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    Review: 2014 Infiniti QX80


    • Dashing Through The Snow, In A 400 Horsepower SUV


    The holiday road trip: A time where the family fills up the vehicle with presents and luggage to head out and enjoy time with relatives and friends. But for many, the trip becomes a miserable experience with kids arguing and getting into fights over the stupidest things, while the parents begin yelling at their kids to stop it or we’re pulling to the side of the road. Such was the case of many holiday trips I took as a child.

    So this past Christmas, my parents asked if I would be willing to drive everyone up to Northern Michigan. I said yes and began to figure out which vehicle would be able to carry all our stuff, getting through the white Christmas, and keep the peace with everyone. So I decided to call in 2014 Infiniti QX80 as I thought it would be to fulfill those needs listed. Was it able to?

    Let's get something out of the way with the 2014 Infiniti QX80, it’s a vehicle you cannot miss it. With a design that looks like it came out an amine and a abundance of chrome that can give the Cadillac Escalade a formidable challenge on bling-ness. But the overall design is a bit ungainly. Infiniti’s designers tried their best to fit the current design theme of the flowing curves onto this large vehicle and the results aren’t pretty. The addition of the silver paint on my tester didn’t help the design at all. I will say the design did grow on me during the week, but I think a black or a dark blue would help out immensely.

    2014 Infiniti QX80 19

    Moving inside, the QX80 story gets a bit better. The first thing about the interior is that it is cavernous. Front seat passengers get a set of plush leather seats with power adjustments and heat/cooling. The second row was outfitted with a pair of captain chairs with heat. Passengers sitting back here were very comfortable thanks to immense amount head and legroom. They were also impressed that the vehicle had the optional DVD system with screens in the back. There is a third row, but its best reserved for small kids as legroom is verging on non-existent. The third-row also highlights a big problem with the QX80: Cargo Space. If the third row is up, you only get a paltry 16.6 Cubic Feet. The Nissan Versa Note I had a week after had 2.2 cubic feet more space. A subcompact hatchback having more space than a full-size SUV; anyone else seeing a problem here? Thankfully, space does increase when you fold the third row.

    As for interior appointments, the QX80 is top notch with real wood and aluminum trim, and padded surfaces throughout. Build quality is very impressive. Standard equipment was Infiniti’s infotainment system with navigation. The system is very easy to use thanks to understandable interface and a set of physical buttons to get you directly to different parts of the system. However the interface is starting to look a bit dated when compared to the competition. I hope Infiniti has something up their sleeve in the coming year or so.

    For powertrain, ride, and final thoughts, see the next page.


    Powering this massive beast is Infiniti’s 5.6L V8 engine with 400 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque. A seven-speed automatic transmission is the only choice, but there is a choice between two-wheel and Infiniti’s All-Mode 4WD system. My tester came with the latter. This V8 engine had no problem of moving the QX80’s curb weight of 5,878 pounds. In fact, you didn’t think it weighed that much thanks to the engine’s low-end punch and the seven-speed delivering smooth and responsive shifts. I had to keep telling myself this is an SUV, not a muscle car. With all of that performance, you’ll pay dearly for gas. The EPA rates the 2014 QX80 4WD at 14 City/20 Highway/16 Combined. My average for the week was 15 MPG.

    2014 Infiniti QX80 15

    One other place where the QX80 shined was in the ride and handling department. The QX80 was a perfect choice as a long-distance cruiser (aside from the fuel economy). The fully independent suspension setup did an impressive job of making even some of the worst roads in Northern Michigan feel like nothing. This is impressive when you take into account the QX80 was fitted with the optional twenty-two inch wheels. Wind, road, and engine noise are kept to a whisper, something needed for a long-distance runner.

    More surprising was how the QX80 handled. I was expecting the QX80 to handle like a boat in choppy waters; flopping all over the place. That was not the case in the QX80 as lean and body roll were kept to minimum. This is thanks to a optional Hydraulic Body Motion Control System which varies suspension travel to keep the vehicle level. I wished the same could be said for the steering which is light and somewhat numb on feel.

    One other note I should mention on the QX80. For how big the QX80 is, it happens to be very agile. Even in some tight parking spots, the QX80 was able to get in without doing the whole pull in forward, then back up, and repeat dance.

    2014 Infiniti QX80 4

    After coming home from the holidays with the QX80, I would say it made the trip very painless. A comfortable ride, luxury goodies galore, and quietness made this a perfect vehicle to keep the peace and make everyone happy. If you've got the coin and are willing to live with that design, then Infiniti has an SUV for you.

    Cheers: Able To Keep The Peace, Luxury Appointments, V8 Performance, Dual Personality of Suspension

    Jeers: Drinks Gas Like Its Going Out Of Style, Cargo Space, Exterior Design, Dated Infotainment System

    Disclaimer: Infiniti Provided the QX80, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

    Year: 2014

    Make: Infiniti

    Model: QX80

    Trim: N/A

    Engine: 5.6L V8

    Driveline: Seven-Speed Automatic Transmission, Four-Wheel Drive

    Horsepower @ RPM: 400 @ 5,800

    Torque @ RPM: 413 @ 4,000

    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 14/20/16

    Curb Weight: 5,878 lbs

    Location of Manufacture: Yukuhashi, Japan

    Base Price: $64,450.00

    As Tested Price: $79,095.00 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)

    Options:

    Deluxe Touring Package - $4,650.00

    Technology Package - $3,250.00

    Theater Package - $3,100.00

    Wheel & Tire Package - $2,450.00

    Cargo Mat, Net, & First Aid - $200.00

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

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    Nice review. I actually rather like the exterior styling, it's a tasteful application of Infiniti's styling themes on an otherwise big boxy SUV, and it's immensely better than the previous generation. I'm glad to hear the luxury is formidable as well.

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    Ugly styling IMHO, Interior is very nice but over 6'2" tall people are going to have room issues. The Escalade has far more room than the Infinity.

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    Nice review. I actually rather like the exterior styling, it's a tasteful application of Infiniti's styling themes on an otherwise big boxy SUV, and it's immensely better than the previous generation. I'm glad to hear the luxury is formidable as well.

    The exterior did grow on me, but I just think a black or blue would do the design so much good.

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    I've never been a fan of the looks.

    Ditto!

    Ugly styling IMHO, Interior is very nice but over 6'2" tall people are going to have room issues. The Escalade has far more room than the Infinity.

    And is far better as an actual real world haul your friends to a basketball game, tow your boat, haul camping gear SUV as well.

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      Disclaimer: Chrysler Provided the Pacifica, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2017
      Make: Chrysler
      Model: Pacifica
      Trim: Touring L
      Engine: 3.6L 24-Valve VVT V6
      Driveline: Nine-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 287 @ 6,400
      Torque @ RPM: 262 @ 4,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/28/22
      Curb Weight: 4,330 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Windsor, Ontario
      Base Price: $34,495
      As Tested Price: $36,880 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
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      8 Passenger Seating - $495.00

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      There is one vehicle that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has to get right the first time - the minivan. The company is credited for creating this vehicle segment back in the eighties with the introduction of the Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager. Each subsequent version brought forth some new improvement or feature that put it ahead of the pack. But due to the bankruptcy in 2009 and subsequent merger with Fiat, plans for the next-generation Chrysler Town and Country and Dodge Caravan were pushed back. This left the old model struggling against some fresh competition in the form of the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna. 
      But last year, Chrysler surprised everyone with a new minivan. Wearing the Pacifica nameplate, the van was unlike anything that had come before. It featured a sleek design, handsome interior, and the option of a plug-in hybrid powertrain. The bigger surprise was that Chrysler would be the only brand getting the new van. The Dodge Caravan would continue in its current incarnation for a few years to provide a low-cost option for those shoppers. Has Chrysler pulled a rabbit out its hat or has the unthinkable happened and the Pacifica trails the competition?
      The first thing to take in about the new Pacifica is how good-looking it is. The design comes courtesy of the 700C that debuted quietly a few years back at the Detroit Auto Show. The rounded front end is reminiscent of the recently departed 200 with a narrow grille and headlights, chrome trim along the edges of the grilles, and a sculpted hood. The side profile shows off two character lines; one running from the front fender to the chrome trim for the windows and another running through the door handles and curving into the rear fender. We would only make one slight change to the Pacifica. Our Touring L tester featured 17-inch wheels that looked a bit small for a vehicle this size. We would go for the larger 18-inch wheels that fill in the wheel wells much better.
      Anyone who has been in the last-generation Chrysler Town and Country or Dodge Caravan knows the interior was well past its sell-by date. When pitted against competitors, the two vans came up very short in terms of design, materials, space for cargo and passengers; and infotainment. Step inside the Pacifica and it is clear that Chrysler has done its homework. The design is much more modern with flowing lines and contrasting colors. It also feels more spacious than the outgoing vans thanks to some smart decisions such as the removal of the center console to allow for an open floor between driver and passenger, and the use of a knob for the transmission. Material quality has also seen a noticeable improvement with many surfaces now boasting soft-touch plastics. It wouldn’t be crazy to say the Chrysler Pacifica is ahead of everyone when it comes to the interior.
      Depending on the trim, you can order the Pacifica with seating for seven or eight people. Our Touring L featured the eight-seat layout with a removable middle seat for the third row. It will take you a few moments to figure out how to remove the seat, but once you do, it is quite easy to remove and install the seat. The rest of the seats feature Chrysler’s Stow ’n Go folding system where the seats can fold into compartments in the floor to provide a flat load area. Cargo area is in line with the current crop of minivans with 32.3 cubic feet behind the third row, 87.5 cubic feet behind the second row, and 140.5 cubic feet with both rows folded. As for passengers, both rows of rear seats provide an excellent amount of head and legroom. Getting into the third row is much easier thanks to second-row seats offering a tilt function.
      FCA has equipped the Pacifica with the newest version of their UConnect system. The interface may look similar to the older UConnect system, but there are a number of changes that help catapult this new version towards the top of the infotainment system list. First, the new system is much sharper thanks to the new fonts and an updated screen that provides improved brightness levels. FCA has also improved the overall performance of the system, meaning no slow downs when going between various functions. One item we cannot comment on is navigation as our test Pacifica didn’t come with it.
      Power for the Pacifica comes from the 3.6L Pentastar V6 with 287 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission that routes power to the front-wheels only. It might not be the fastest van on the road (that honor falls to the Toyota Sienna), but Pacifica comes very close. Power comes on a smooth and steady rate. You’ll find yourself not wanting more power when merging onto a freeway or trying to make a pass. FCA has seemed to get its act together with the nine-speed automatic transmission. Issues with clunky shifts and gear hunting have been mostly ironed out. The transmission now features smooth and quick upshifts. The only item we would want FCA to work on is the transmission’s hesitation to downshift in certain situations such as making a pass.
      EPA fuel economy for the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica is rated at 18 City/28 Highway/22 Combined. Our week mostly spent in the city returned 23.2 mpg.
      The primary concern when it comes to a van’s ride and handling characteristics is providing maximum comfort and the Pacifica delivers. The suspension delivers a smooth ride even on some of the rough roads on offer from Metro Detroit area. An added bonus is how well the Pacifica isolates road and wind noise from coming inside. At highway speeds, only a whisper of wind noise makes it inside. But the Pacifica becomes a bit of a surprise when it comes to handling. Despite its large size, FCA’s engineers made the Pacifica feel quite nimble. The steering might not give that impression as it feels somewhat light when turning. But go around a corner and the van feels more like a midsize sedan than a van. 
      It has been a long time coming for a new minivan from FCA and the good news is that they haven’t dropped the ball. The Pacifica may not have ripped up the rulebook when it comes to minivans, but it sure has expanded or rewritten bits of it. From a surprising balance of ride and handling characteristics to the best interior in the class, it is clear that FCA wants to reclaim the crown of the best minivan. But there one thing that we need to address and that is FCA’s poor reliability history. No matter which survey or study look at, more often than not, FCA’s core brands are towards the bottom. What does this mean for the Pacifica? We can’t say for right now, but this could be the one thing that makes or breaks Chrysler’s new van.
      For right now, the Pacifica is at the top of the class.
      Disclaimer: Chrysler Provided the Pacifica, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2017
      Make: Chrysler
      Model: Pacifica
      Trim: Touring L
      Engine: 3.6L 24-Valve VVT V6
      Driveline: Nine-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 287 @ 6,400
      Torque @ RPM: 262 @ 4,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/28/22
      Curb Weight: 4,330 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Windsor, Ontario
      Base Price: $34,495
      As Tested Price: $36,880 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Premium Audio Group - $895.00
      8 Passenger Seating - $495.00
    • By William Maley
      They say timing is everything. As I mentioned in our quick drive piece of 2016 Subaru Forester 2.5i Premium, the automaker announced a refreshed version for 2017. Changes included a revised exterior, improved interior materials, and a revised EyeSight active safety system. Once we heard about the refresh, we knew we need to get one in for review. That’s what happened this past fall as a 2017 Subaru Forester 2.0XT Touring arrived at the Cheers & Gears Detroit garage. The XT is the important bit as it means we have the turbo engine.
      Let us begin with the engine as this is one of the best points of the Forester. The XT gets a turbocharged 2.0L boxer-four producing 250 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. This comes paired with Subaru’s Lineartronic CVT and all-wheel drive. The turbo engine solves some of the issues we had in the previous Forester. The 2.5i wasn’t as responsive as we would have liked and it takes its sweet time to get up to higher speeds. With the turbo engine, the Forester leaps into action. Yes, it does a take a moment for the turbo to spool up. But once it does, the engine delivers power at a steady and smooth rate.  Subaru’s Lineartronic CVT is one of the better CVTs on the market. Part of this comes from the simulated gear changes Subaru has programmed for the CVT. This will fool most people into thinking that the transmission is a standard automatic. Also, the CVT doesn’t have much of a groan when you decide to floor the accelerator. The downside to the turbo engine is fuel economy. EPA fuel economy figures for the 2.0XT stand at 23 City/27 Highway/25 Combined. Our average for the week was 24.7 MPG. If you’re expecting Subaru to make some changes to the suspension and/or steering for the Forester 2.0XT, then you’ll be very disappointed. The 2.0XT is the same as the 2.5i we drove earlier. That means a smooth ride over some of the worst roads Michigan has on offer, but a fair amount of body roll when going around a corner.  Changes for the 2017 Forester’s exterior include a new grille design, LED accent lights for the head and taillights; and a new set of wheels. The XT also gets a more aggressive front bumper. While the Forester is still a box, at least the changes have made it a bit more stylish. The interior remains mostly unchanged when compared to the 2016 model. The only change we noted is the option of brown leather for the XT Touring that is used for the seats and various parts of the dash and doors. It is a nice touch, but it would have been nice if Subaru had gone a bit further with the luxury touches - especially considering the price of our tester. Subaru has upgraded their EyeSight system for 2017 by installing a new set of color stereo cameras. Subaru says the new cameras allow better detection of various objects and a wider range of monitoring. We believe it as the updated system was able to detect vehicles slightly faster than the previous system when using the adaptive cruise control system. There is one big issue for the 2017 Forester 2.0XT Touring, price. The base price is $34,295. Equipped with an option package that brings a larger screen for the Starlink infotainment system, EyeSight, and reverse automatic braking, the as-tested price comes to $36,765. Taking into consideration for what you get for the price, the Forester 2.0XT Touring isn’t worth it considering you can get into some luxury crossovers for around the same price. You can get the Forester 2.0XT in the Premium trim which kicks off at $29,295, but you cannot get EyeSight as an option. If you really want a Forester with a turbo engine, wait for 2.0XT Touring to hit the used car lot as it will become a slightly better value. Otherwise, skip the 2.0XT and go with the Forester 2.5i or another crossover. Disclaimer: Subaru Provided the Forester 2.0XT Touring, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2017
      Make: Subaru
      Model: Forester
      Trim: 2.0XT Touring
      Engine: Turbocharged 2.0L DOHC GDI Boxer-Four
      Driveline: CVT, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 250 @ 5,600
      Torque @ RPM: 258 @ 2,000 - 4,800
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 23/27/25
      Curb Weight: 3,686 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: OTA, Gunma, Japan
      Base Price: $34,295
      As Tested Price: $36,765 (Includes $875.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Option Package 34 - $1,595.00

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      They say timing is everything. As I mentioned in our quick drive piece of 2016 Subaru Forester 2.5i Premium, the automaker announced a refreshed version for 2017. Changes included a revised exterior, improved interior materials, and a revised EyeSight active safety system. Once we heard about the refresh, we knew we need to get one in for review. That’s what happened this past fall as a 2017 Subaru Forester 2.0XT Touring arrived at the Cheers & Gears Detroit garage. The XT is the important bit as it means we have the turbo engine.
      Let us begin with the engine as this is one of the best points of the Forester. The XT gets a turbocharged 2.0L boxer-four producing 250 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. This comes paired with Subaru’s Lineartronic CVT and all-wheel drive. The turbo engine solves some of the issues we had in the previous Forester. The 2.5i wasn’t as responsive as we would have liked and it takes its sweet time to get up to higher speeds. With the turbo engine, the Forester leaps into action. Yes, it does a take a moment for the turbo to spool up. But once it does, the engine delivers power at a steady and smooth rate.  Subaru’s Lineartronic CVT is one of the better CVTs on the market. Part of this comes from the simulated gear changes Subaru has programmed for the CVT. This will fool most people into thinking that the transmission is a standard automatic. Also, the CVT doesn’t have much of a groan when you decide to floor the accelerator. The downside to the turbo engine is fuel economy. EPA fuel economy figures for the 2.0XT stand at 23 City/27 Highway/25 Combined. Our average for the week was 24.7 MPG. If you’re expecting Subaru to make some changes to the suspension and/or steering for the Forester 2.0XT, then you’ll be very disappointed. The 2.0XT is the same as the 2.5i we drove earlier. That means a smooth ride over some of the worst roads Michigan has on offer, but a fair amount of body roll when going around a corner.  Changes for the 2017 Forester’s exterior include a new grille design, LED accent lights for the head and taillights; and a new set of wheels. The XT also gets a more aggressive front bumper. While the Forester is still a box, at least the changes have made it a bit more stylish. The interior remains mostly unchanged when compared to the 2016 model. The only change we noted is the option of brown leather for the XT Touring that is used for the seats and various parts of the dash and doors. It is a nice touch, but it would have been nice if Subaru had gone a bit further with the luxury touches - especially considering the price of our tester. Subaru has upgraded their EyeSight system for 2017 by installing a new set of color stereo cameras. Subaru says the new cameras allow better detection of various objects and a wider range of monitoring. We believe it as the updated system was able to detect vehicles slightly faster than the previous system when using the adaptive cruise control system. There is one big issue for the 2017 Forester 2.0XT Touring, price. The base price is $34,295. Equipped with an option package that brings a larger screen for the Starlink infotainment system, EyeSight, and reverse automatic braking, the as-tested price comes to $36,765. Taking into consideration for what you get for the price, the Forester 2.0XT Touring isn’t worth it considering you can get into some luxury crossovers for around the same price. You can get the Forester 2.0XT in the Premium trim which kicks off at $29,295, but you cannot get EyeSight as an option. If you really want a Forester with a turbo engine, wait for 2.0XT Touring to hit the used car lot as it will become a slightly better value. Otherwise, skip the 2.0XT and go with the Forester 2.5i or another crossover. Disclaimer: Subaru Provided the Forester 2.0XT Touring, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2017
      Make: Subaru
      Model: Forester
      Trim: 2.0XT Touring
      Engine: Turbocharged 2.0L DOHC GDI Boxer-Four
      Driveline: CVT, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 250 @ 5,600
      Torque @ RPM: 258 @ 2,000 - 4,800
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 23/27/25
      Curb Weight: 3,686 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: OTA, Gunma, Japan
      Base Price: $34,295
      As Tested Price: $36,765 (Includes $875.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Option Package 34 - $1,595.00
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