MO­TORS Life be­gins at 30

Macclesfield Express - - SEARCH -

IF you like the idea of In­finiti’s com­pact Q30 five­door hatch­back but want some­thing with a lit­tle more life­style at­ti­tude, then the QX30 could suit.

It com­petes with cars like Volvo’s V40 Cross Country, the DS4 Cross­back and the Mercedes-Benz GLA it’s based upon and, de­spite its brand’s Far East­ern roots, is built at Nis­san’s plant in Sun­der­land.

Un­like its Q30 sta­ble­mate, this QX30 is be­ing of­fered in only one me­chan­i­cal guise - a 2.2-litre diesel matched to all-wheel drive and a 7-speed auto gear­box.

Han­dling is likely to be safe, pre­dictable and not a great deal dif­fer­ent to the Mercedes GLA this model is based upon.

The sus­pen­sion’s firmer on this model, but In­finiti claims that mod­i­fi­ca­tions made to the chas­sis have com­pen­sated for this and kept ride com­fort as sup­ple as it is in the Q30.

The in­tel­li­gent all- wheel drive sys­tem 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 in in­clement weather, en­hanc­ing a feel­ing of con­trol and con­fi­dence when driv­ing. For ex­am­ple, if a wheel slip is de­tected by sen­sors, brak­ing is ap­plied to the slip­ping wheel, while torque is sent to the grip­ping wheel for ad­di­tional sta­bil­ity. This, along with the el­e­vated ground clear­ance, means that the QX30 should be ca­pa­ble of deal­ing with the odd rut­ted track. Don’t ex­pect to set about the Serengeti though.

Though this QX30 is clearly based on its Q30 sta­ble­mate, its el­e­vated stance and Cross­over styling cues give it a more strik­ing vis­ual im­pact.

The QX30 stands 30mm higher than the Q30, with satin chrome roof rails fit­ted as stan­dard. And its wheel arch cladding is 5mm wider than that on the Q30, adding to the pre­mium ac­tive cross­over’s pur­pose­ful ap­pear­ance.

Other exter­ior de­tails in­clude re-de­signed front and rear bumpers and grained side sills for the re­quired rugged look, as well as body­work fin­ished with satin chrome-plated in­serts.

Oth­er­wise, the aes­thet­ics are much as they are with the Q30, char­ac­terised by dra­matic curves and tur­bu­lent, sculpted char­ac­ter lines.

Th­ese flow up the dou­ble-wave bon­net, over the fen­ders, across the body line and into the strong shoul­ders of the car. The over­all ef­fect is de­signed to look stretched over bone and mus­cle, rather than the straight, ‘me­chan­i­cal’ lines seen on ri­val mod­els. Boot space is a rea­son­able 368-litres.

It makes sense for In­finiti to ad­dress as many mar­ket niches as it can with its limited prod­uct range, so the QX30 is cer­tainly a log­i­cal model for the com­pany to have brought us, given the min­i­mal amount of re-engi­neer­ing work that must have been needed to cre­ate this vari­ant from the stan­dard Q30 de­sign.

The Ja­panese brand hopes this car will tar­get buy­ers look­ing at up­mar­ket Qashqais and BMW X1s, but in truth, it’s re­ally more com­pa­ra­ble to other pre­mium hatches that have been re-pack­aged with SUV styling cues, mod­els like the Volvo V40 Cross Country and the DS4 Cross­back.

For the small num­ber of buy­ers look­ing at th­ese cars - and the even smaller num­ber will­ing to con­sider a rel­a­tively un­known brand, this Bri­tish-built con­tender could prove to be an in­ter­est­ing propo­si­tion.

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