Interior and Comfort
Like the exterior, Brendan will tell you that the QX’s interior styling alone is enough for it to finish second fiddle to the Escalade.
Again, however, I have to disagree with my esteemed colleague.
The QX80 features nice materials, I found it to be less rattley and better-fastened-together than the Escalade (I’d even give the nod to the Navigator in this department, too) and the big one for me is just how accessible the QX80’s third row is.
Yes, yes, I hear you. There’s an ESV version of the Escalade that’s longer. That’s fine, but apart from adding a little more room back there, it doesn’t change the seats all that much. Perhaps it’s because there’s no longer wheelbase version that Infiniti felt it had to do better with the third row on the QX80. Whatever the case may be, that truck’s seats are plumper, easier to clamber into and look far better than those on display in the Escalade.
Otherwise, I have no issue with the woodgrain/leather steering wheel on the QX, you don’t have to suffer through Cadillac’s CUE system to activate your seat warmers – there’s just a couple of nice, metallic-bezeled knobs to turn – and it feels airier in the Infiniti. And in keeping with theme, the QX80’s seats are actually cushier than those found in either the ‘Slade or Navi; these are some of the best in the biz, and they don’t even benefit from parent company Nissan’s NASA-developed Zero Gravity seating. Now, include a couple of those, and Bob’s your uncle in the interior department.
The Linc? Well, I found it to be the easiest to see out of, and stepping from either the Caddy or the QX to the Lincoln is like stepping into a car. You sit low – which helps with the visibility – and everything is just a little easier to reach (my love for the QX takes a hit, here; that centre stack is quite a reach for the driver) than it is in the other two. They have GOT to do something about the dash in front of the front passenger, though; it is so broad and in your face, giving the impression of a leather-covered cliff in front of you. I’m also a tall chap; can you imagine what it must be like in there for a shorter rider?
There are, indeed, some positives to be found on the interior of the QX80 – chiefly, a rest for your seared eyeballs because you don’t have to look at the bulbous exterior any more. However, I will concede Dan’s point that it’s comfy in here, and the ergonomics aren’t bad. The slippery wood trim around the entirety of the steering wheel rim bothered me more than a little on this damp day, and I do feel like the overall look of the dash is getting a bit dated, but it’s aging well.
The Navigator is the worst of the bunch on the inside, with a dash that looks like a previous-generation Mustang. Oof, get it together, Ford.
And then there’s the Escalade, with its much-maligned CUE system and haptic feedback buttons and all the rest. Of all the trucks here today, this one feels the freshest, the most upscale, and the one that best-disguises its utilitarian roots. I also think the chevroned seats fore and aft are a better look than the plusher thrones found in the other two, though perhaps not as cushy.