Infiniti QX80 Goes Glamping in Russia

Jason R. Sakurai
by Jason R. Sakurai

Infiniti’s wanderlust has taken the QX80 to other faraway locations, but none quite as exotic as Privolzhskoe, Tver Oblast, Russia, to go glamping in Villi Ulei’s geodesic domes.

In what’s termed a comfort zone for climatic conditions in Russia, temperatures range from 9-degrees Fahrenheit in the winter, to a high of 66-degrees in the summer. As you can see, snowfall is abundant in the region, from a low of about 16 inches, to almost 32 inches, and it spans anywhere from four to five months of the year. Home to 1.35 million Russians, 30% of whom are Russian Orthodox, it might seem like a great place to go if it were summer at the Boishoe Zavidovo, when Nashestvie, the largest Russian rock festival, is being held.

Located in the middle of the East European Plain, Tver Oblast spans 161 miles north to south, and 279 miles east to west. Despite claims of having to test the QX80’s off-road prowess, Tver Oblast is mainly flat, with some alternating lowlands and highlands, from 200 feet near the Kunya River, to a high of 1,138 feet at the highest point in the Valdai Hills. While the occasion to visit Russia was said to test the capabilities of the new QX80, let’s be clear that we were not among the media participants or others offered an escape from the nearby capital city of Moscow.

A watershed of the Caspian and Baltic seas, there are more than 800 rivers in the region that are longer than six miles in length, with the Volga being the main river at 425 miles within Tver Oblast. Infiniti mentioned the river possibly being frozen over, so fishing wasn’t the main attraction. No, Infiniti had getaways and what they call comfortable retreats in mind. This follows previous excursions in the Gobi Desert, Jordan, and the American West, none of which we’ve experienced, at least not as guests of Infiniti.

Historically, between the ninth and tenth centuries, there was a settlement already established where the Tamka and Volga rivers meet. Much later, a fort was built on this site, during the period when the Rostov-Suzdal princes and slavs from the Novgorod Republic were mixing it up. During World War II, Germany occupied part of Tver Oblast from 1941-1943. In 1966, the federal government signed a power-sharing agreement, granting it autonomy, which only lasted until 2002, when it was abolished. Tver Oblast is divided into two urban areas, Ozyorny, and Solnechny, the five cities of Tvter, Kimry, Rzhey, Torzhok, and Vyshy Yolochyok, and thirty-six districts.

Villi Ulei is located in a state park, and on a private beach. Area attractions include the Kimry Theater of Drama and Comedy, Kimry Local History Museum and the Kolkunovo Zoo Circus. What strange and far-flung location will Infiniti use as the next backdrop for their vehicles?

[Images: Infiniti,]

Jason R. Sakurai
Jason R. Sakurai

With a father who owned a dealership, I literally grew up in the business. After college, I worked for GM, Nissan and Mazda, writing articles for automotive enthusiast magazines as a side gig. I discovered you could make a living selling ad space at Four Wheeler magazine, before I moved on to selling TV for the National Hot Rod Association. After that, I started Roadhouse, a marketing, advertising and PR firm dedicated to the automotive, outdoor/apparel, and entertainment industries. Through the years, I continued writing, shooting, and editing. It keep things interesting.

More by Jason R. Sakurai

Join the conversation
8 of 30 comments
  • Kcflyer Kcflyer on Mar 02, 2021

    Coincidentally I just watched "the way back" again recently. Based on a purportedly true story of polish prisoners escaping a gulag in Siberia during world war 2. Walking 4000 KM over frozen mountains and dry deserts from Siberia to India. This Infinity would have be a welcome relief for those poor souls. But I'm sure Russia is all better now so lets run puff pieces like this.

    • See 2 previous
    • Slavuta Slavuta on Mar 02, 2021

      @Art Vandelay Art, please don't trip over yourself. It is not healthy

  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Mar 02, 2021

    Kimri. You don't want to visit that town, it is worse than Chicago downtown. BTW Tver too - too far from Moscow.

    • See 2 previous
    • Slavuta Slavuta on Mar 03, 2021

      @Inside Looking Out I remember Samara to which I went at least 12 times in the summer with most warm memories. Beautiful old town, great Volga beaches... Speaking of cars, in the 80s they had green line system where on the each intersection they had a display showing which speed to travel with to go on green at the next intersection. I have never seen this anywhere else.

  • 3-On-The-Tree To say your people are total monsters is an unfair statement. You can judge the Japanese government but to say the citizens are culpable or responsible is wrong. That’s like saying every Caucasian person in the U.S is responsible for slavery or the civil rights era of violence and discrimination against African Americans and are benefiting from it. That’s 79 years ago, the average Japanese citizen born during WWII has nothing to do with what happened. Even my Japanese grandmother who was living in Yokohama whose home was firebombed was just trying to survive with 3 kids and a husband fighting in the war. Just like every war the citizens suffer, I saw it in Iraq. You can’t judge the people from the misdeeds of their government, my mom was born after the war, you really think she is responsible for what happened?
  • Irvingklaws Was a must have for my wife's new car. After years of windshield mounts, trying to keep the sun off the phone, wires running across the dash,'s been a welcome upgrade. Don't have it in my current (old) car, just a stock stereo with the aforementioned windshield phone mount and wires...which is fine enough for me. But if I upgrade the radio with an aftermarket unit, the first thing I'm looking for, after separate volume and tuning KNOBS, is Carplay. Note, I've yet to find an aftermarket head unit meeting these basic qualifications. The infotainment in my '17 GTI had both of these and was near perfect, I'd be happy with that unit in any car.
  • Haze3 Near must have... car guy make car, software guy make software THAT I CAN USE EVERYWHERE and not just on some specific brand of truck/car/suv.
  • Wolfwagen If there is no Rust or rot this would be a good buy when MB craftsmanship and engineering meant something. While I prefer the 500 or 560 for the larger engine, this is good
  • Wolfwagen Tim, Now you should ask the B&B who we want to succeed and why. You could limit it to EV or non- North American MFGs.