INFINITI is a stand-alone brand which is in effect a luxury division of Nissan. Established almost 30 years ago, Infiniti models were initially sold only in the USA but in recent years have been available across Europe and have built up a significant niche market.
The latest Infiniti model is the QX30, a SUV-style five-door hatchback which has a lot of visual presence and because of lower sales volume is far more exclusive than rivals such as the Audi Q3 and BMW X1.
There are two versions, starting at €32,417 (£28,950) and both use a 2.2 litre 168 hp diesel engine with 7-speed automatic gearbox and standard four-wheel-drive. Even the entry level Luxe model gets cruise control with speed limiter, alloy wheels, roof rails, touch-screen infotainment centre, Bluetooth, USB ports and smartphone connectivity, rear parking sensors and safety features including lane departure warning, and forward collision warning with auto emergency braking.
My test model was the Luxe Tech version priced at at €38,562 (£34,440) and with added features including sat-nav, intelligent cruise control, BOSE premium sound system with 10 speakers, auto parking assist with around-view monitor, blind-spot warning and leather-faced seats.
Externally, the Infiniti QX30 looks sleek, elegant and distinctive and the cabin has upmarket ambiance to match. Front seating is excellent, providing comfort and good support and it is easy to get a perfect driving position thanks to powered adjustable seats.
The dashboard is well laid out with controls that are easy to understand and use. Rear seat accommodation is a little less spacious than in rival models as the sloping roofline compromises headroom for taller passengers. Boot space is very good at 430-litres.
Underway, the car has very good driving dynamics and the combination of diesel engine and auto transmission works very smoothly. The steering feel is slightly heavier than in some SUVs but this does provide extra reassurance when cornering, and overall the handling and ride quality are excellent. The 0-100 kph time is 8.5 seconds, top speed 215 kph (134 mph) and average fuel economy 18.5 kpl (52.3 mpg). Emissions are 143 g/km.
Summing up, the Infiniti QX30 is a very appealing package which has particular attraction for the discerning buyer who wants a more exclusive image and is backed by the robust reliability record of the Nissan parent company.
Model tested was UK-specification and equipment levels and prices may vary in other markets.
Model: Infiniti QX30 Luxe Tech
Engine: 2.2 litre diesel
Transmission: 7-speed automatic
Performance: 0-100 kph 8.5 seconds, top speed 215 kph (134 mph)
Economy: 18.5 kpl (52.3 mpg)
Emissions: 143 g/km