I was driving the Infiniti QX60 mid-size Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) only a few weeks ago, so getting into the bigger QX80 was a bit of a deja vu moment. Same car, same design, just the supersized version of the SUV. But it turns out that the 2023 Infiniti QX80 has charms all its own and, powered by a monster 400hp 5.6-liter V8 engine with a 7-speed automatic, is surprisingly fun to drive, even as it has a standing curb weight of over 6,000 pounds. That’s a lot of car, no question, but when I had a carload of adults, it was a delight, quite comfortably seating six of us for a drive around Colorado.
Perhaps even more importantly for suburban drivers, the Infiniti QX80 combines plenty of luxury with a respectable 8,500 pounds towing capacity, plenty enough for your boat or trailer. A work trailer with mowers and other landscaping equipment? No problem, but seriously, what landscaper will drive a luxury SUV and get it dirty? Let’s start this writeup, however, with a photo. This is the 2023 Infiniti QX80 Sensory 4WD in Anthracite Gray and a Saddle Brown interior:
The QX80 is a big vehicle, no question about it, and it’s muchly the front that is rather imposing if you’re standing adjacent. The underlying vehicle is boxy, though Infiniti has put a lot of effort into softening those lines, as you can see. The interior is really beautiful and incredibly comfortable with its two-tone leather and sleek dashboard design:
While some vehicle manufacturers are moving away from buttons and knobs, Infiniti still clearly recognizes that its owners have grown up with these controls and don’t want to manage their drive experience and entertainment on a purely touch-screen basis. Yes, there’s a nice infotainment screen – a dual-screen 12.3″ InTouch system – but almost all of those buttons are also redundantly included on the steering wheel control too.
The result is that this Infiniti is a vehicle that you get into, sit down, and within moments have a solid sense of all the controls and are ready to hit the road. Notice the traditional shifter for the gears too. It might not be a manual transmission, but it kinda looks like you’re going to have to push the clutch and shift from 2nd to 3rd when the tach shows you just hit 4,000rpm!
Safety features for the QX80 include the usual raft of options for a modern vehicle, including high beam assist, blind spot warning, lane departure warning, lane departure prevention, predictive forward collision warning and intelligent cruise control. For towing, it adds trailer sway control. This model included the Infiniti Radiant Illuminated Kick Plates, Illuminated Cargo Scuff Plate, roof rail crossbars, and the Infiniti Radiant Exterior Welcome Lighting (which adds up to a cool $1700 additional. Do people really like these lights so much?)
Looking more closely at the center console, there are two big cup holders (of course!) and a lot of controls:
The lower left knob and buttons control the infotainment system, quite handy when you’re driving and don’t want to lean forward to interact with the touch screen, while the top right knob and buttons enable various drive modes, including “snow” and the various 4-wheel-drive options. Surprisingly, the gear shift indicator is a straight line of gears with no complexity or zig-zagging. Kinda retro in this day and age, actually.
Buttons? It has a relatively modest number on the front dash, and they’re all well-labeled and logically grouped:
Notice that there’s no attempt to double up on the knob functionality, something that made some of the latest Kia vehicles rather confusing (see my writeup of the Rocky Mountain Driving Experience event to learn more about what I’m referencing, if you’re curious). For the number of controls included, this interface seemed pleasantly sparse and easy to understand, even while driving at highway speed.
A lot of companies are experimenting with completely new gauge displays, but as with much of the QX line, the QX80 has a pretty traditional display:
It could perhaps do with a touch of color to make it feel a bit more modern, but it’s clean and straightforward. Why you need a tachometer with an automatic is another topic entirely, but this is entirely useful.
And notice that miserable fuel efficiency: 16.9mpg. At 3 tons curb weight and 8,500 pounds towing capacity, however, this isn’t a subcompact for zipping to work with the smallest possible eco footprint. For its weight and towing class, it’s fairly typical. Infiniti has a very clean burning engine with its big 400hp V8, offering an EPA Fuel Economy & Greenhouse Gas Rating of 2, surprisingly low. That also gives it a smog rating of 3/10, also a good number for a vehicle of this class.
If it’s just you and the most you put in the vehicle are a few bags of groceries, however, get real. You need a compact car and can then enjoy 40+ mpg and zero emissions instead. But if you have a gang or often take clients out and about, the space of the 2023 Infiniti QX80 is very nice. And those rear seat passengers won’t feel like they’re missing out either with this well appointed rear console:
Those rear passengers will appreciate the legroom too:
This photo also highlights the lovely interior finish with the diamond pattern on the leather inserts and overall “Saddle Brown” on black design language. It’s very comfortable.
Looking into the vehicle from the rear, you can see that there’s decent room for each of the three rows of seats too:
You can’t see it very clearly, but the driver and front passenger’s headrests include built-in entertainment systems for the second-row passengers too. This is known as the Dual Screen Rear Entertainment System and it’s included in the base price of this particular QX80 trim line, which was a bit of a surprise. That’s good, though, because with similar size tablets about $100 each, it’s hard to justify spending thousands of dollars on a screen that’s stuck in the car and will inevitably become outdated as tech moves forward.
Want to raise or lower that third row of seats? No work is involved at all; just push one of these buttons on the right side of the rear cargo area:
This is one of those “not necessary, but really nice” features that makes it a breeze to quickly switch your QX80 from a four-passenger family vehicle to a seven-seater with space for the little ‘uns in the back row. No tugging, no arguments, no hassle, and, of course, it lowers the seats just as easily too.
Finally, another view of the SUV, this time from the back of the vehicle:
It’s big. It’s boxy. But it’s still pretty attractive and will definitely get you from point A to point B, even if there’s tough terrain, a few mountains, or a little league team involved too. If you need a beast of an SUV with 400hp and 8500 pounds of towing capacity, then the Infiniti QX80 is definitely an SUV to keep on your shortlist.
2023 Infiniti QX80 Sensory 4WD with 400hp, 413-lb-ft torque 5.6L V8 engine with 7-speed automatic in Anthracite Gray and Saddle Brown interior. BASE PRICE: $87,450.00. Options included: Infiniti Radiant Illuminated Kick Plates, Illuminated Cargo Scuff Plate, roof rail crossbars, and the Infiniti Radiant Exterior Welcome Lighting. AS DRIVEN: $90,885.00.
Disclosure: Infiniti loaned me the QX80 for a week’s test drive in return for this candid write-up. Thanks, Infiniti.