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The Car Connection Expert Review

Byron Hurd Byron Hurd Contributor
July 2, 2020

Buying tip

Infiniti’s packages may seem like a good value, but they often have to be bundled together to get certain features. Your best bet is to grab the active safety features and skip the rest. Your wallet will thank you.

features & specs

13 city / 19 hwy
13 city / 19 hwy
14 city / 20 hwy

The 2020 Infiniti QX80 heaps glitz and chrome onto a trusty, but relatively aged, SUV frame.

The 2020 Infiniti QX80 is a lot of SUV, and that’s exactly what Nissan’s luxury subsidiary was going for. 

Infiniti delivers exactly what buyers want in a large luxury cruiser—a high seating position, a big V-8 and lots of capability. It also packs an excellent interior with impressive materials.

The 2020 Infiniti QX80 earns a 6.4 on our overall scale. Comfort and style win out over efficiency in this brute of an SUV, but that’s to be expected in this class. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

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Infiniti has made automatic emergency braking standard on the 2020 QX80, which it lacked last year. This, along with a good number of other standard features, makes the base model a decent buy. 

The QX80 is powered by a 5.6-liter V-8 that makes 400 horsepower. It’s paired to a 7-speed automatic transmission and this combo is good for an 8,500-pound tow rating when properly equipped. Rear-wheel drive is standard with four-wheel drive is available; Limited models have it baked in. 

Infiniti’s big SUV handles about as well as you’d expect, but an available hydraulic adaptive suspension system makes the most of it. 

Inside is where the QX80 really shines. There’s standard three-row seating with a power-folding third row and leather everywhere you look. For some extra cash, you can upgrade to nappa leather. You’ll find 16.6 cubic feet of cargo room behind the third row and there’s more available if you don’t need those extra seats.

Also standard are a set of 20-inch wheels, a power liftgate, power-adjustable heated front seats, second-row captain’s chairs, Bose audio and an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth and smartphone integration for both Apple and Android phones. 

Base versions cost about $68,000 and fully loaded trims can crest $90,000 with four-wheel drive and all options. A base version with the optional four-wheel drive and active safety suite will ring the till at about $75,000, and that’s the way we’d buy it. 




The 2020 Infiniti QX80 heaps on chrome, but it's handsome.

Previous versions of Infiniti’s big SUV have been compared to a Beluga whale, but thanks to some updates, the latest iteration is downright handsome.

Both inside and out, the QX80 checks a lot of boxes in the styling department. We rate the QX80 a 7 out of 10 for style. 

Up front, an almost rectangular grille is flanked by narrow headlights featuring Infiniti’s LED signature. The hood lines cut along the QX80’s flanks, which are adorned only with small fender vents. 

Infiniti cleaned up the QX80’s rear end, too. It’s much more squared-off than previous versions, but not as chiseled as some of its competitors. 

It’s even more impressive inside. Loaded-up models show off leather and wood everywhere you look. The look is modern, but the natural materials used in the details exude Japanese tradition.

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Big V-8 performance has its appeal, but the 2020 Infiniti QX80 doesn't handle well.

The QX80’s 5.6-liter V-8 makes 400 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque. Paired with the standard 7-speed automatic and rear-wheel drive, this big beast can scoot. 

Unfortunately, that really only applies to straight lines. When the road turns curvy, physics can’t help but intervene. Thanks to its 6,000-pound curb weight, the QX80 earns a 5 out of 10 for performance. 

Four-wheel drive is available for a $3,100 upcharge, and it’s probably worthwhile for most buyers, especially if they ever see less-than-ideal weather. The QX80 has a lot of torque to offer, and trying to put it down through just the rear wheels in slick conditions won’t be much fun. 

The QX80’s 8,500-pound towing capacity won’t embarrass its body-on-frame competitors, but it’s plenty for most family toys. 4x4 models also get a two-speed transfer case if you plan to take your party off the beaten path, but you may want to consider a dedicated set of wheels and tires for off-pavement excursions; the factory 20-inchers and low-profile tires will only be suitable for crawling malls. 

Infiniti’s hydraulic body motion control system keeps the big QX80 level in the turns (or over humps) but it’s not meant to be a dedicated performance feature. It’s available on lower trims (for a hefty price) and standard on the loaded-up Limited. 

The QX80’s steering is light and requires quite a few turns to go from lock-to-lock. This makes it comfy on the highway, but you’ll be doing a lot of cranking to maneuver around tight spaces.

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Comfort & Quality

Big and comfortable, the 2020 QX80 is supremely comfortable.

The QX80’s mission is to move groups of people in comfort, and at that it excels. 

This category is the QX80’s wheelhouse. It gets a 9 out of 10. There are trucks that do it better, but you’ll be paying a lot more for the privilege. 

The QX80 offers a typical SUV seating position (commanding) and standard leather upholstery. Upgrading to the Limited gets you nappa leather, which is downright opulent. 

Up front, the seats are spacious and supportive—excellent for long trips. Heated front seats are standard, and ventilated chairs are available. 

The second row can be had as either a bench or captain’s chairs (the former is a $250 option). They boast 41 inches of leg room and offer plenty of head room for adults. The third row isn’t quite as generous and should be reserved for kids. It offers only 28.8 inches of leg room. 

Just 16.6 cubic feet of cargo room is available behind the third row, but it’s not all bad news. The standard power-folding third row drops down to open up more than 25 cubic feet of available space.

No matter how you outfit the QX80, it’s quiet and comfortable. Infiniti uses active noise cancellation to keep drone at bay and the optional adaptive suspension smooths out bumps with aplomb.

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The 2020 Infiniti QX80 lacks comprehensive crash-test data.

For 2020, Infiniti has made rear door alert, lane departure warning, reverse automatic emergency braking and blind spot monitoring to its suite of standard safety features, joining forward automatic emergency braking. 

Most luxury SUVs aren’t crash-tested. In the QX80’s case, it has been evaluated by government crash-testers, but not by the independent IIHS. It managed a relatively rare four-star overall rating with the NHTSA, with strong marks for side crash tests and rare three-star ratings for front and rollover crash safety.

We'll withhold an official rating here until more data is available, but the QX80 doesn't start off on the right foot.

Adaptive cruise control, active lane control and blind spot protection can be added with the $2,200 ProAssist package. Adaptive headlights and headlight washers are available in the Proactive package, but unfortunately Infiniti will force you to check just about every available option in order to add it.




New smartphone software and an updated infotainment system help the 2020 QX80 against competitors.

The 2020 QX80 starts at $66,750, and comes with a correspondingly decent suite of standard features.

For 2020, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay have finally been added to the QX80, as standard features no less. There are plenty of options to be had on Infiniti’s big SUV, but some are better picks than others. 

We give the QX80 points above average for good base content, good features, and its standard 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. We land at an 8 out of 10 for features. 

Infiniti breaks down the QX80 into several different variants, but there are really only two fundamental trims: base (“Luxe”) and Limited. Four-wheel drive can be added to the Luxe for $3,100; it’s standard on the Limited. 

Luxe models also get 20-inch wheels, a power liftgate, power-adjustable heated front seats, leather upholstery, second row captain’s chairs, power-folding third-row seats, Bose premium audio, forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment with navigation and Bluetooth connectivity.

Springing for the Limited will put you over the $90,000 mark. For that, you get open-pore wood, nappa leather, heated and cooled front seats, heated second-row seats, dual 8.0-inch screens for rear seat entertainment, an adaptive suspension and the full suite of active safety features.

You can build out a Luxe model with many of the Limited’s niceties, but you’ll pay through the nose if you’re hunting after specific features, as Infiniti makes many of its packages dependent on others. 

Infiniti has taken a lot of flack for the performance and features of its infotainment system over the years, but for 2020 it finally gets a new, high-def display with a laundry list of new features, including the aforementioned smartphone integration.

The instrument cluster has also been replaced for 2020; it’s now a 7.0-inch digital display.

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Fuel Economy

Big luxury SUVs like the QX80 aren't fuel-efficient.

There’s no getting around the QX80’s mission. It’s an SUV, and a big one at that. It was designed to haul as many as eight in comfort and style. 

The EPA rates the big SUV at 14 mpg city, 20 highway, 16 combined in its thriftiest configuration. If you add four-wheel drive, those numbers sink to 13/19/15 mpg. That nets a 3 out of 10 on our fuel-economy scale. Barely.

The QX80’s engine was rated on premium fuel, and since the big V-8 is the only option, there’s not a lot of breathing room here for Infiniti. Short of a hybrid powertrain, there’s not much that will redeem a large SUV in the frugality category. 

The Cadillac Escalade is EPA-rated up to 17 mpg combined, and the Lexus LX does worse at 15 mpg combined. The Lincoln Navigator nets a 19 mpg combined rating, but we don’t expect that will prove particularly easy to achieve in the real world.

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Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 7
Performance 5
Comfort & Quality 9
Safety N/A
Features 8
Fuel Economy 3
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