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2014 Infiniti QX80 is equipped for luxurious travel

2014 Infiniti QX80
2014 Infiniti QX80
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2014 Infiniti QX80

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Infiniti has changed model designations this year for just about all of its 2014 lineup, so don't fret if you can't immediately identify the 2014 Infiniti QX80. The QX80 replaces last year's QX, which was previously called the QX56, Infiniti's full-size luxury SUV. Regardless of what it's called, the 2014 Infiniti QX80 is a full-size luxury SUV that offers seating for seven or eight passengers. It's offered in one well-equipped trim level with a choice of rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive.

The QX80 is endowed with a generous array of luxury and comfort features and the abundance of high tech goodies is enough to satisfy the most jaded.

Standard equipment includes 20-inch alloy wheels, automatic bi-xenon headlights, foglights, a sunroof, roof rails, real privacy glass, a power liftgate, front and rear parking sensors, keyless entry/ignition, automatic tri-zone climate control, leather upholstery, a heated eight-way power driver seat with power two-way lumbar, a six-was power front passenger seat, driver memory settings, second-row captain's chairs, a power-folding 60/40-split third row seat, auto-dimming mirrors and a power tilt-and-telescoping and heated steering wheel.

Standard Infotainment electronic equipment consists of a 360-degree parking camera, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, an 8-inch touchscreen display, a voice-activated navigation system and a 13-speaker Bose sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and a USB/iPod interface.

The QX80 is powered by a 5.6-liter V8 engine that produces 400 hp and 413 pound-feet of torque. A seven-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive are standard, with four-wheel drive available as an option. The QX is capable of towing up to 8,500 pounds and features an automatic-leveling rear suspension.

Our test car was equipped with the Deluxe Touring package, which adds 22-inch forged aluminum alloy wheels, Infiniti's Hydraulic Body Motion Control suspension, an upgraded climate control system, upgraded leather upholstery and special wood trim, ventilated front seats and a 15-speaker Bose surround-sound system. Finally, the Technology package adds adaptive headlights, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring and a lane departure warning and keeping system.

Our QX80 test car accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 7.0 seconds. That's typical for a vehicle this size and weight. The EPA estimate for both rear- and four-wheel-drive models is 16 mpg combined. Our QX80 stopped from 60 mph in only 124 feet, a distance that's better than average.

The only real change for the 2014 Infiniti QX80 is the addition of Back-up Collision Intervention to the Technology Package.

With its 400 horsepower available from its V8 engine, this deluxe spot-utility vehicle has the muscle to haul and tow impressive loads. The first-class interior with its rich-looking materials and cutting-edge technology invites you to climb in and enjoy the ride. The QX80 has a full complement of passive and active systems, including the back-up collision mitigation system. Finally, this big SUV lives up to Infiniti's sporty reputation with its surprisingly athletic moves on the road.

Good as it is, it's hard to overlook the Infiniti QX80's few notable shortcomings. The trade-off for the 5.6-liter V8's performance is poor fuel economy, and unlike many of its rivals, Infiniti doesn't offer a more efficient engine option. And if you choose the 22-inch wheels, the great appearance tradeoff is a stiffer ride quality that might be a little too harsh. Finally, the third-row seat is really only suitable for young kids.

QX80 prices start at $64,450. The sticker price for our nearly leaded model was $79,985.