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Truck-esque in its build (which only lends to its strength and durability), the 2021 Infiniti QX80 is a third-row SUV that defies expectations in many ways. Its standard V8 engine is certainly powerful, and the 8,500-pound maximum towing capacity is basically unparalleled for a vehicle in this segment. And for its size, this SUV handles extremely well - a feat that many third-row SUVs cannot boast to have achieved.
The QX80 has a new mid-tier trim level this model year, the Premium Select. It also gets a few more changes that help to make it a more attractive buy. But this vehicle does have a few downsides. First of all, the V8 is thirsty for gas, so fuel economy is subpar for even this segment. You also do not get the classiest of interior designs for the segment, and the optional 22-inch wheels are best skipped over since they make the ride quality a bit too bumpy.
So, should you get the 2021 Infiniti QX80? Read through this review of the QX80 to learn what is new, what we like about it, a few things we would like to see changed, and how it stacks up against the competition this model year.
What's New for 2021?
The biggest addition to the 2021 Infiniti QX80 is the mid-tier Premium Select trim level. This trim level comes with all-wheel-drive, the blind spot monitoring system, and power heated front seats. You can opt for leather upholstery on the seats too. The QX80 also sees the standardization of lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control, which are certainly handy driver aids to have equipped.
Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2021 Infiniti QX80 – The Pros
1. A Strong V8 Engine
The standard engine equipped on the 2021 Infiniti QX80 is a 5.6-L V8 engine that generates a power output of 400 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque. This is the only available engine, and it is a pretty strong performer. Paired with a 7-speed automatic transmission, this vehicle is able to get up to speed in a swift 6.3 seconds. The engine runs smoothly with the 7-speed equipped. Its power delivery is downright impressive considering how big of a vehicle this is.
2. Secure Handling
The engine is not the only solid aspect of the QX80's driving performance. The handling helps this SUV stand out. The hydraulic system is self-leveling, which keeps the vehicle stable while rounding through turns. There is hardly any body roll to be noticed, and the QX80 does not get rattled by bumps incurred mid-corner. Stability control remains on at all times, and it will kick in before the QX80 surpasses its limits.
3. A Solid Braking Performance
The brakes make the QX80's driving performance all the more enjoyable. The brake pedal offers a decent amount of feedback, and it modulates well as it keeps things linear but not too firm or too soft. The vehicle can make a panic stop from 60 mph in 116 which is incredibly short for a vehicle of this size. Overall, the brakes feel secure and should inspire confidence in the driver.
4. A Capable Off-roader
The 2021 Infiniti QX80 is actually quite the capable off-roader. The self-leveling hydraulic suspension makes it easy for the QX80 to adjust as needed to non-paved road surfaces, and the all-wheel-drive system definitely lends a lot of stability along with stability and traction control. You get plenty of traction from this vehicle, but make sure you do not opt for the 22-inch wheels since they take away from the off-roading experience. The standard wheels will do just fine.
5. A Quiet Cabin
The QX80 has a remarkably quiet, well-insulated cabin. You have to push the engine to full throttle in order to make it growl like a truck, but it otherwise remains nice and quiet. Wind and road noise barely make a peep until you take this SUV out onto the highway. Even then, you will still be able to hear your music playing just fine and hold conversations with passengers in the third row.
6. Plenty of Cabin Space
The 2021 Infiniti QX80 has a cabin that is certainly generous on space. There is plenty of leg and head space in the first two rows, and the third row is better on space than the average third-row SUV. Adults won't feel like they are being crammed into either the first or second row, and smaller adults and kids can easily fit into the third row without being packed in like a can of sardines.
7. A Lot of Outward Visibility
Drivers get a nice outward view from their seat in the QX80's cockpit. The huge windows offer a lot of visibility from the sides, as do the large side mirrors. There is a 360-degree parking camera system you can get that adds extra visibility, and blind spot monitoring aids as well (and come standard).
8. The 8,500-lb Max Towing Capacity
The 2021 Infiniti QX80 has a maximum towing capacity of 8,500 pounds, and that is quite an impressive rating for a third-row luxury SUV. There is load-leveling on the suspension, which certainly helps with towing. The vehicle also has a tow hitch that comes standard with a 7-pin wiring harness. All in all, it is a solid tow-er for a vehicle in its class.
9. An Easy-to-use LATCH System
The LATCH system used for anchoring child car safety seats is something that is very hit-or-miss in vehicles. And it is definitely a hit in the QX80. The second-row's bucket seats are large and can therefore easily house even larger car seats. Finding the LATCH points is simple as the anchors do not get buried into the seats. Littler kids can use the standard running boards to hop right up into the vehicle.
10. The Optional Theater Package
Want to add a rear seat entertainment system for the kiddos? Then opt for the Theater Package. It includes two 8-inch screens that are fixed to the front seat's back headrests for second-row passengers to see. You also get a 120-volt power outlet and an extra USB port tacked on. If you have small children who don't do that well during car rides, the Theater Package might be worth the extra cost.
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Reasons Not to Buy a 2021 Infiniti QX80 – The Cons
1. The Interior Design Leaves Something to be Desired
One of the bigger flaws on the 2021 Infiniti QX80 is that the cabin leaves something to be desired. While it has some luxurious elements and well-crafted elements that hold together, there are more hard plastic surfaces than what you should expect to find inside of a luxury vehicle. These just cheapen the vehicle and make you feel like you are riding inside of something like the Nissan Armada.
2. The V8 Engine Guzzles Fuel
The V8 engine is definitely powerful and enjoyable in many ways, but it is absolutely a gas guzzler. The EPA estimate for this V8 is just 15 mpg combined (with 13 mpg in the city and 19 mpg on the highway). Fuel efficient, it is not. If you are looking for something a bit more easy on the gas, then you will have to look elsewhere. This vehicle will take you to town at the gas pump.
3. The Optional 22-inch Wheels Compromise the Ride Quality
Skip the 22-inch wheels on the 2021 Infiniti QX80. Luckily, these are optional. But if you do equip them, you will notice a lot of bumps making their way into the cabin. These wheels make the ride quality feel way busier than it would without them. This will make off-roading rather unpleasant, and the QX80 is otherwise well-equipped to go off of the beaten path.
4. Not Much Adjustability on the Front Seats
The front seats in the QX80 lack adjustability, which is not something you should expect to have happen in a luxury vehicle. Available upgrades are all based on aesthetics, not on making the QX80 more practical and comfortable. Drivers will not all be able to find the perfect seating position, and passengers in the second-row captain's chairs will feel like they are trapped in even less-adjustable versions of the front seats.
How it Stacks Up to the Competition:
2021 Infiniti QX80 vs. 2021 Nissan Armada
The 2021 Nissan Armada is the non-luxury version of the 2021 Infiniti QX80. The Armada's interior looks high-quality but is basically on par with that of the QX80. The V8 engine is incredibly smooth and delivers a superb amount of power. You also get a lot of standard and optional features for the price. On the downside, you get the same poor fuel economy since these are basically the same engines. You also do not get standard smartphone app integration with either Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, which is an uncommon thing to have happen in virtually any vehicle these days. On top of all that, the Armada's third row of seats are too narrow, and lifting cargo into the cargo area can be difficult due to the load height.
2021 Infiniti QX80 vs. 2021 Audi Q7
The 2021 Audi Q7 is a strong contender in this segment with its phenomenal interior design. The materials are definitely high-quality, and everything seems like it is put together with expert craftsmanship. The ride quality remains smooth and effortless over any road surface, and you get a ton of standard features for the price. However, the infotainment system that was introduced last model year can be a bit of a distraction since it is not that easy to use. Additionally, the third row is pretty cramped, and you do not get as much cargo space as you do in other vehicles in this segment.
The 2021 Infiniti QX80 has a lot of things going for it, especially with the power delivery from the standard V8 engine and 7-speed automatic transmission. This SUV can easily go off-roading, and it has enough entertainment options to keep everyone engaged. However, this vehicle is incredibly thirsty for gas, and the interior could be much more upscale than what it is.
• Why buy a 2020 Infiniti QX80? w/ pros vs cons