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2018 Infiniti QX80


We've waited with baited breath for the all-new, break-through full-size SUV from Infiniti. A Concept Prototype at the New York Auto Show this year showed a cutting-edge, imposing vehicle, with a few features we knew wouldn't make it, like video cameras instead of side-view mirrors.

Infiniti QX80 Monograph Concept

Then, after the traditional Fall new model introductions passed and the QX80 didn't show, we figured that it was so special it would take a little longer for Infiniti to get it squared away. However, that wasn't the case.

When the QX80 finally appeared in the steel, it looked awfully familiar, but not because of the prototype we were shown this April. Strangely enough, when reading the specifications and equipment sheets, the 2018 model matched the 2017 to the tenth of an inch. Wheelbase, overall length, front track, rear track, width, height, are all exactly the same.

Production Model 2018 Infiniti QX80

Production Model 2018 Infiniti QX80

At first, I thought this was a mistake and someone had accidentally forwarded us last year's data, but after a careful reading of the press release that went with it, it seems as if it were correct: the 2018 QX80 was the 2017 QX80 with a new grill insert and a few other cosmetic changes. This is done all the time in the industry, it's called a "cosmetic refresh" or "facelift." But, when its done, the hoopla of a separate party at a major auto show and a press release so full of superlatives that it reads as if written by a freshman English major using a 20-sided die and a thesaurus.

The only difference in any of the specifications is a 1-percent reduction in turning diameter and a 3-percent difference in steering ratio. Even listed curb weight is identical to the pound.

Reading the press release made it obvious this was the same SUV, not because it said so, or even because a careful read showed no changes to the specs or equipment, but simply because a semantic removal of all adjectives left me with a blank sheet of paper. Seriously: "Our designers raised the visual height of our iconic ‘double-arch’ grille and signature headlamps, striking an unrivalled (SIC) on-road premium tonality." If the engineers and designers had spent 1% of the effort on this vehicle as the person who wrote the press release, it not only would have had video cameras for the side view, but the freaking thing would have floated 40-feet above the road noiselessly while burning nothing but tap water and emitting a slight scent of raspberries.

Anyway, we don't have a road test or driving impressions of the top SUV from Infiniti, but Car and Driver tested a QX54 in September 2010. That should work.


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