INFINITI QX30 – NEW UPMARKET CROSSOVER

infiniti_qx30_frontUpmarket Japanese car maker Infiniti has joined one the most heavily populated areas of the car market, that of the small medium crossover. A vehicle that’s part five-door hatchback, part SUV, maybe even with a touch of coupe in its shape.

The new Infiniti QX30 being reviewed here is based on the recently introduced Q30 but sits 35 mm higher and has a more aggressive appearance.

Jean-Philippe Roux, the managing director of Infiniti Cars Australia spoke to us at the QX30‘s media launch, saying, “The QX30 mixes standout styling, agile performance and a level of refinement often found in more expensive luxury vehicles.”

New Infiniti QX30 will compete directly with Audi Q3, BMW X1, Lexus NX and Mercedes GLA in the upmarket arena. (Incidentally, the Infiniti QX30 shares some of its underpinnings with the Merc – the automotive world is a strange place at times.)

The importer also hopes potential buyers of Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3, Mini Countryman, Mitsubishi ASX and Nissan Qashqai might be able to find extra dollars and move up a class in prestige.

The Infiniti QX30 comes in just two grades, the 2.0t GT with a recommended retail of $48,900 and the QX30 2.0t GT Premium at $56,900. On-road costs have to be factored in.

Styling leans in the coupe direction rather than the wagon. The now traditional Infiniti double-arch grille with three-dimensional mesh certainly makes a statement. The lines move back over the double-wave bonnet that’s manufactured in lightweight aluminium. The low roofline and rear pillars really stand out in their shape.

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QX30’s 18-inch alloy wheels use a five double-spoke ‘snowflake’ design and sit inside 235/50 R18 tyres that add to the purposeful appearance of the crossover.

The interior is impressively upmarket, with premium materials throughout; black Fibretec in the GT and black or beige nappa leather in the Premium. Also standard in the Premium is suede-like Dinamica on the headlining and genuine wood inserts in the door panels and centre console.

Infiniti QX30 Premium has eight-way power adjustable front seats with four-way power-adjustable lumbar support. Heated, though not cooled, front seats are part of the package.

The rear seat is a bit lacking in headroom due to the coupe-style roof. The seat folds flat in 60/40 sections. There’s a ski hatch in the Premium model but not the GT.

Standard on all models are the Infiniti InTouch infotainment system with a 7.0-inch touch screen displaying in-vehicle satellite navigation and Infiniti’s InTouch apps.

A Bose Premium audio system with 10 speakers, subwoofer and CD/MP3/WMA compatibility sounds great. Fascinatingly, the audio system also includes Active Sound Control that does its best to cancel specific exterior sound frequencies should they enter the cabin.

The standard-fitment Bluetooth phone system provides audio streaming and has voice recognition.

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Infiniti QX30 is sold with only one powertrain – a 155 kW / 350 Nm 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine that drives through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. Unlike many in this class that are sold with 2WD or 4WD, the Infiniti is sold only as a 4WD, using what it calls Intelligent All-Wheel Drive. Infiniti is targeting those who are serious about their weekend explorations.

Drive is normally to the front wheels, but QX30’s all-wheel-drive system is able to send up to 50 per cent of the power to the rear axle to maintain traction on slippery surfaces. If wheel slip is detected by sensors, braking is applied to the slipping wheel, while torque is sent to the gripping wheel for additional stability. Steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters give the driver manual overrides.

Obviously those wanting only 2WD can buy the Infiniti Q30. It also has the advantages of a lower price and lighter weight.

Extensive use of sound-absorbent materials reduces the intrusion of wind, road and engine noise and during our initial test drive the upmarket Japanese machine was pleasing quiet.

The new QX30 is equipped with a long list of safety features, including forward collision warning, forward emergency braking and sophisticated vehicle dynamic control.

Interestingly, the Australian-market Infiniti QX30 is assembled in the Nissan / Infiniti plant in Sunderland, England. This makes sense because they drive on the ‘correct’ side of the road in the UK. We have done a comprehensive tour of that factory and came away impressed by the standard of quality, working conditions and general feel of the plant.

A comprehensive four-year / 100,000 kilometre new-vehicle warranty is supplied to all models sold in the Australian Infiniti new-vehicle range.

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