In­finiti Q aims high

Herald Sun - Motoring - - LAUNCH PAD -

IN­FINITI Q30

This is the car that’s meant to launch In­finiti into the pres­tige main­stream. The Q30 is es­sen­tially be­spoke sheet metal cov­er­ing Mercedes-Benz’s small-car run­ning gear. That gives In­finiti a well­cre­den­tialed foun­da­tion for its push to be­come more than a niche pres­tige player (so far this year it has sold 395 cars — Maserati has sold 320).

Power will come from 1.6 and 2.0-litre tur­bos and a 2.1litre turbo diesel, paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch au­to­matic. On sale from next week, the com­pact hatch will be sold in three trim lev­els. Over­seas re­views have been largely pos­i­tive and Carsguide will have a lo­cal drive next week. Don’t ex­pect to see all­wheel drive ver­sions. In­finiti is saving the all-paw setup for a QX30 com­pact SUV to be launched in a few months.

HYUNDAI TUC­SON, SANTA FE

The SUV sta­ble­mates earn new colours and in­te­rior up­grades as part of a 30th an­niver­sary makeover. De­tails are scarce but the up­dated ve­hi­cles will hit show­rooms on Oc­to­ber 1.

Hyundai doesn’t need much help shift­ing these prod­ucts, so don’t ex­pect dis­counts. Pre­dicted pric­ing should start about $30,000 for the Tuc­son and $40,000 for the Santa Fe.

Sales of the Santa Fe are up more than 18 per cent this year to al­most 5000 ve­hi­cles at the end of July, putting it squarely in the mid­dle of the large SUV seg­ment, if not at the level of Toy­ota’s class-top­ping Kluger and Prado duo.

The Tuc­son’s 11,106 tally to date this year has it, de­servedly, bat­tling with Toy­ota’s RAV4 for the ti­tle of sec­ond best-sell­ing mid-size SUV, be­hind Mazda’s dom­i­nant CX-5. Over­seas mod­els have picked up An­droid Auto and Ap­ple CarPlay con­nec­tiv­ity so it’s likely our ver­sions will be sim­i­larly equipped.

HOLDEN TRAIL­BLAZER

The re­place­ment for the Colorado7 is tipped to be a more re­fined and up­mar­ket model, re­flect­ing fam­i­lies’ in­creas­ing in­ter­est in big SUVs. It is based on the just launched Colorado (see cover story) and ben­e­fits from the ride, han­dling and in­te­rior im­prove­ments be­stowed on the Red Lion’s lat­est pick-up.

Pric­ing has yet to be an­nounced but Carsguide tips about $50,000 when it hits deal­er­ships on Oc­to­ber 1. The pre­vi­ous ver­sion was crit­i­cised for an agri­cul­tural ride rel­a­tive to the com­pe­ti­tion but this ver­sion gets a full lo­cal sus­pen­sion and steer­ing over­haul, along with aero re­vi­sions to cut down on wind noise.

The 2.8-litre turbo diesel car­ries over, as do the six-speed man­ual and au­to­matic trans­mis­sions, but the in­fo­tain­ment is now op­er­ated via an eight-inch touch­screen. The lat­est driver aids — blindspot and lane-depar­ture warn­ings and rear cross-traf­fic alert — are avail­able.

In­finiti Q30, main pic­ture; Hyundai Tuc­son, left; and Chevy-badged Trail­blazer

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