It sure is premium
Impressive package, with the only option being $1200 metallic paint. Highlights include a sunroof, auto parking, LED lights, adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beam, seveninch touchscreen, satnav with speed sign recognition and 10speaker Bose audio. In the absence of Apple CarPlay or Android Auto there is Infiniti’s InTouch set-up. Excellent fit and finish in cabin, good selection of colours, materials and two-tone upholstery that lifts ambience. Warranty at four years/ 100,000km is one up on rivals and service at $1837 for three years is a little cheaper too.
For a small car, it has a big car feel. Doors shut with a “thunk” and it’s quiet and cosy inside. Comfortable supportive sports seats have thick bolsters and the backs reach almost to the roof — combined with a small rear window they limit over-shoulder vision. Front seats are heated and powered, with power lumbar adjustment. Rear passengers have limited rear legroom and the boot is on the small side too.
The full five stars but scores for whiplash protection are marginal and there’s no reverse camera on the base model . The camera in this one renders 360degree bird’s-eye view. Standard features include blind spot and lane departure warnings, forward collision warning with full autonomous emergency braking and front and rear park sensors. A pop-up bonnet protects pedestrians.
We did 800km, many on country roads, and averaged 5.7L/100km. The diesel, with auto stop-start, is remarkably quiet and feels more relaxed than its petrol counterparts, while the twin-clutch transmission is not as frenetic. It has a planted feel on the road yet the ride is cushy, even with 19-inch wheels and sports suspension. Drive modes are economy, sport and, with paddle-shifters, manual. Standard mode feels fine and that’s where we mostly left it.
Mercedes-Benz A200d, from $43,300 Donor vehicle for the Infiniti with same drivelines but significantly cheaper — although options will soon add to the price. Its diesel is tuned to deliver less power (100kW/ 300Nm) but the major difference is in the Benz’s firmer, sportier ride and handling. It claims 4.2L/100km. Warranty is three years/100,000km and servicing $1980 for three years. Volvo V40 D4 Luxur y, from $46,990 Underrated. Sporty, comfortable and eye catching, especially in blue. Under load, the 2.0-litre turbo diesel (140kW/400Nm) can be noisy. Auto emergency braking is standard but blind spot alert and the like are all part of a $4000 option pack. Eight-speed auto assists the claimed 4.5L/100km. Warranty is three years/ unlimited km. Servicing costs $2115 for three years.
There’s a lot to like — the styling, comfort, ease of driving and numerous extras. So there should be, given that it costs considerably more than the competition.