By on November 14, 2017

2018 INFINITI QX80, Image: Infiniti

I recall once having a discussion in TTAC’s Slack chatroom. The topic, one that doesn’t come up all that often these days, was styling excess. Way too much gingerbread, far too much latter-day Baroque flourishes, and too confusing a design can turn a high-priced vehicle into a dog’s breakfast.

In my opinion, that described the Infiniti QX80 to a “T.”

When Infiniti’s full-size, body-on-frame SUV launched in mid-2013, “understated,” “muted,” and “tasteful” were not words that jumped to the forefront of one’s mind. Thankfully, Infiniti has taken an eraser to the model’s most controversial elements for 2018, resulting in a vehicle that’s much more cohesive, yet similar in profile.

This is a refresh, not a ground-up redesign, but Infiniti seems to have made the best of it. Gone is the awkward, humped grille that seemed to extend too far towards the windshield. The triple-hole fender vents, which reminded this viewer of either dinosaur bones or a knife handle, are gone, replaced with a much more conventional — and classier — fender flourish. (Seriously, hasn’t this trend run its course yet?)

2018 INFINITI QX80, Image: Infiniti

The addition of Infiniti’s new corporate grille to the QX80’s visage, coupled with a cleaner, remolded lower fascia and ample use of LED lighting, works wonders for first impressions. Too bad about those unalterable, upright D-pillars. Still, Infiniti’s new “Powerful Elegance” styling smooths out the front and rear so much, only the side profile assures the viewer (quite strongly) that this is merely a facelift. As well, both 20- and 22-inch wheels receive new designs.

Infiniti claims its design team aimed for an impression of greater length, even though the vehicle’s proportions remain wholly unchanged. Viewed from the front, yes, it might look longer. As before, the 5.6-liter V8 carries over, making 400 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque. A seven-speed automatic is the only transmission. Also, like before, buyers can choose from rear- or all-wheel drive, with the grippier model sporting a brake-actuated anti-slip system.

2018 INFINITI QX80

If Infiniti’s aim for the exterior was to dial down the tawdriness and boost the glamor, the same ethos carried forth inside. Luxury buyers want to positively drown in luxury after entering a premium SUV, and the QX80 doesn’t disappoint. There’s been some rearrangement of buttons and knobs, but the big story is the finishes and materials.

New leathers combine with new available wood trims to ensure the cockpit of your new QX80 is as brown and shimmery as Ron Burgundy’s most Malaise-tastic dreams. Contrast stitching and piping? Yes, there’s that. There’s also more soundproofing for a quieter cabin, denser floor carpets, larger entertainment screens for rear-seat passengers (up an inch to 8.0 inches), an updated InTouch infotainment system (accessed via an 8.0-inch touchscreen), a larger front console storage bin, a full suite of driver assist technologies (including automatic emergency braking), and a digital rear-view “mirror.”

2018 INFINITI QX80

In the backseat, tech-obsessed passengers who find themselves unable to appreciate the opulence can immerse themselves in digital mediocrity via a new HDMI auxiliary port and two extra USB ports. As well, those rear screens are no longer required to play the same show or movie. Entertainment autonomy has arrived in the back of the QX80, it seems.

As for ride quality, the automaker didn’t seem convinced that its Hydraulic Body Motion Control system could quell every bump and shudder, so it changed the angle of the steel belt in the tire sidewall, reducing vertical deflection by 5 percent. In other words, the tire acts as more of a shock absorber than before. Meanwhile, newly softer shock absorber pistons join forces with the vehicle’s adaptive suspension to tame body lean in corners, as well as keep the peace over larger bumps.

The 2018 Infiniti QX80, which debuted Tuesday at the Dubai Motor Show, adds $900 to the entry price of 2WD and 4WD variants, meaning you’ll need to part with at least $65,745 to get inside one. The model should be on sale by the end of the year.

[Images: Infiniti]

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37 Comments on “Infiniti’s Biggest SUV Tones It Down, Classes It Up for 2018...”


  • avatar
    JRoth

    Don’t see a lot of these around here; every time I do, I’m just aghast at how awful it is. The new one is just sort of ungainly, not distractingly ill-formed.

    • 0 avatar
      Vipul Singh

      Haha…that illustrates ‘different strokes for different folks’ very well. The Nissan version of this vehicle (the Patrol) and its Toyota rival (the Land Cruiser) are staples in the Middle Eastern countries.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Ghastly trash and garbage components by the division that is Nissan by another name.

      Utterly hideous vehicles designed by the blind, of components sourced by suppliers that could not care less (lowest bidders simply wanting to earn Ghosn’s business), and bought by consumers who might be better served by a Mitsubishi product.

      Nissan = Renault-grade garbaaaage.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I thought Infiniti was closer to “old” Nissan than the current Nissan.

      • 0 avatar
        TOTitan

        Normally I agree with you DW but not this time. I owned three Q45’s that all went to 200,000 miles with nothing but normal maintenance. My Titan is almost 14 years old, has 150,000 miles and everything still works….even the AC and pwr windows, which is something the Chevy, Ford, Dodge, and Cornbinder trucks Ive owned in the past were unable to achieve.

  • avatar
    mmreeses

    Did I miss the DuPont memo that beige/champagne/coffee heavy with cream is the new pea green for 2018?

  • avatar

    The exterior styling is a huge improvement over the old, and will instantly date the old ones once this hits the street. Kudos there.

    The interior of the current model is dated in style and quality, and has a decidedly cut-rate feel, especially at the second row on back. The third row in these is not usable, even by short adults. New colors of leather and stitching are not going to fix these inherent issues, so it will continue to trail the class in interior accommodation.

    Masking the badly aligned wood trim between the dash and the door is just a coat of lipstick.

    The QX80 needs an complete do-over.

  • avatar
    gtem

    I’m very seriously eyeballing the new Armadas that share the same Patrol platform as these. I’ve seen new 4wd SVs at dealerships listed at $38k. That is an unreal bargain IMO. A new 4Runner seems like the shoe-in choice for me, but the Armada is appreciably larger on the inside, with more comfortable highway manners by the sound of it. I’m imagining it as the ideal vehicle for my OBX vacations: road trip down from the Midwest 15 hours to get to the Outer Banks, then spend the week wheeling around the beach. Can’t do that in a minivan.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Unless it’s a Delica.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        Funny you mention that, there was a mint L300 Delica down there near Avon with Maryland plates. Made my day. If I were to go the Delica route, I think I’d lean towards the newer L400 with a gas V6 for highway comfort and parts availability. My old MPV would actually work well in this context, I find beach driving is more about having enough clearance and a mechanical 4wd system that won’t overheat and give up the ghost (that and airing down tires), more so than specifically having a low range. I certainly never use it in the 4Runner when we go down there unless I’m yanking someone out of the sand. I saw some crossovers on the beach (KL Cherokee, Explorer) but that is risky business depending on sand conditions and what access point you use.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      That is a good enough bargain to ignore some ugly styling.

    • 0 avatar

      The armadas and QX have both been more popular then I would have thought here in the Northeast. I really like the new Armada there are already several in the school pickup line.

  • avatar
    True_Blue

    It’s better. Not good, but an improvement.

    The current generation, in white, looks like it was modeled after a beluga whale.
    It skips “fivehead” altogether and went straight to “ninehead.” Disproportionate isn’t a big enough word to cover the mis-styling writ large on that vehicle.

  • avatar
    jh26036

    I’m probably the only person in the world that loves this rig, way more than the Escalade or Navigator.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    Its better looking than any previous large Infiniti SUV, but that isn’t saying much.

    Hell, the first QX56 caught a merciless beat-down with the ugly stick, and this models predecessor (the current one) isn’t much better.

  • avatar
    saturnotaku

    While the QX80 technically “launched” in mid-2013 for MY ’14, it was only a name change and a mild facelift. The current-generation model, which is made in Japan and based on the Middle East market Nissan Patrol, has been on sale since 2010 when it was still called the QX56. Before that was the US-built, Nissan Titan-based QX56 that was on sale from 2004-2010.

  • avatar
    Steve_S

    I thought there was a full redesign coming this year or next year?

  • avatar
    dal20402

    The shapes are a bit more cohesive now, but I fail to see any evidence of “toning down” here.

    Serving-platter-sized chrome fender vents: still there
    Grocery-display-case-sized chrome grille: still there
    Giant strip of chrome on lower bumpers: still there
    Big mirrors with chrome caps: still there
    Chrome roof rails: still there
    Bright 22s: still there
    Giant strip of chrome on the hatch: still there, and much bigger

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    How much would it have cost to put in a more up-to-date instrument cluster and infotainment system?

  • avatar
    jmo

    I love these. There is something honest about the styling. It’s big, it’s garish but in a fun way. It reminds me of a guy who is the life of the party and always insists on picking up the check.

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    This Infiniti and its Armada sister are bloated, graceless pigs.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    I’ve really taken a shine to these the past few years as I consider upgrading to a SUV again. The QX80 of the past few years is leagues better looking than the original QX56 and early version of these. This new model is even better looking.

    If I’m not mistaken, the fender vents are actual vents as needed for the Nissan Patrol.

    I like this front end better than the over-chromed in-your-face grille on the Armada, although an Armada SL with the tech package and safety devices can be had for low $40s….very tempting.

    This is a Toyota Land Cruiser for $20k less in my mind….

  • avatar
    55_wrench

    A friend of mine has the beluga edition QX80. Though the interior was quite nice, the illusion of luxury was done for when I closed the door from the outside.

    Sounded like a giant tin can.

    Hope they got some Dynamat for the mid cycle refresh.

  • avatar
    W210Driver

    Hideous.

    Nice interior, though.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “the 5.6-liter V8 carries over, making 400 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque.”

    Retune this to rev out to 450hp and put it in the Q60.

  • avatar
    cbrworm

    Wow, the exterior really looks much better. I’m not so sure about the interior, but it is probably more than sufficient for my kids & pets to ruin. There are a ton of the current body style QX80’s running around here doing high school kid duty. Before I drove one for the first time, I had no appreciation for how well they drove and how nice they are compared to other big vehicles. I’m just not a fan of the Escalade, which is what I would compare it to. From exterior looks alone, I never would have considered one. From the inside, it is nice enough and drives well. My goto vehicle in this size segment has always been the Sequoia, but I wouldn’t consider purchasing the new massive one and the old first gen body style ones are getting old.

  • avatar

    Having been around the Q50 and Q60, there’s absolutely no room under that hood for a V8.

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