For several years my high school friends and I have gone on road trips to U.S. cities to watch NBA basketball games as a reunion event.
This year we thought of something different for our annual road trip – see our favourite childhood rock band Guns N’ Roses on their reunion tour. We chose Ottawa as the destination (in August) as a special way to round up the troops for some summer fun.
We each took on a role - Stuart was in charge of getting concert tickets, Kevin booked the hotel and I was looking after transportation. In the beginning there was six of us going so we needed a large vehicle which none of us owned so I reached out to my contacts at Nissan media to see what they had available. I was offered a top of the line Infiniti QX80 Limited and I gladly accepted.
As the weeks drew closer and we firmed up the details, our group of six dropped down to three. We are all in our early 40s with kids, family and work responsibilities which presented too much of a challenge for some of the guys to get away for three days of partying—however the core group remained intact. At this point we didn’t necessarily need a vehicle as big as a QX80 but I already had it booked so I figured let’s roll with it and see what this massive SUV is all about.
Actually I had a pretty good idea what the Infiniti QX80 would be like because I’m a salesman at Direct Nissan in Mississauga and our Nissan Armada
is essentially the same vehicle; just twenty three thousand less. Regardless, I wanted to travel in style so I was happy to have the QX80 Limited for nine days which gave me ample time to experience all it has to offer.
The QX80 is Infiniti’s full size, top of the line vehicle with a hulking curb weight of 2,671 kg. It is available in three trims. The base QX80 seven or eight seat configuration lists at $75,650 and offers a host of standard features including semi-aniline leather-appointed seating, Bose 15-speaker cabin surround sound system, climate-controlled front seats and heated steering wheel. Propelling this beast is a 400-hp 5.6-litre V8 with a 8,500 lbs. towing capacity, built in class IV tow hitch, Infiniti All-Mode 4WD and 7-speed automatic transmission.
The QX80 Limited increases the level of luxury to the tune of $93,800 with truffle brown semi-aniline interior with quilted seats and contrast stitching and piping, ultra-suede headliner and pillars, leather-covered grab handles and speaker grilles, open pore matte finish ash wood trim and a slew of advanced driver aids like Forward Emergency Braking (FEB) and Predictive Forward Collision Warning (PFCW). Unique exterior features include 22" forged alloy wheels, dark chrome exterior trim and stainless steel running boards with welcome lights.
Indeed the overall appearance of the QX80 Limited gives the impression of a premium luxury vehicle with all the bells and whistles anyone could possibly want. Driving around in the QX80 I felt like king of the road in one of the largest SUV’s available on the market. It’s interesting how other driver’s give you respect on the road when you want to change lanes and merge into traffic.
My kids also loved driving in it and got a kick out of the built in DVD players in the back of the driver and passenger headrests. Running boards are definitely needed on a truck this size for anyone less then six feet to get in and out. There is an abundance of passenger room and cargo space that came in handy for moving furniture during the time I had the QX80.
My only complaint is its gas consumption. I did 1,170 km’s combined city and highway and my average fuel economy was 15.1 L/100 km, which is typical for a big heavy vehicle with a V8 engine but certainly not what I’m used to. Spending $110 at the pump to fill up with 91-octane premium gas was a tough pill to swallow.
Thankfully my friends were happy to chip in for gas on our Ottawa road trip which took us 500 km each way from Mississauga so we had plenty of time to enjoy the premium Bose audio system, as we got pumped for our date with Guns N’ Roses. The concert was amazing and the band played all their hits so I highly recommend seeing them on this reunion tour if you’re a fan.
We stayed at Les Suites Hotel in the ByWard Market area of Ottawa. We were lucky to get upgraded to a double room suite with a pull out couch so we each had our own area and didn’t have to deal with Kevin’s snoring. Aside from the concert, we toured Ottawa checking out the parliament buildings and many bars and restaurants in “The Market.”
One of the highlights of this trip was driving along the scenic Queen Elizabeth Drive which runs along the Rideau River, blasting “Paradise City” by Guns N’ Roses and enjoying a perfect summer afternoon as we swung by TD Place Stadium to take a photo of the Infiniti QX80 and watch the band do a sound check before the big show.
As expected we hit heavy GTA traffic on the drive back to Mississauga and this is when the advanced driver aids of the Infiniti QX80 Limited best came into play. I found the intelligent cruise control quite useful to help maintain a safe following distance from the car in front of me. The forward emergency braking and collision warning system certainly helped plus blind spot warning and intervention kept me in check. Parking the Infiniti QX80 was a challenge at times however the Around View Monitor with a virtual 360-degree view and moving object detection made manoeuvring a bit easier.
My overall impression of the Infiniti QX80 Limited is very favourable for someone looking for a full-size premium SUV. The QX80 Limited has good value for performance and features compared to other vehicles in this segment such as the Cadillac Escalade, Lincoln Navigator
and Lexus LX570.
Personal taste plays a large part in choosing a vehicle like this but one thing’s for sure, the Infiniti QX80 Limited wears its luxury badge with pride as the quality of materials and its fit and finish are top notch. Plus it’s fun to drive with all the power one could want in an SUV albeit with a - you have to pay to play - premium price and premium gas. Not a practical SUV for the vast majority however it more than suited my needs for our boys’ road trip.
More good memories to share and we did it in grand style!
Also Read: Chevrolet Tahoe Proving Sometimes Bigger is Better
2017 Infiniti QX80 Limited
Full size premium SUV, 7-passenger capacity
5.6-litre V8, 400-hp, 413 lb-ft of torque
7-speed automatic transmission, Infiniti All-Mode 4WD
16.9/11.9 L/100KM (city/highway)
93,800 plus 1,995 freight & PDI, 1126.50 regional fees, 750 Hermosa Blue premium colour charge plus hst.