Infiniti QX30 2.2d

Premium Tech

Infiniti QX30, front
Infiniti QX30, front
Infiniti QX30, front
Infiniti QX30, front
Infiniti QX30, rear
Infiniti QX30, rear
Infiniti QX30, front
Infiniti QX30, interior

LAST year Infiniti sold 2,891 cars in the UK which might not sound like a lot but, as an increase of 142 per cent year-on-year, confirmed the marque as the fastest growing automotive brand in the UK.

So much for statistics and that increase was largely driven by a expansion of the Infiniti dealer network and the success of its new compact Q30 and, latterly, its more rugged sibling, the QX30.

Built in Sunderland, the two Q models are the most Euro-centric - if not the most ‘British' - models produced so far by the Japanese company.

For the uninitiated, Infiniti is to Nissan, what Lexus is to Toyota. It's a premium brand to rival Audi, BMW and Mercedes and as such, the Q30 and QX30 are vital parts of the brand's global growth strategy.

The QX30 is the more purposeful-looking of the two, a crossover-inspired model with a wide range of comfort, convenience and safety features including intelligent all-wheel drive.

It's a little higher and wider than its hatchback sibling but the combination of its low-slung roof-line, ready-for-action stance and crossover must-haves such as chunky wheel arch cladding and roof rails create a purposeful yet elegant look.

The elegance comes from the sensuous curves it shares with the Q30 though the double-arch grille with its three-dimensional mesh has been slightly tweaked. There's also newly-designed front and rear bumpers and grained side sills adding to its rugged look.

It looks good, Infiniti's designers somehow conspiring to produce a body which looks like skin stretched taut over bone and muscle. Purposeful indeed.

Inside, the cabin is equally impressive, luxurious and tactile. Infiniti's InTouch infotainent system has been upgraded to touch and swipe control through a seven-inch touchscreen.

There's also heated front seats, auto headlamps and wipers and all the usual mod cons.

On the downside, the boot is no more than average at 430-litres and, because of the low-slung roofline, the rear is slightly cramped for adults. However, those in the front can selfishly relish the comfort of the seats specially developed to match the curve of the spine and ease pressure on back muscles.

And, though the diesel engine can sound a little gruff at idle, Infiniti has worked hard to virtually eliminate wind, road and unwanted engine noise even adding Active Noise Cancellation, which emits sounds waves from the door speakers to negate any noise emanating from the powertrain.

But, does that purposeful, ready-for-anything stance translate to the road?

There is only one choice of powertrain, a 168bhp, 2.2-litre which drives all four wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

The drivetrain is able to send up to 50 per cent of the engine's power and torque to the rear axle to maintain traction on slippery surfaces and it provides oodles of grip in normal conditions.

The transmission is smooth though could be a little more responsive on kickdown. That's a minor gripe however, as there's plenty of torque - 350Nm of it - to help boot the QX30 along.

The steering is light but crisp and the QX30 turns into corners nicely. Though it won't be hustled into misbehaving on twisting country roads, it will be sprightly enough for most.

Despite its slightly elevated height, body roll is barely noticeable. Around town it's smooth and on the motorway the QX30, which shares its platform with the Mercedes GLA, is a fairly comfortable cruiser.

Safety-wise, there's also a whole host of active safety technologies, a full complement of airbags and an Around View Monitor with moving object detection and automatic parking assistance.

FAST FACTS

Infiniti QX30 2.2d Premium Tech

Price: £33,370

Mechanical: 168bhp, 2,143cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via 7-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 136mph

0-62mph: 8.5 seconds

Combined MPG: 57.6

Insurance Group: 23

C02 emissions: 128g/km

Bik rating: 25%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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