Infiniti’s high-end cruiser has all the luxury points consumers are asking for in a large SUV while offering a smooth ride and plenty of power to make your journey in style.

Perhaps the QX80’s biggest obstacle is its corporate cousin, Nissan Armada, a near twin SUV for about $20,000 less. Outside its lineup there are also established imports that have held swagger for decades.

We did like the ride and handling of the QX80 Limited though, a new trim level that features high end materials throughout and its own set of exterior colors.

Pros: Big V8 power, first and second row space, quiet cabin

Cons: Tight third row, guzzles gas, pricey

The base Luxe trim ($66,700) and Limited share a 400 horsepower, seven speed automatic transmission with adaptive shift control. Our QX80 tester added a hydraulic body motion control system and rear self-leveling suspension.

In our independent testing, the QX80 completed the zero to 60 mile per hour run in 6.9 seconds, slower than most rivals.

For off-roading the QX is nicely fitted with hill start assist, an under radiator mounted skid plate and a whopping 9.3 inches of ground clearance. Towing capacity is 8,500 pounds although we suspect neither of these features will get much use.

The 2019 model is mostly a carryover from last year with the new Limited carrying a hefty $91,450 sticker. As you would expect, the Limited is loaded with tech equipment and soft stitched leathers, wood accents, stainless steel running boards and 22-inch aluminum alloys.

With second row captain’s chairs, the QX80 is a comfortable seven-seater although a second row bench seat will swap out to raise that number by one. We found the power third row seats take a while to fold while the second row seats drop like a rock with electronic force.

Cargo space behind the third row is generous and is tops among rivals. Not so with overall interior panache. While materials are of high quality, the instrument panel and infotainment system are dated against the competition.

We did like the ease of voice control for navigation points. The system recognized points across the map consistently the first time, a rare occurrence for this feature.

On the road, the QX80 is smooth sailing although downshifting in passing maneuvers took some time to lock in the right gear. The cabin is a quiet place on long highway trips or just around the corner. Beware in mall parking lots though as the QX80 is enormous and its heft needs lots of space to maneuver. Forget about parallel parking.

The Infiniti comes standard with emergency braking, forward collision warning and pedestrian detection. Also available is blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert and adaptive cruise which slows to a halt in traffic but then releases.

Shopping in this mega size luxury SUV segment deserves careful analysis before picking the right set of wheels. Primary competitors include the Mercedes- Benz GLS 450, GMC Yukon, Cadillac Escalade, Lexus LX and the aforementioned Armada.

Contact independent automotive columnist Len Ingrassia at lenscarcorner@comcast.net

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