Those who purchase large premium SUVs mostly buy them for the additional cabin room and luxury they provide apart from the bragging rights of a flagship nameplate and their sheer presence on urban boulevards. Ironically though, most of the leading full-size SUVs on the market today are impressively capable off-roaders, and the Infiniti QX80 is no exception.

The QX80’s off-road abilities needn’t be justified as it’s pretty much obvious from the fact that it shares its underpinnings with the immensely proficient Y62 Nissan Patrol. In the (unlikely) event of a QX80 owner wanting to head out into the wilderness, the Infiniti flagship will be very much up to the task.

Over the last weekend, I ventured off the beaten track for a brief excursion over loose sand and gravel, and the long-termer had no problems handling the terrain. Although it’s equipped with a low-range transfer case with a control knob on the centre console for various modes, leaving it in Auto is sufficient for basic off-roading. While my test car rides on supersized 22in alloys wearing lower profile rubbers, anyone looking to take advantage of the QX80’s off-road abilities should stick with the 20in wheels and multi-terrain tyres.

On tarmac, the body-on-frame construction results in a rather floaty ride, and body roll is apparent around corners despite best efforts from the truck’s Hydraulic Body Motion Control system. Whether on the road or off it, the 5.6-litre V8 impresses with its smooth, refined performance. Even at its full payload, it never shows signs of strain or sluggishness.

So, will I recommend the Infiniti QX80 to someone who would want to take his or her ride off-road once in a while? The answer is ‘No’.

If that’s the intention, then go straight for a Nissan Patrol. You will get pretty much everything you get here, minus the premium badge of course, and any potential damage could prove less expensive to repair.


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