The Price is Right

2021 Infiniti QX80 adds tech, gets renamed trim levels and price hike

The 2021 QX80 has been enhanced for the new model year.

Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motors

The Infiniti QX80 is getting more expensive for the 2021 model year, but with that added cost comes a bevy of upgrades made over the last two model years.

For 2020, Infiniti added then-new ProPILOT Assist and Sensory package content, fresh IT system technology, and an available 17-speaker Bose Performance Series Audio system.

The three-row 2021 Infiniti QX80 has revised its trim levels to now include entry-level Luxe, mid-grade Premium Select, and top-tier Sennsory. It will continue to be available in two- and four-wheel drive configurations. The 2WD QX80 will start at $69,050 and the 4WD will be $72,150.

2021 Infiniti QX80

2021 Infiniti QX80

Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motors

The QX80 Luxe will offer sumptuous appointments and the SUV's signature beefy body style along with a long list of standard technologies including blind spot intervention, lane departure prevention, distance control assist, rear seat belt reminder, adaptive cruise control, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay,

Upgrading to the QX80 Premium Select delivers enhancements previously available in the QX80 Edition 30 including dark chrome and black highlights the QX80's front grille, fender vents, door mirror caps, and rear tailgate strip. The model rides on dark chrome 22-inch forged alloy wheels. Buyers can choose from three interior color schemes: Graphite, Truffle Brown, and Sahara Stone. The Matte Brown accent trim has been revised.

Moving to the QX80 Sensory grade gets buyers quilted semi-aniline leather-appointed seats, Charcoal Burl trim and a new graphite tricot headliner. It too rides on 22-inch forged allow wheels, but this model's have chrome mirror caps. The company's Hydraulic Body Motion Control system is standard in this trim level.

In addition to the grade name and offerings changes, each model comes equipped with the second generation of Infiniti's Smart Rearview Mirror. It now has a wider 9.6-inch display, high resolution camera, and LED flicker mitigation technology.

The 2021 Infiniti QX80 will reach U.S. dealerships this autumn.

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The IIHS may increase the speeds it uses to test advanced driver aids.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently announced that it is considering changing the speeds it uses to test vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention systems. The agency currently tests the systems at 12 and 25 mph, but says that the speeds don't accurately represent the types of crashes the safety tech is meant to prevent.

Front crash

Automatic emergency braking (AEB) is designed to notify of a possible collision and help respond with automatic application of braking. Just like a human using the brake pedal, it can stop the car, but higher speeds make it difficult to stop in time. The new tests would be conducted at 35 to 45 mph, which is the range where a large number of rear-end crashes occur. As Automotive News noted, an IIHS study showed 43 percent of rear-end crashes occur at speeds of 45 mph or less, so it's important to have a test that shows how well the tech performs at those levels.

A whopping 85 percent of 2022 vehicles earned a "Superior" rating in the current testing regime, so the IIHS will remove it from 2023 testing and Top Safety Pick award evaluations. Their view is that, since the majority of vehicles meet the criteria, it's no longer an accurate way of evaluating performance. In its place, the agency introduced a night test for automatic emergency braking systems that will begin next year.

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What was your best car-related experience this year?

Chris Teague

This year has been a lot of things, but it hasn't been boring. Even if we focus only on the car world, there's plenty to talk about, from microchip-related new vehicle shortages to the wave of new electric vehicles hitting the market. That leaves us with a question for all of you: What was the best or most memorable car moment for you in 2021? I'll get the conversation started.

Porsche Cayenne GTSMy SoCal Cayenne śaw snow for the first time in its nearly 200k-mile life last week.Chris Teague

I'd spent a good portion of 2021 wanting a new-old car to drive when I wasn't testing a new vehicle. That's harder than you'd think for someone who thinks, talks, and writes about cars all day, because there are so many interesting, risky, and downright funky options out there in every price range. The added headache for me was that I'd chosen to shop for a "fun" car in one of the most volatile car markets ever seen. Even the extremely high-mileage "untouchable" European cars I wanted to buy were commanding ridiculous prices.

After a solid few months of waffling between various rattletrap Mercedes-AMG, BMW M, and Audi S/RS cars, I landed on an option that had escaped me before: The Porsche Cayenne. First-generation Cayennes are a real bargain now, but the 955/957 (Porsche's internal code for the SUVs) can experience major problems that occur with or without regular maintenance and care. I was determined to buy one, and wasn't overly concerned about mileage, as long as I could count the number of owners on one hand. There was a beautiful 2009 Cayenne GTS with 90,000 miles but nine owners, a gorgeous 2004 Cayenne Turbo with a concerning engine tick, and many more just like them. Finally, I decided to risky-click a 196,000-mile Cayenne GTS in Southern California. It had one owner and one dealer-owner for a month or two prior to sale, its condition looked decent in photos, and I was able to negotiate a reasonable enough price that shipping it from San Diego to Maine wasn't a huge problem.

Porsche Cayenne GTSThe pics look great, but hands-on tells another story.Chris Teague

I had two traveling Euro mechanics check the car out, and both confirmed that it was well-worn but mechanically sound, so I jumped. Ten days later, on a snowy, icy, dark Maine afternoon, the Cayenne arrived. Cosmetically, there were a few things the dealer and mechanics failed to mention, but overall, it looked good. The SUV passed Maine safety and emissions testing without problem, got a new set of Michelins, and I was on my way.

Porsche Cayenne GTSI'm in danger, but thankfully this should be a reasonable fix.Chris Teague

A few days of driving revealed what I was really in for. A check engine light revealed a camshaft position sensor error and the Cayenne displayed a nasty vibration at idle. A new sensor and motor mounts, and I'm on my way. I'll update you as more things break or miraculously work, but I want to hear your memories from 2021.

Email me at, and I will compile the best and most interesting stories for a story on New Year's Day. May you all have a wonderful 2022.

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