2021 Infiniti QX80

By January 25, 2021

Hulking body-on-frame SUVs dripping with opulence are still in style, and among them, the 2021 Infiniti QX80 is still a formidable competitor in its own right.

Infiniti has taken the time in 2021 to rejigger the trim levels and add a few additional active-safety features. Otherwise, the big QX80 is as familiar as ever.

Every model gets powered by a 5.6-liter V-8 doling out an even 400 hp through a 7-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive is standard, with four-wheel drive on the options sheet. Even in rear-drive form the QX80 can only muster 14 mpg city, 20 highway, 16 combined.

The QX80 gets numerous standard safety features, including standard automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitors, and active lane control. A rearview mirror that can display the backup camera footage is also standard.

The NHTSA and the IIHS haven’t tested the QX80 for crashworthiness.

Model Lineup

Last year, the QX80 was only sold in Luxe and Limited trimmings. This year, the Luxe remains but the Limited is replaced by a mid-tier Premium and a range-topping Sensory.

Prices begin at $70,445 for a Luxe, up slightly over last year. Standard equipment includes luxuries like leather upholstery, dual touchscreens, navigation, a power liftgate, heated and power-adjustable front seats, a power-folding third row, and a heated steering wheel. With those features 20-inch wheels and LED headlights are standard as well.

Moving into the mid-grade $74,745 Select brings about some aesthetic upgrades, such as 22-inch wheels, dark trim, a black grille, and black mirror caps. Some unique colors are also available for the leather upholstery.

The top-dog Sensory begins at $81,595. It buys cooled front seats, heated rear seats, a softer grade of leather, and adaptive headlights. An adaptive suspension exclusive to the Sensory helps mitigate body roll and improve the ride.


If the QX80 looks familiar, that’s because it is—beneath all the chrome and glitter is a thinly-disguised Nissan Patrol, a vehicle not sold in America.

Despite the humble starting point, Infiniti designers added some nice touches exclusive to the QX80. The front end sports a nice XL-sized variant of the familiar Infiniti face.

Carlike doesn’t describe the rest of the body, which doesn’t try to hide its massive bulk or its box-like shape. Some subtle contours and tapering keep things interesting. In a class where style matters, the unique, glitzy QX80 will look right at home on the poshest boulevard in town.


The QX80 has been around since 2011, and a major facelift in 2018 benefited the cockpit the most. It’s not the most cutting-edge workplace, but build quality is excellent and the materials are largely premium, soft-touch textiles. The few hard plastics are tucked away out of sight.

Every QX80 gets a pair of touchscreens. An upper 8.0-inch screen is focused on the navigation display, while the lower 7.0-inch screen is good for climate and radio functions. The system is fairly easy to learn.

Seating is as comfortable as you’d expect for a big, plush cruiser like this. You won’t find big bolsters or firm seat bottoms here—the QX80 is all about sofa-soft traveling down wide-open interstates. Plenty of visibility, quality leather upholstery, and multi-way power adjustment make it easy to whittle away hundreds of miles.

In the back, passengers enjoy either a traditional bench seat or captain’s chairs; either way, they’re treated to 41 inches of leg room. A third row is standard, but its 29 inches of leg room isn’t the most spacious.

As for cargo space, you’ll find 20 cubic feet behind the third row, 50 cubes behind the second row, and a full 86 cubic feet with both rows of rear seats stowed.

Driving Impressions

A big V-8, lots of weight, and a full-frame design in the QX80 deliver a driving experience that isolates passengers from the road. With the base 20-inch wheels you won’t feel a thing on even the worst roads; the 22s are a bit more susceptible to bumps but still largely unperturbed.

Ride quality gains where handling takes a hit. Even with the adaptive suspension on the Sensory trim the QX80 has almost no steering feel and lots of body lean. It’s possible to off-road with it thanks to generous wheel travel and ground clearance. It also can tow up to 8,500 pounds.

The 5.6-liter V-8 is creamy-smooth and powerful; it loafs along with plenty of torque down low. It can scoot to 60 mph in under six seconds if it must, but it prefers to cruise. You’ll prefer that as well, especially when it comes time to fill up: at just 16 mpg combined, the QX80 is no fuel sipper.

Final Word

The 2021 Infiniti QX80 is stylish, powerful, and comfortable. It’s not opulent like some other full-frame, V-8-powered SUVs—but it’s still a supremely isolated driving experience with most of the trappings of luxury. If we were buying one, we’d stick with the base model.


—by Anthony Sophinos with driving impressions by The Car Connection

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