By Stewart Smith on 2016-07-05 - Stewart was the former motoring editor of the Coventry Telegraph and is now a freelance contributor to Eurekar. He is based in Scotland and specialises in First Drive reviews.
QX30 for global
JAPANESE premium brand Infiniti has chosen the UK to produce its latest model, the active crossover QX30, for the global market and has invested Â£250 million at parent company Nissan's factory in Sunderland.
A relative newcomer to the UK motoring scene, Infiniti is now poised to make great strides with its line-up of up-market motors and the new QX30 is an eye-catching addition to its high quality range.
The Sunderland plant was chosen to be the first in Europe to produce Infiniti cars and a recruitment programme was conducted, filling over 300 new jobs to support production, while 4,000 existing production line staff were given special training to meet exacting Infiniti standards.
The workforce also includes a select group of newly-appointed master craftspeople. At each stage of the production process, they ensure every individual QX30 meets Infiniti's premium manufacturing standards.
Infiniti is the first new car brand to be manufactured on this scale in the UK in 23 years,
The QX30 has been created for a new generation of premium buyers who appreciate high quality design inside and out.
The all-new QX30 is to be built alongside the current Infiniti Q30 premium hatch which was launched last year and the new SUV-oriented model has an aggressive high-riding appearance.
The QX30 stands 30mm higher than the Q30 Premium and 45mm higher than Q30 Sport, with satin chrome roof rails fitted as standard for functionality.
In addition, the QX30's wheel arch cladding is 5mm wider than that on the Q30, adding to the premium active crossover's more purposeful looks.
Other exterior details include newly-designed front and rear bumpers and grained side sills for a rugged look, as well as bodywork finished with satin chrome-plated inserts for an upmarket metallic finish.
Its sculpted, flowing lines certainly make the QX30 stand out and it has a real quality look with wide appeal to people looking for an impressive head-turning motor.
The inside of new Infiniti is equally impressive. The standard interior is finished in high quality black cloth, while optional black or beige leather delivers an even more premium finish.
Infiniti claims internal testing carried out by its engineers showed that the QX30 seats provides greater levels of support and comfort than rivals, reducing driver fatigue on longer journeys.
The claim is also made that on the move the QX30's interior quietness adds to cabin comfort, with some of the lowest noise, vibration and harshness levels in the premium compact segment.
As well as the usual safety and comfort gear found on all Infiniti products the QX30 comes with the company's trademark InTouch infotainment system, first introduced on the larger Q50 saloon, which has been evolved and upgraded for the QX30 for an intuitive finger touch and swipe control through a seven-inch touch-screen.
The Infiniti Voice Recognition interacts with the InTouch infotainment system to control audio and navigation commands.
In collaboration with Mercedes-Benz, the latest Infiniti makes use of the German company's underpinnings and drivetrain as used on the Mercedes A-Class and its GLA models.
The QX30 in the UK is available only with a 2.2-litre turbodiesel power unit with intelligent all-wheel-drive and a seven-speed dual clutch transmission. Expect to get around 58mpg on a combined run and CO2 emissions come in at a reasonable 128g/km.
Infiniti has high hopes of upping its profile in the UK. At the moment it has just twelve centres around the UK but is set to expand. Sales are encouraging, in 2015 it sold 1,200 units but has equalled that in the first five months of this year.
The starting price for the all-new Infiniti is £29,480.
Roland Krueger, president of Infiniti, says: "Further fulfilling Infiniti's promise to expand its product line-up based on popular concept car designs, the arrival of the QX30 premium active crossover comes at a moment of opportunity for the Infiniti brand.
"Alongside the Q30, the QX30 will play an integral role in Infiniti's promise to offer customers a broader range of premium products. The QX30 adds another dimension to Infiniti's premium model line-up, and will play a vital role in the brand's global growth."
Richard Scott, senior supervisor Infiniti body shop, who has been at the Sunderland plant for 28 years, is one of the select workers who is in charge of training and quality on the QX30 line.
He said: "We require the best team possible for the QX30 production. They are all trained to the highest standard andare dedicated to doing the best possible job."
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