Infiniti EX30d GT

Infiniti EX30d, interior
Infiniti EX30d, action
Infiniti EX30d, front
Infiniti EX30d, detail
Infiniti EX30d, rear

THERE was a time not so very long ago when buying a luxury motor in Britain meant turning to one of the premium German marques or plumping for a Jag.

Jaguar then somewhat lost the way before its recent spectacular turnaround in fortunes - but for a while that the field wide open for the Teutonic giants.

And it's safe to say that they did just that as the pre-eminence of Mercedes, BMW and Audi was undeniable for quite some time.

That's no longer the case, though. Not only is the resurgent Jaguar putting up a strong fight for good old Blighty (albeit backed with Indian money), but the Japanese are eager to muscle their way in too.

Possibly prompted by the incursion of Oriental neighbours from South Korea into their traditional value-for-money sector Honda, Toyota, and Nissan have sought to move upmarket.

Many of Honda's flagship motors are now distinctly plush while Toyota's luxury Lexus badge is increasingly familiar on our roads.

Until recently Infiniti, Nissan's high-end brand, was much lesser known in Europe and the UK - but a serious charm offensive is aimed at changing all that as the company seeks to gain a 10 per cent share of the global luxury car market by 2016.

Helping to drive that ambition is the EX30d, the diesel version of the company's compact crossover.

Performance-wise this is a serious motor which gives the more established European competition a good run for its money.

The 235bhp, 3.0-litre power pack delivers impressive acceleration (0-62mph in 7.9 seconds) and plenty of pull throughout the rev range when paired with the seven-speed automatic transmission. Maximum torque is a mighty 406lb/ft and is achieved at just 1,750rpm.

Motorway cruising is assured and refined while the demands of stop-start traffic in town are also handled in an unruffled manner.

Handling is very nimble and precise for a sizeable car with the intelligent 4x4 system helping to provide plenty of grip.

Where the EX30d lags slightly behind its rivals, though, is in the economy and emissions stakes.

Average fuel consumption of 33.2 miles per gallon and carbon emissions of 224g/km, while a big improvement on the petrol-powered EX37 version, are bettered by the comparable BMW X3 and Audi Q5 models - which means it'll cost more to run.

For those with the pockets to cope with that, however, this offers a much less common alternative to the Germans and is more than a match in the looks and equipment departments.

Appearance is all that it should be in a premium SUV, with the EX's sleek and curvy lines being given just the right amount of muscle by the rugged black cladding to the lower bodywork and a good splash of sportiness from it's raking coupe roofline, alloy wheels, rear spoiler and twin tailpipes.

Inside too, the EX largely lives up to its premium billing. Materials in the cabin are generally soft and tactile with plenty of leather about the place while this mid-range GT trim also offers electric front seat and steering wheel adjustment so that anyone should find a comfortable driving position.

Space is generally good although rear legroom may be a little tight for tall folk and the rear view for the driver is somewhat impaired by a small rear screen and wide pillars while the boot is smaller than you might expect in an SUV - not helped by the fact that the battery and some stereo paraphernalia are installed beneath the floor - although the electrically folding rear seats open up more load space and are a nice touch.

Other standard kit is generous and includes cruise control, electric windows, heated front seats, automatic dual zone aircon, automatic lights and wipers, Infiniti's impressive Connectiviti+ navigation and entertainment platform and a premium Bose audio system with Bluetooth, USB and aux-in connectivity.

There is also a nifty rear parking system which uses extra cameras to provide the driver with a bird's eye view of the car on the colour touchscreen while reversing. This proves very useful and at least partly addresses the poor rear vision.


Infiniti EX30d GT

Price: £41,410

Mechanical: 235bhp, 2,993cc, 6cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via 7-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 137mph

0-62mph: 7.9 seconds

Combined MPG: 33.2

Insurance Group: 46

C02 emissions: 224g/km

Bik rating: 35%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles


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