Infiniti freshens QX80 for 2018

Infiniti took the wraps off a mildly refreshed 2018 QX80 at theDubai auto show, giving the flagship SUVa few updates inside and out.

The biggest visual changes are the slightly revised front and rear fascias: The headlights are now narrower and sit higher on the front fenders, the lower front fascia sports slimmer horizontal running lights, and the grille is now wider at the bottom rather than at the top compared to the outgoing model.

In the back, the taillights are different in design if not in overall shape, and they’re now joined by a single horizontal chrome strip that runs along the top of the rear license plate niche.

Overall, it’s an evolutionary change in styling that tweaks the established design of the QX80 in the spirit of the QX80 Monograph concept that debuted at the New York auto show earlier this year, instead of a complete redesign.

The changes are even milder on the inside: The design of the steering wheel and the leather-wrapped gear shifter has been tweaked, and Infiniti has added choices of Wheat or Graphite upholstery.

On the tech front, the refreshed QX80 now features larger rear infotainment screens — a bump from 7.0 to 8.0 inches — as well as HDMI ports in addition to the standard USB ports. Up front, Infiniti has made a few changes to storage space, including a larger smartphone storage area and cupholders for cups with handles. The storage area under the center armrest has also been expanded, now measuring 5.4 liters in volume.

Under the hood, the QX80 still packs a beefy 5.6-liter V-8 engine with 400 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque on tap, paired with a seven-speed automatic transmission.

Most of the changes are on the outside and they serve to tone down the brash, bulbous style of Infiniti’s largest offering, which has been on sale since 2010 (first as the QX56). The SUV is now closer to a complete redesign as it battles much newer, retooled galleons including the Cadillac Escalade and Lincoln Navigator. But a major redesign won’t arrive for at least a couple of years.

The change in price for 2018 is similarly incremental; the QX80 is now $ 900 higher for two- and four-wheel-drive models alike, weighing in at $ 65,745 and $ 68,845, respectively.

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