The Infiniti QX80, which was formerly called the QX56,mashes up one of the most truck-like profiles among modern SUVs with some interesting callbacks to traditional utility vehicles of the past, as well as some lapses in good design taste. For the latter, a significant refresh for the 2015 model year -- including new exterior colors and wheel designs -- should help with that impression.
The massive headlights and huge grille carry over, pulling eyeballs to this vehicles front end immediately. For 2015, the QX80 gets revised styling here, with new headlamp detailing as well as new turn signals and fog lamps. The chromed vents on the outside remain fake-outs; only one of them actually functions to bring cool air under the hood. These flaws get muted by darker paint colors.
There's some vintage charm in the QX's silhouette, especially from the side, where its height and glass areas bring back the days of the Troopers and Monteros of the 1980s. Technically, the QX80 is a version of today's Nissan Patrol, another member of that trio (the only surviving one, in fact), and the faintly retro looks owes plenty to those roots. Most of the proportions hit the right notes: the ride height gives the QX the perfect SUV stance, and the D-pillar angles in such a way as to link it to the rest of the company's vehicles, as do the raised panels on the tailgate and the subtly swelled fenders. This year, there's a new bumper design with flush sonar sensors, and side-mirror housings get chrome plating.
The cockpit of the QX80 is as radiant as that of the Mercedes-Benz GL and about as refined than the one in the new Escalade—and it sums up as an interesting alternative to the excellent Range Rover. Slide in and savor the QX’s cabin to seal the deal. This look and feel fits in perfectly with the grace and finesse of the Q70 sedan. Finely finished wood burls and swirls around the analog clock, audio controls, and steering wheel on some versions; the hazelnut leather in our test vehicle matched it perfectly. From the hockey-stick angles of the dash center to the aluminum strip implanted into the shift lever like the stitching on a 22nd-century baseball, Infiniti’s designers have assured masculine shapes and textures throughout.