2014 Infiniti QX80 AWD:Big car, big luxury

7 May 2014 | 737 views | No Comment
   By Don Hammonds The 2014 Infiniti QX80 isn't for everyone. And it's not meant to be for everyone.         Thanks to the sheer bigness of it, the unusual exterior design and the challenges of driving it in crowded settings, some people in the marketplace might shrink from it, to be honest.       But if you're a luxury full size buyer, need the room for people and things,  you need strong towing capacity for a boat, and you've got money to pay for the gas and the window sticker, you won't want to miss this one.  We can see that most people looking for a full size luxury SUV are likely to head toward Chevy, Cadillac, Ford, GMC, and Dodge dealerships, with some Lexus dealers along the way.        But you'd be making some mistakes not at least considering the QX80.  It is truly sybaritic in the level of luxury offered, with creamy, gorgeous leather and finely done wood and chrome everywhere, and it is in a class by itself when riding in it on the highway for long distance travel.  Another strong point: The QX 80 is fleet and light on its feet.  It drives and handles very much like a lighter car when you're underway, so don't be intimidated by its size.  it can really move, and do so with authority.  The ride is made especially nice by the large windows on it. By the way, the QX80 used to be known as the QX56, and it's been given the new name to fit in with Infiniti's new nomenclature.        And for those among us who are concerned about such things, if you equip it right, the QX80 can tow up to 8,500 pounds.  You may want to order an automatic-leveling rear suspension option, too.  And yes, it does use lots of gas; it's rated at 14 city, 2highway, and 16 miles per gallon overall.     But it also  can get 20 miles per gallon on the highway, and we actually managed 22 or 23 miles per gallon on the highway by driving cautiously, not jumping on the accelerator, or not driving with cruise control when practical to do so.  Because it uses premium gasoline, you will spend $6,000 more in fuel costs over five years compared to other new vehicles.   Your gasoline costs will hit $3,500 annually if you drive 15,000 miles yearly with $3.75 a gallon gasoline.      Our tester cost $64,450 and needless to say, the standard equipment was lavish. Full power accessories, a 400 horsepower, 5.6 liter V-8, Infiniti All Mode all wheel drive ; a Snow Mode Tow Mode, and Hill start Assist; a seven speed automatic transmission, integrated class four tow hitch and seven pin wiring harness with cover, independent front and rear suspensions, leather seats, Tuscan Burl trim, heated drivers seat with two way power lumbar support, power moonroof, tri-zone temperature control, power lift rear lift gate power folding mirrors,  and power folding and reclining spit  folding and reclining third row seats, sequential welcome lighting and countless other items.     We were surprised to see that there still were so many optional equipment choices for this SUV.  On our tester, the options included a theater package with dual seven inch color monitors, two wireless headphones,  audio/video input jacks, heated second row seats, etc.; a technology package with intelligent cruise control, blind s[pot warning and blind spot intervention system, lane departure warning and lane departure prevention systems,  and even a high line deluxe  touring package that included a hydraulic body motion control system, semi-aniline leather appointed seats, etc.      When all's said and done, the bottom line with options came to a final price of $79,095.      You also get a pretty strong Total Ownership Experience" coverage program. It  includes a 4 year/60,000 mile basic limited warranty coverage, six year/70,000 miles powertrain limited warranty; 24 hour Roadside Assistance program, an Infiniti personal assistant, and a seven year unlimited mileage corrosion limited warranty.       Our biggest problem with the QX80 was its massive size.  You could almost never get into a parking garage in downtown Pittsburgh; it was just too tall, and we found ourselves circling parking lots trying to find spaces that would allow us to just pull forward and out rather than to have to deal with parking it in a space between other vehicles.  It was simply not the product for us for the city living and driving we do.        We also found that grownups were uncomfortable in the third row of seats because of too little space.       We think the Infiniti QX80 will be such a special product with consumers with very specific needs like large family and lots of towing,  and lots of  highway traveling.       But for everyone else in the SUV/Crossover market, well...not so much.      

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