The new Infiniti QX80 SUV is now available in Australia
The new Infiniti QX80 SUV is now available in Australia

Infiniti QX80 even turns snobs' heads

Infiniti QX80 front.jpg
Infiniti QX80 front.jpg

 

INFINITI'S luxury large SUV, the QX80, cut an impressive figure along Tasmania's snowy roads during its Australian release this week, showing the kind of strength and performance it will need to turn heads in what is a very snobby segment.

The QX80 shares much of its DNA with the Nissan Patrol but is different, too, in ways that count, with the advantage of luxury inclusions, safety innovation and an evolved hydraulic suspension system.

Under the hood is a powerful 5.6-litre V8, paired well with an efficient seven-speed transmission that helps give the QX80 the sort of presence and refinement that can make an impact.

While the QX80 is likely to make a modest contribution to Infiniti's bottom line, it is an important piece in the line-up as the Japanese brand gears up to put itself in the best position to take advantage of what should be a stellar 2016.

Comfort
Space, space glorious space. If that's what you need in a SUV, then the QX80 will certainly not disappoint with enough room for the kids, their friends, even the kitchen sink.

Seats are generously proportioned and supportive with passengers in the last pew granted easy access, thanks to an electrically controlled second row which flips up at the touch of a button.

The electrically adjustable front seats can be heated and cooled while the outboard second row seats can also be warmed for comfort.

The cabin has a decidedly luxurious feel with the wood panelling, stitched console trim and quilted door inserts really nice finishing touches.

There is plenty of storage, too, including large cup holders and practically sized door bins and, of course, an impressive boot with some 470 litres available with all seats in position.

The 8-inch colour touch screen seems a bit lost in the large dash and while it is easy to operate, graphic quality could be better. Instrumentation, though, is on-trend and easy to use.

On the road


You would expect a vehicle of this size to lumber about, its 3.5 tonne mass causing it to lurch uncomfortably from one task to the next and leaving a noisy uncomfortable ride in its wake.

In this instance you would be wrong. The QX80 actually moves with impressive finesse, handling well on its 22-inch tyres despite a loose-feeling steering wheel, sweeping boldly into corners and offering up a ride that is not only quiet and comfortable but surprisingly pleasant as well.

The Hydraulic Body Motion suspension system which replaces the traditional dampers and anti-roll bars helps reduce body roll and varies suspension travel to create a flatter ride, making our efforts on Tasmania's twisty roads a very enjoyable affair.

The 5.6-litre petrol V8 manages to hustle the QX80 along but it still needs a bit of urging and a strong accelerator foot when climbing or preparing to overtake.

You can choose from four modes - snow, sand, rocks and on-road - all easily accessed by buttons on a raised dial close to the gear selector.

The QX80 is surefooted and capable and a very real example of how modern electronic systems can work to give the feeling you are driving a much smaller vehicle than is actually the case.

 

 

Infiniti QX80 console.jpg
Infiniti QX80 console.jpg


What do you get?


Infiniti believes in going the whole hog so while the QX80 is available only in one variant, it is not going a begging. The SUV is equipped with a host of frills and flutters including tri-zone climate control, 5.1 Bose cabin surround-sound system with 15 speakers, Bluetooth technology for mobile connectivity, 8-inch colour touch screen with sat nav and reverse camera, dual 7-inch monitors with multimedia video playback integrated in front headrests, heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, leather upholstery, sill plates, sunroof, proximity key with push-button start and adaptive front lighting system with auto high beam assist.

The QX80 has not been tested by ANCAP as yet but boasts six airbags, stability and traction control as well as a host of innovative safety technologies like Around View Monitor with moving object detection, Back-up Collision Intervention, Blind Spot Warning with Intervention, Intelligent Cruise Control with Distance Control Assist, Lane Departure Warning systems and Predictive Forward Collision Warning with Emergency Brake Assist.

Running costs
Official figures for a combined cycle is 14.8l/100km. Warranty is four years or 100,000km with Infiniti's Assure Service Program for the first four years or 80,000km. Service intervals are 12 months or 10,000km.

Competition
Infiniti has placed the QX80 firmly in the upper large SUV segment pitting its against the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class (from $114,900), Lexus LX570 (from $134,700) and Land Rover's Range Rover (from $179,800).

 

Infiniti QX80 seats.jpg
Infiniti QX80 seats.jpg

 

Practicality
The QX80 is expected to be snapped up by successful small business owners with large families, affluent people looking to carry more than a couple kids and those looking to make a statement and to the SUV has enough going for it to initiate that attraction. A real eight-seater with luxurious inclusions presents itself as a unique selling opportunity, especially to those looking for a bit of versatility as well. Consideration has been given to space and storage - the large visors and wing mirrors are great - as well as top-notch safety features even though some, like the lane departure warning, can be a bit intrusive. The rear window wiper needs to be bigger to be really effective while the second row headrests do hamper vision. At almost 2m high, you would have to watch yourself in shopping centre car parks

Funky Factor
You are not going to miss the QX80. Apart from its obvious size, there is also the gigantic front chrome grille and combination of boxy and sweeping lines to grab the attention. It looks like an SUV that was built for the US - where it has enjoyed success - and may not be to everyone's taste.

The lowdown
There is something about this great hulk of an SUV that is easy to like. The QX80 feels safe and comfortable and is easy to drive. It's eight-seats and worthy inclusions list will find takers as Infiniti looks to push forward.



What matters most
What we liked: Overall sturdy and comfortable ride, excellent storage options and inclusions, versatility
What we'd like to see: A diesel option, better warranty, safety systems with a tad more leeway
Warranty and servicing: 4 year/ 80,000km warranty and 4 year/80,000km assured-price servicing
 

Vital statistics
Model: Infiniti QX80 SUV
Details: Five-door four-wheel drive upper large SUV
Engine: 5.6-litre direct-injection V8 petrol generating maximum power of 298kW @ 5800rpm and peak torque of 560Nm @ 4000rpm.
Transmission: Seven-speed
automatic
Consumption: 14.8 litres/100km (combined average).
Bottom line: from $110,900

The verdict
Driving experience..............14/20
 Features and equipment .....17/20
 Functionality and comfort .16/20
 Value for money ................14/20
Style and design ..................11/20
Total...................................72/100
 


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