En­joy the cabin, en­dure the ride

Herald Sun - Cars Guide - - SHORT CUT - CHRIS RI­LEY

VALUE

Top of the line Sport Lux­ury is priced from $73,270. Based on Toy­ota’s RAV4, its build and fin­ish qual­ity are first-rate, as is the im­pres­sive cabin with all mod-cons in­clud­ing sat­nav. Styling has a po­lar­is­ing ef­fect but at least it stands out. War­ranty, at four years/ 100,000km, is a lit­tle bet­ter than most. Ser­vic­ing for three years costs $1490, in­ter­vals are six months/10,000km.

COM­FORT

Cushy cabin and com­fort­able seats will please many. There is rea­son­able rear legroom and the de­cent-sized boot ac­com­mo­dates a space-saver spare. The dash and con­sole, how­ever, carry a daunt­ing ar­ray of in­for­ma­tion and con­trols, then there’s the tiny track­pad that di­rects the on­screen cur­sor — which isn’t easy to use at the best of times let alone when the car is in mo­tion. The Mark Levin­son 14-speaker au­dio is out­stand­ing.

SAFETY

Five stars from ANCAP with a score of 35.39/37, and it rates highly for pedes­trian pro­tec­tion. As with many brands, some ad­vanced driver aids are re­served for high­er­spec vari­ants. It gets ac­tive cruise con­trol, rear-view cam­era and au­ton­o­mous emer­gency brak­ing, the lat­ter work­ing up to 60km/h.

DRIV­ING

Fails to im­press here, with too much turbo lag and choppy ride over any­thing but the best sur­faces, with plenty of tyre noise thrown in. It’s got some stonk, though, with 2.0-litre four-cylin­der turbo (175kW/350Nm) turn­ing all four wheels. There are Eco, Sport and Sport+ drive modes but even in Sport+ it ex­hibits too much body roll. The dash from rest to 100km/h takes a quick­ish 7.1 secs and we re­turned 8.6L/100km af­ter more than 400km. A dig­i­tal speedo would be handy.

AL­TER­NA­TIVES In­finiti QX30 Pre­mium, from $56,900

More like a plush and high­rid­ing hatch, it ben­e­fits from Benz un­der­pin­nings. Driv­e­train is 2.0-litre turbo (155kW/ 350Nm), seven-speed twin­clutch auto and all-wheel drive. Auto stop-start as­sists with claimed 6.9L/100km. War­ranty is four years/ 100,000km. Ser­vice in­ter­vals are 12 months/ 25,000km and cost will be $1625 over three years.

Audi Q3 Qu­at­tro TFSI Sport, from $57,500

Sporty SUV shares a plat­form with the ex­cel­lent VW Tiguan. All wheel drive with a 2.0-litre turbo (155kW/300Nm) turn­ing a seven-speed twin-clutch auto. With auto stop-start, it uses 7.7L/100km. War­ranty is three years/un­lim­ited km and ser­vice in­ter­val is 15,000km — cost over three years will be $1590.

VER­DICT

Thanks but no thanks. The NX tries hard but needs to get the ba­sics right.

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