Infiniti Q aims high
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. 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. 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.