Toronto Star

Nissan partnershi­p produces QX30

Taller compact crossover is result of a joint venture by Daimler Benz, Renault-Nissan


LOS ANGELES — Technical alliances between manufactur­ers are everywhere in the automotive industry, it seems, and the floor of the Los Angeles Auto Show provides several instructiv­e examples.

Fiat is, for example, building a new 124 Spider that is based on the platform that is shared with the Mazda MX-5 and is slated to be built in Mazda’s Hiroshima plant alongside the famous Japanese roadster.

Elsewhere, Infiniti is preparing to launch a new set of compact crossovers, the Q30 and the QX30.

The focus here is the taller QX30, the production version of which made its debut this week.

Set to be released in “select markets” (including Canada) i n mid-2016 as a 2017 model, the QX30 is the first product of a technical partnershi­p that exists between Renault-Nissan and Daimler Benz.

The resulting product is a small SUV that shares a lot of similariti­es with the Mercedes-Benz GLA, at least under the skin.

The QX30 will share the same 2.0litre turbocharg­ed 4-cylinder engine found in the GLA that produces 208 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of torque in Benz trim.

Infiniti isn’t officially talking about output, but a company official told me the engine will produce the same horsepower (208) in the QX30 as it does in the GLA.

The 258 lb.-ft. number, while not official yet, seems like a good bet in the QX30.

In terms of styling, the QX30 boasts familiar Infiniti design cues, including a wide open-mouth grille, big air intakes and sharply angled headlights.

Taken together, these make the QX30 look like a dead ringer for midsize QX50 crossover from the front.

A pronounced character line running from the headlights, along the length of the vehicle and dissolving into the tail lights further drives home that Infiniti feeling.

On the inside, the QX30 has the feel of a luxury crossover thanks to leather seats and steering wheel, combined with handsome piano black and satin chrome trim bits.

It must be said, however, that the Mercedes touches in the cabin are fairly obvious to anyone who has driven a late-model Benz recently.

From the headlight switch, to the font used in the instrument cluster, to the PRNDL on the centre console (including the button governing driving modes), the Daimler presence is plain as day.

2016 Nissan Sentra The current generation of Nissan’s c-platform Sentra dates back to 2012, which means it was about due for a refresh, which is what’s in-store for 2016.

What’s commonly referred to as a mid-cycle update, the 2016 Sentra’s most notable changes occur at the front end, which receives a new fascia with Nissan’s V-Motion grille sandwiched in between redesigned headlamps that bear a striking resemblanc­e to those found on the re- cently redesigned Maxima and refreshed Altima.

In addition to a new grille and headlights, the 2016 Sentra also receives new fenders, new hood and two new 17-inch wheel designs for the SR and SL trims, along with a new 16-inch alloy wheel for the SV model.

Among interior improvemen­ts, the 2016 Sentra receives a Thin Film Transistor (TFT) LCD panel that has better resolution than previous screens. On SV, SR and SL trims, a 5-inch Advanced Drive-Assist display will be located between the tach and speedomete­r.

Connectivi­ty gets a big boost as well, as the Sentra will also offer NissanConn­ect with Mobile Apps (standard on SV, SR and SL trims), which includes a bunch of popular apps including Online Search powered by Google, Trip Advisor, Twitter and Facebook.

The system comes with a 5-inch colour display, which can handle streaming audio via Bluetooth, SiriusXM Satellite radio, hands-free text messaging assistant and iOS and Android smartphone integratio­n.

Nissan’s safety technology suite, Safety Shield, will also come to Sentra for the first time in 2016.

Forward Emergency Braking, Intelligen­t Cruise Control, Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Forward Collision Warning are all included with Safety Shield.

Powering the Sentra is a carryover 1.8-litre 4-cylinder engine (130 hp/128 lb.-ft.) mated to either a sixspeed manual transmissi­on or CVT.

The 2016 Sentra is due to begin arriving in Canadian dealership­s early next year. Freelance writer Lee Bailie is a regular contributo­r to Toronto Star Wheels. Travel and other expenses for this story were paid for by Nissan. To reach him, please email and put his name in the subject line.

Sentra will offer a bunch of apps, such as online search powered by Google, Trip Advisor, Twitter and Facebook

 ?? LEE BAILIE FOR THE TORONTO STAR ?? In North America, the 2017 Infiniti QX30 will be powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharg­ed 4-cylinder engine producing 208 horsepower. Built on the A-Class platform of Mercedes-Benz, the QX30 is slated to go on sale in mid-2016.
LEE BAILIE FOR THE TORONTO STAR In North America, the 2017 Infiniti QX30 will be powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharg­ed 4-cylinder engine producing 208 horsepower. Built on the A-Class platform of Mercedes-Benz, the QX30 is slated to go on sale in mid-2016.

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