2014 Infiniti QX80

Known as the QX56 before Infiniti's new lineup-wide renaming strategy, the QX80 is a full-size luxury SUV that features a traditional body-on-frame layout. This design lets the utility back up its rugged looks with excellent towing and off-roading capabilities, although it also features surprisingly competent handling on the pavement as well.

Though its flamboyant, big-mouth exterior styling might not be to everyone's tastes, the QX80 is an unusually well-rounded large SUV in most other respects. Its interior is lavishly appointed, with supple leather, wood trim and soft touch materials adorning every surface, and the first- and second row-seats (the latter of which can be configured with captain's chairs or as a bench seat) are spacious and comfortable.

The same can't be said of the third-row, which is essentially a child-only space, but the QX80 is undeniably useful as a pack mule, with 16.6, 49.6 and 95.1 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third-, second- and first-rows, respectively.

Thanks to its truck-based underpinnings, the QX80 will also reward the bravery of owners willing to take their pricey SUV off-road by being a decent trail runner. Towing capacity, at 8,500 pounds, is sterling.

Playing a big part in the QX80's ability to haul hefty trailers is a muscle-bound 5.6-liter V8 that churns out 400 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque. Allied to a seven-speed automatic transmission, the mill can scoot the big beast from zero-to-60 mph in under seven seconds. Unsurprisingly, fuel economy is a weak point - mileage in the city is rated at just 14 mpg, while highway driving will yield 20 mpg.

Those figures hold whether the QX80 is fitted with standard rear-wheel-drive or optional four-wheel-drive.

The QX80 comes standard with 20-inch, forked seven-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels with P275/60R20 all-season performance tires, while 22-inch, nine-spoke forged aluminum-alloy wheels with P275/50R22 all-season performance tires are included with the Deluxe Touring Package.

All QX80s are equipped with around view monitor system that provides a live-view impression of a camera suspended above the vehicle when backing out of a parking spot or driveway. The system includes Moving Object Detection, which provides visual and audible warnings if it detects objects in motion within its field of vision.

Standard and Optional Features
The QX80 comes standard with leather upholstery, heated and power-adjustable front seats with memory functionality, a heated steering wheel, genuine wood trim, a 13-speaker AM/FM/CD/SiriusXM Bose stereo with USB and AUX inputs, Bluetooth connectivity with streaming audio, tri-zone automatic climate control, remote start, a power rear liftgate, a wunroof, fog lights, HID xenon headlights with auto on/off functionality, fog lights and 20-inch aluminum-alloy wheels.

Five optional equipment packages are available.

The Theater Package brings dual seven-inch video screens, a wireless remote control, two sets of wireless headphones, aux audio/video input jacks, a 120V power outlet and heated outboard second-row seats.

The Tire and Wheel Package adds 22-inch forged aluminum-alloy wheels.

The Split Bench Seat Package increased seating capacity from seven to eight by swapping out the standard second-row captain's chairs for a 60/40 split folding bench seat.

The Deluxe Touring Package includes semi-aniline leather upholstery, cooled front seats, power folding second-row seats, a hydraulic body motion control system that reduces body roll, heated outboard second-row seats, an advanced climate control system, mocha burl wood trim and second-row footwell courtesy lights.

The Technology Package nets intelligent cruise control, distance control assist, Blind Sport Warning and Blind Spot Intervention, Lane Departure Warning and Lane Departure Prevention, Intelligent Brake Assist with Forward Collision Warning, Backup Collision Intervention and front seat pre-crash seat belts.

Occupant Safety
All QX80 models boast dual front, front-side and full-length side curtain airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems.

A plethora of optional safety features can be spec'd as part of the technology package. The Lane Departure Warning system uses a small camera mounted behind the windshield to determine when the QX80 is wandering into an adjacent lane and notify the driver. If the driver doesn't react, Lane Departure Prevention can gently bring the vehicle back into the proper lane.

The Forward Collision Warning system alerts the driver if an impending collision with a car or other obstacle ahead is detected. If the system determines that a crash is unavoidable, Intelligent Brake Assist will apply the brakes to help reduce the speed of the impact.

Similarly, Backup Collision Intervention detects if a crash could occur when backing up and applyies the brakes (if necessary) to prevent an accident.

Moving Object Detection, a supplement to the Around View Monitor 360-degree camera system, provides visual and audible warnings if it detects moving objects within the QX80's path. Finally, Distance Control Assist prompts the driver to release the throttle and apply the brakes in slowing traffic.

Key Competitors
Those looking for a coddling full-size luxury 'ute like the QX80 that tow, hit the trails and carry numerous passengers in comfort should consider the Cadillac Escalade, Lincoln Navigator, Land Rover LR4 and Lexus LX 570.