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Review: 2014 Infiniti QX80


William Maley

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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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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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  • 2 weeks later...

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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      Hyundai offers two engines for the regular Sonata; a naturally aspirated 2.5L four-cylinder or a turbocharged 1.6L four. A more potent turbocharged 2.5L four-cylinder is available on the upcoming Sonata N Line. My tester featured the turbo 1.6 which produces 180 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. That puts it in line with some of the base engines found in the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.
      I wouldn't call this engine quick, but it handles most driving situations with aplomb. This comes down to most of the torque being situated at the lower end of the rpm band. The only area where you might be wishing for more power is merging onto a freeway or keeping up traffic. The eight-speed automatic does an excellent job of maximizing the engine's output.
      Under the Sonata Hybrid's hood is a system comprised of a 2.0L four-cylinder and electric motor to provide a total output of 192 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. The Sonata Hybrid feels just as fast as the standard Sonata around town and on country roads. It does struggle slightly on the highway due to the smaller torque figure. The six-speed automatic doesn't stumble when the change over from electric-only to hybrid mode like I have experienced on other Hyundai/Kia hybrid models.

      Opting for Limited on the Sonata Hybrid brings a solar panel for the roof which acts as a trickle charger for both the 12-volt car battery and 1.6-kWh lithium-ion pack for the hybrid system. Hyundai says that the panel can add an extra two miles of range with adequate sunlight. I can't attest to this claim, but will say the solar panel did add an extra bit of charge to the battery, even on an overcast day.
      Fuel economy for both models are as followed,
      Sonata 1.6T: 27 City/36 Highway/31 Combined Sonata Hybrid: 45 City/51 Highway/47 Combined My week saw an average of 29 mpg in the Sonata and 39 mpg for the Sonata Hybrid.
      Calm and Collected
      Hyundai has done some work on the Sonata's chassis and suspension to make it more rewarding to drive. It shows on a winding road as both versions show little body roll and feel more agile than the outgoing model. Steering feels direct and has a decent amount of weight. I will say the Mazda6 is still the one to beat if driving pleasure is your key goal.
      But the Sonata has an ace up its sleeve. It is also one of the most comfortable cars in the class. Driving over some of the roughest roads in Metro Detroit, the Sonata's suspension soaks up most bumps and imperfections to provide a serene ride. The minimal amount of road and wind noise that comes inside also helps.
      Rising To The Top

      The previous generations of the Sonata were always so close to being at the top of the class. But there always something that held it back whether it was the design, handling, or powertrains. But this new model shows how much Hyundai has put in. There is a nice balance between ride and handling; powertrains are very competent, and the interior is best in the class. Plus, the Sonata still retains Hyundai's trademark of offering a lot for not much money.
      Where most people will stumble on the Sonata is the exterior. It is very much a love or hate it affair. Plus, some of the tech features feel more like a party trick to show to friends than something you'll use. 
      Nevertheless, I think Sonata moves up to the top of the midsize sedan pecking order. 
      But there is one more question to answer. Between the regular and hybrid versions, which one I would drive away with. The answer which surprised me is the hybrid. I found it to be a little bit more well-rounded and deliver some excellent fuel economy figures during my time.
      Alternative:
      Kia K5: Like the idea of the Hyundai Sonata, but not to sure on the design? Then the Kia K5 may be the answer. Based on the same bones as the Sonata, the K5 takes a more evolutionary approach to the design. The basic shape may remind you of the previous-generation Optima, but its the little details such as a new grille and revised rear deck lid that help it stand out. From reviews, the K5 proves to be a bit sportier. We hope to get our hands on this challenger in the near future. Disclaimer: Hyundai Provided the Sonatas, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Hyundai
      Model: Sonata
      Trim: Limited 1.6T
      Engine: Turbocharged 1.6L GDI DOHC 16-Valve Inline-Four
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 180 @ 5,500
      Torque @ RPM: 195 @ 1,500-4,500
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 27/36/31
      Curb Weight: 3,336 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Montgomery, AL
      Base Price: $33,300
      As Tested Price: $34,365 (Includes $930.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Carpeted Floor Mats - $135.00
      Year: 2020
      Make: Hyundai
      Model: Sonata Hybrid
      Trim: Limited
      Engine: 2.0L GDI DOHC 16-Valve Inline-Four, Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 150 @ 6,000 (gas); 51 @ 1,800 - 2,300 (electric motor); 192 (total output)
      Torque @ RPM: 139 @ 5,000 (gas); 151 @ 0 - 1,800 (electric motor)
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 45/51/47
      Curb Weight: 3,530 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Asan, South Korea
      Base Price: $35,300
      As Tested Price: $36,430 (Includes $975.00 Destination Charge)
      Options: 
      Carpeted Floor Mats - $135.00

      View full article
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