Big can sometimes be best and they don’t come much larger than the monster Infiniti QX8O. Kate Ginn tries it for size
There are big cars. There are even huge ones, followed by massive, enormous and immense. And then, above them all you have the Infiniti QX80. It’s a colossus among cars, a humongous beast that owns the road and takes no prisoners on the highway.
To give you some idea, the Toyota Prado – a not inconsiderable size vehicle – weighs in at around 2,205kg. The Infiniti QX80 tips the scales at 7,729kg (for the eight-seater).
Unsurprisingly, the gigantic vehicle is the largest in the Infiniti range, the luxury arm of Nissan, and was formerly known as the QX56.
For 2015, it’s not only got a new name, but also a refreshed interior and exterior. These changes include new LED-laden headlight clusters, a new mesh grille, reshaped bumpers and hefty 22-inch wheels.
As you would expect, the engine is substantial too, 5.6-litres of V8 muscle generates a formidable 400 horsepower and 560 Nm of torque to power this heavyweight along. Parked outside the office, my QX80 dwarfed all the other cars.
I’m not small (1.82 metres in bare feet), but it felt like I had to climb into this hulk of a car’s cabin – being careful not to scratch the immaculate paintwork as I did.
I have to say that I’m a fan of large SUVs and they don’t come much bigger than this. There’s nothing elegant about the QX80 to look at, it’s a big, brawny car that makes no apologies for its size.
Funnily enough, inside you don’t actually get a sense of quite how large the car is, so while from the outside it resembles a tank (albeit a high-class, beautifully styled one), it isn’t overwhelming when you’re in the driving seat. The cabin is spacious and high-end, with soft leather seats and polished wood trim. It’s been thoughtfully designed for the driver, simplistic and practical, with everything you need within easy reach. The centre console is trimmed with wood and houses an 8-inch colour touchscreen, giving access to the navigation system and multimedia. It has all the usual link-up technology, syncing wirelessly with your phone for hands-free calls and music – played on the absolutely superb Bose surround sound system with 13 speakers. There are also two 7-inch screens in the back to keep smaller passengers amused with new games or their favourite Frozen DVD (don’t worry mum and dad, wireless headphones ensure you don’t have to listen to the song Let It Go for the 5,000th time).
There are acres of room with plenty of space for seven or eight (although the third row would be best for children, as larger passengers might find the leg space a bit tight).
The QX80 is surprisingly easy to drive. It can be a touch heavy on the steering, but is lighter than I expected overall. The drive is smooth and assured. Going down the Sultan Qaboos Highway in Muscat, cars scattered out of my way as we bore down on them. I suppose that a QX80 approaching at 120kph must be quite a sight in the rearview mirror.
Despite its girth and length, I had no problems parking in City Centre Muscat mall. With Moving Object Detection and a Front and Rear Sonar System, along with a simulated 360-degree view from above, which shows the objects around the vehicle, slipping into the space was as easy as pie.
If you hate reversing, the very smart Backup Collision Intervention will sound an alert if it detects a vehicle approaching from either side and can even brake for you to avoid a collision.
Other safety features include Blind Spot Intervention, Intelligent Brake Assist and Predictive Forward Collision Warning. I also kept hearing a beeping at one point and couldn’t work out what it was, until I realised it was the Lane Departure Prevention System to stop you unintentionally drifting over the white lines.
With an All-Mode 4WD, which automatically adjusts to different terrains, this big boy is equally happy off road.
I thoroughly enjoyed being Queen of the Road for the day. Those who say “size doesn’t matter” clearly haven’t driven the QX80.
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