iPod compatibility. Also standard are 10-way driver and 8-way passenger power seats, tri-zone automatic climate control, a multi-function steering wheel, cruise control, and four 12-volt outlets. The standard seating configuration is two front bucket seats, two second-row captain's chairs with a center console, and a three-place folding rear seat. Optional for the same price is a split-folding second-row bench seat that brings total seating capacity to eight.
The Deluxe Technology Package ($5,550) includes Adaptive Front lighting System, semi-aniline seating, Hydraulic Body Motion Control system, Advanced Climate Control System, Blind Spot Intervention and other features. Other options: Driver's Assistance Package ($2,100); Split Bench Seat Package (no charge); Tire & Wheel Package ($2,450); Theater Package ($2,400); Limited Package ($10,000); Pearl Paint ($400); roof rail crossbars ($330); moonroof wind deflector ($190); carpeted cargo mat, cargo net and first aid kit ($100); all-season package ($300); illuminated kick plates ($440).
Safety equipment standard on all models includes frontal airbags, front side airbags, curtain airbags, front-seat active head restraints, second-row LATCH system, Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) with traction control, tire-pressure monitor, and ABS with Brake Assist. Optional all-wheel drive can enhance handling stability on slippery surfaces. The 2015 QX80 Driver's Assistance Package features Backup Collision Intervention, Blind Spot Warning, Intelligent Cruise Control, Distance Control Assist and Intelligent Brake Assist with Forward Emergency Braking and Predictive Forward Collision Warning.