Flying first class is a pricey proposition. But just think about how nice it would be take to the skies enjoying big, plush seats with plentiful legroom in this era of jam-packed cabins.
Well, the same holds true for earthbound travelers. That’s why it was so enjoyable to pack our companions into an Infiniti QX80 for a trip to Santa Fe and back.
The QX80 is big, stretching out 208.3 inches from stem to stern. That permits a cavernous cabin that, with second-row captain’s chairs and a two-person third-row bench, offers comfortable accommodations for six.
Comfortable, though, is an understatement. The QX pampers the four lucky riders in the first two rows with heated thrones swathed in soft leather (the front seats included optional cooling). And even the third row can recline.
Everywhere you look there’s leather, or a darned persuasive lookalike. The dash and doors are awash with soft-touch materials featuring satin-finish metallic and wood accents.
A full complement of six handsome gauges faces the driver. The center stack has surprisingly simple buttons and knobs for HVAC and audio controls.
Thanks to an optional Technology Package, the QX is loaded with cutting-edge tech assistants, such as Lane Departure Warning and Prevention; Blind Spot Warning and Intervention; Intelligent Brake Assist with Forward Collision Warning; and Distance Control Assist for the cruise control.
Powering this big boy is a potent 5.6-liter V-8. Its 400 horsepower has its work cut out for it with 5,600-plus pounds to push around. Helping out is a smooth-shifting, seven-speed automatic transmission driving the programmable all-wheel-drive system. Fuel economy rarely saw 18 mpg on our I-25 jaunt to Santa Fe.
But the ride was oh-so-smooth and quiet, disrupted only by occasional tire slap from the big, 22-inch optional all-season rubber as we glided blithely along the highway.
Yes, it’s big, and sure, it’s thirsty, and of course it’s expensive. But first-class travel – whether in the sky or on land – exacts a price. Ensconced in luxury and protected by the QX’s myriad safety systems, it provides a secure and relaxing way to motor from point A to point B.