The 2023 Infiniti QX80 remains largely unchanged with only a few features being added over the 2022 model year. Mechanically the QX80 hasn’t changed much in over a decade, but the interior and tech suite has been updated substantially in that time.
Sharing a platform with the Nissan Armada, the two have very similar body lines. Of course the grill, lighting, and bumper contours are a little different.
Up front the grill is large but not overly so. It’s more on par with the GLS 63 than the LX600. The bumper has faux brake vents which also house LED fog lights. The mirrors are reminiscent of hippopotamus ears, which only makes the rest of the vehicle look more like a hippo.
Moving down the side, the 22-inch aluminum alloy wheels immediately attract attention. The tires look perfectly normal, despite coming in at a very large 32.5-inches diameter. Chrome accents on the mirrors, door handles, window surrounds and roof rack add flare to the large side panels.
Around back is a large hatch that opens as a single piece. There is no tailgate or separately opening window. Be aware of rolling items that may fall out when opening the hatch. The rear bumper remains a large fat lip that protrudes significantly. Underneath a bumper cover is the 7-pin plug and 2-inch receiver for those who need to tow up to 8,500 pounds.
Infiniti greets 2023 QX80 owners with beautiful saddle brown leather in the attractive interior. The layout is good with hard buttons for the important features and plenty of techy options in the infotainment screen. Steering wheel controls for all the commonly used features add to the ease of use. Just ahead of the center arm rest are controls for the infotainment system as well. This allows the driver to keep their greasy fingers off the touch screen.
Up front there is a wireless charging pad in a cubby below the climate controls. For additional charging there are two USB ports at the bottom of the center stack.
Grey slate accents surround the shift lever and center stack. While there are a few piano black surfaces, they are kept to a minimum and are easily covered to reduce glare.
Seating is comfortable but large and sofa-like. For a vehicle in this price range it would be nice to see adjustable side bolsters for the driver at a minimum. This would add much needed support for cornering.
On Pavement the 2023 QX80 is large, which is good and bad.
First the pros: It sits quite high with great visibility of the road. 275/50R22 tires make road imperfections that would unsettle or even damage other vehicles a non issue. Other driver’s know the QX80 is there, it is too large to hide in most vehicle’s blindspots. The ride is very smooth on the open highway. It glides along unfazed by the outside world.
Now the cons: Parking and maneuvering in tight parking lots with small stalls can be difficult. While it is fairly easy to manage, there is no hiding the size. There is a decent amount of body lean when driving spiritedly, despite the extra support from the HBMC system (more on this later). Fuel mileage is quite low, even for this class. The only vehicle in this class we’ve tested with worse fuel mileage was the Jeep Grand Wagoneer.
HBMC is just as important off-pavement as it is on-pavement. At higher speeds over smaller bumps, the 2023 QX80 is very smooth and controlled. Larger bumps seemed to upset the QX more than the LX600 we tested a week before.
For low speed high articulation situations the QX also fell behind the LX. With independent suspension all around there wasn’t as much articulation. This is especially apparent when compared to the LX’s solid rear axle. When compared to the 4-wheel independent suspension equipped Cadillac, Lincoln, and GMC, the 2023 QX does have a little more articulation.
In 4wd low the Infiniti does an excellent job of transferring power to the wheels with traction. Making articulated steep climbs a non-issue. In 4wd high be sure to disable traction control for best results off-pavement.
HBMC (Hydraulic Body motion Control)
In place of having anti-sway bars, higher trimmed QX80’s are equipped with a unique system called HBMC. HBMC works wonders on the road. Body lean and brake dive are greatly reduced compared to non HBMC equipped QX80’s. It works through hydraulically controlled shocks and accumulators. There are two separate hydraulic loops. One linking the tops of the passenger side shocks together with the bottoms of the driver’s side shocks. The other is the opposite, linking the passenger side bottoms to the driver’s side tops. Each loop has an accumulator and there is a single pump running to both loops.
For on road driving, the system adds pressure to the outside wheels by effectively tying the shocks on the same side of the vehicle together. When cornering, the tops of the outside shocks increase in pressure and the bottoms of the inside shocks also increase in pressure. This resists body lean by pushing the outside wheels down and pulling the inside wheels up. This action is similar to what an anti-sway bar does.
Off-pavement, HBMC allows for more articulation over bumps. As the front wheel on one side goes up, the hydraulic pressure pushes the rear wheel on that same side down. While the system sounds complex it is really quite simple and very effective.
For 2023 the QX80 Sensory has a base MSRP of $87,450. Our tester had 4 options, 3 of which were lighting related. Illuminated kick plates ($485), illuminated cargo scuff plate ($390), and Infiniti radiant exterior welcome lighting ($455). The final option was the roof rail cross bars ($410).
Add in the destination charge of $1,695 and the total MSRP comes to $90,855.
Yes the QX80 is getting old, and yes it feels that way when driven. However, it has a charm to it. It is big and it feels big. Nissan’s 5.6-liter V8 sounds incredible and puts out good power numbers. It may not be quite as luxurious as its competitors, but it comes in at a better price.
Matthew Barnes is an experienced towing expert. He works as a mechanical engineer and his day job involves testing a variety of vehicles while towing trailers of all types and sizes. Matt shares his knowledge by writing for automotive news outlets in the evenings. When he’s not working he can be found spending time in the great outdoors with his family. He enjoys camping, hiking, canyoneering, and backpacking. Whenever possible he spends time riding in or on any power sports vehicle he can find and claims he can drive anything with a motor, which probably isn’t true.