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When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

A red 2022 Wagoneer is shown parked in front of a gate.

Of Form and Function: Comparing the 2022 Wagoneer and the 2022 INFINITI QX80

At first glance, it may seem that the 2022 Wagoneer and the 2022 QX80 have very little in common. After all, one is made by Jeep, which means it must have some predilection for off-road activities. Conversely, an offering from INFINITI brings to mind images of luxury and heavy-duty comfort, not mud running and trail exploration. The Wagoneer is a resurrected classic with roots dating back to 1963, while the QX80 is a 2014 rebranding of the QX56, which made its public debut in 2004. You would think that comparing the 2022 Wagoneer vs 2022 INFINITI QX80 would be like trying to compare a pair of LL Bean duck boots to a pair of Manolo Blahnik boots.

In fact, the 2022 Wagoneer and 2022 INFINITI QX80 have more in common than one might think. They are both three-row SUVs with the ability to seat up to 8 passengers, but then what? Perhaps the surface similarities start and end with the description, but both vehicles provide drivers with an eloquent, versatile experience both on the road and off. But on a deeper level, perhaps the most striking thing they have in common is how quickly they can be miscast. The 2022 Wagoneer, despite its rugged branding, is surprisingly swift and sophisticated, while the 2022 INFINITI QX80 is certainly more than just a pretty wheelbase. Read on to learn what each of these vehicles can provide and how each presents more than meets the eye.

A white 2022 Wagoneer is shown towing a small boat during a 2022 Wagoneer vs 2022 INFINITI QX80 comparison.

Introducing the 2022 Wagoneer

The concept behind the 2022 Wagoneer is quite clear: make the classic family box-style vehicle more modern and more versatile for today’s modern family. Let it go places and do things and still look pretty cool on a holiday greeting card. While nostalgic drivers would probably love to see a Woody version of the 2022 Wagoneer, it touts itself as a “modern classic.” And true to its word, there is nothing antiquated about this 8 passenger SUV. It may maintain the boxy shape and character of the previous version, but it’s decorated in top-shelf 2022 technology from bumper to bumper and from three-pane sunroof to body-on-frame chassis.

Under the hood is a 5.7-L eTorque V8 engine, which provides 392 horsepower and 404 lb-ft of torque. There’s nothing new about this – this is the same engine used by the Grand Cherokee. It’s a Jeep classic, but the Wagoneer is 10 inches longer than the Grand Cherokee. It can handle 8 passengers with bench seats in the second and third row positions or 7 passengers with middle-row captain’s chairs. But is this engine enough? To answer that question, it’s important to scan all of the other goodies that are hidden in the engineering for the 2022 Wagoneer.

First, there are three 4×4 systems available for gaining ideal traction and torque. Quadra-Trac I with Selec-Terrain Traction Management System is the “always-on” 4×4 option. Quadra-Trac II includes a two-speed low transfer case, which gives drivers the opportunity to switch the power as necessary. This is not to be confused with Quadra-Drive II, which is Jeep’s automatic 4×4 system. Imagine a Jeep that simply shakes itself off and adjusts its torque between climbs and fords, and you’re not too far off from realizing the potential of Quadra-Drive II.

There’s another Quadra technology on board – the Quadra-Lift Air Suspension system. This optional equipment increases the suspension travel to 3.6 inches, with 10 inches of ground clearance. Also available are 18 or 20-inch all-terrain tires, chrome tow hooks, and underbody skid plates. This isn’t a Wrangler, but the Wagoneer can still handle heading off the pavement; it just does so with style.

A grey 2022 INFINITI QX80 is shown turning onto a city street.

In the Other Corner… the 2022 INFINITI QX80

If you squint a bit or look up quickly without your glasses on, you could say the Wagoneer and the QX80 share a passing resemblance. INFINITI’s three-row, 8 passenger offering is more quadrangular than the manufacturer’s other vehicles. Still, there’s something very aerodynamic and sleek about the QX80. The powerhouse in the 2022 INFINITI QX80 is a 5.6L V8 engine, capable of 400 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque. Obviously, those numbers are higher than what the Wagoneer enjoys, but can it perform the way the Wagoneer can?

Perhaps the INFINITI is a victim of its own branding here. While the Wagoneer is marketed based on its capabilities and luxury accouterments, INFINITI is slightly tight-lipped about the QX80’s capabilities, instead focusing on the buttery soft leather upholstery and decidedly domesticated interior. But it’s there.

The 2022 QX80 is engineered with independent front and rear suspension, along with the available Hydraulic Body Motion Control system, which intelligently distributes force to the suspension mechanics to create a smoother ride. While rear-wheel drive is standard, the INFINITI All-Mode 4WD system is available on all trim levels. This system offers three settings: high and low 4-wheel drive, as well as an Auto setting, which allows the system to automatically adjust power and traction based on the surface type and weather. It also comes equipped with 20 or 22-inch all-terrain tires. It has a ground clearance of 9.2 inches. It is amenable to a factory-installed set of roof rails or bicycle racks, and it includes a standard Snow mode.

Could it be driven off the road? Well, anything could potentially be driven off-road with the right amount of inspiration and disregard for your automotive insurance premium. Should it be driven off-road? Perhaps with some modifications and skid plates, it could have a jolly time on some trails, but that’s not the intention of a QX80. While someday, INFINITI might become inspired to make an off-road version, the version that exists today is designed to keep drivers happy and comfortable in the lap of luxury. To make them forget that driving can be a chore, and help them tune out whatever stress is behind them, whether that means in the literal third row or beyond.

Bringing the Two Together

It’s not entirely possible to give the 2022 Wagoneer and the 2022 INFINITI QX80 an apples-to-apples comparison based on attitude, purpose, and marketing alone. However, when it comes to comfort and convenience features, it is interesting to gauge the overlap between the two. It’s easy to see that both Wagoneer and INFINITI are well aware of the dynamics of hauling 7 or 8 humans for any considerable distance. The cargo room must be sufficient for everyone’s stuff, towing adventure equipment is a requirement, the seats need to be comfortable, and there needs to be adequate legroom.

The 2022 Wagoneer offers 27.4 cubic feet of cargo space with all seats occupied, which expands to a cavernous 116.7 cubic feet with the second and third-row seats stowed. The 2022 INFINITI QX80 is slightly smaller, providing 16.6 cubic feet of cargo room with all seats occupied and 95.1 cubic feet with all rear passenger seats folded. The Wagoneer has a towing maximum of 10,000 pounds, while the QX80 falls a touch short of that number at 8,500 pounds.

For passenger comfort, the Wagoneer offers power tilt and slide heated second-row captain’s chairs, along with third-row power-folding and reclining seats. These features are available on the Series II trim but standard on the Series III trim, with the exception of the captain’s chair seating style – bench seats are standard. Legroom in the third-row measures 36.6 inches.

The QX80 offers second-row captain’s chairs as the standard, with their version clad in leather upholstery, which is quilted in the top-tier Sensory trim. The Sensory trim is also the only model to offer heated seats to the second-row passengers. The third-row bench seat is also power-folding and reclining in the INFINITI; however, legroom in this seat measures just 28.8 inches.

Of course, the road-trip-worthy features and options abound. The Wagoneer offers 10.1 inch rear entertainment screens and a premium McIntosh sound system, which is matched by the QX80s 8-inch screens and 17-speaker Bose audio system.

A blue 2022 Grand Wagoneer and red 2022 Wagoneer are shown parked in a driveway

Which One Is the Best?

The more you dig into each model, the more you can see a similar train of thought between the designers revealed in the spirit of the vehicle. Make the driver comfortable. Give the passengers things to do. Reduce noise. But while Wagoneer focuses on function, INFINITI instead heads into fashion. There is no doubt that the interior of the INFINITI QX80 is a thing of beauty, with aesthetically sculpted seats, armrests, and latches. Ambient lighting isn’t just available; it’s practically required. Meanwhile, the Wagoneer keeps doing what it needs to do. It’s certainly not unsightly; in fact, the “modern classic” theme surely extends to the interior as well as the exterior.

Is it fair to compare the 2022 Wagoneer to the 2022 QX80? Maybe; maybe not. Though they may be direct competitors, they certainly each have a distinct personality. We live in a world where drivers have different needs, and it’s easy to see why one driver might lean towards either SUV when it comes down to making a final selection.

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