Muscle Bound

If you were in America or Dubai you’d be hard pressed not to see an Infiniti car or SUV at every turn or traffic light.

The brand is the luxury version of Nissan and with Toyota and Honda having their own premium brands it was a no brainer for Nissan to do the same. It was a good way of trying to steal sales away from the premium German competitors.

The cars are stylish compared to their cheaper siblings and jam-packed with equipment but the real trump card is the car’s reliability.

In the all-important JD Powers survey, the Japanese brands beat their competitors hands down. I was amazed to read Infiniti was launched back in 1989 but they were only introduced in the UK in 2009. With less than a dozen showrooms up and down the country, it’s easy to say these cars are going to be rare sights indeed.

This might change as Infiniti are about to launch the new QX30 and having seen a few artist’s images, I’d wager this car is going to be a sales success.

The best bit? It’s going to be built in Sunderland, so hopefully this means more jobs for the region.

The car I have driven is the QX70; it’s a sporty looking SUV which has a bit of a look of an X6 about it. The car really has brash and muscular styling, the bold chrome grille and low roofline help give it a very sporty look indeed. The QX70 is available in three trim levels; the base model is the GT and the range is topping premium. The car is priced from £42,000 – £54,000 and available with three engine choices. The best seller is the 3l V6 diesel engine which should return 33mpg.

When I first started up the diesel from cold it sounded quite noisy and gruff but it becomes civilised once it’s warm. For any real petrolheads there are also two petrol engines. The 3.7l V6 engine has been taken from the 370Z and a 5l V8 engine is also available. Either of these cars is going to be a real gas guzzler and most owners won’t get over 20mpg. Prepare for a first year’s road tax at an eye-watering £1000 for the first year.

All cars are fitted with a 7-speed automatic gearbox and the gear shift paddles are behind the wheel for anyone wanting a more sporty drive. The car’s stiff suspension allows cornering at speed with very little body roll at all and it feels much more car-like to drive. The rear windows are very small and the roofline is also low which impacts on rear headroom, plus the legroom is also really quite tight in the rear. The sporty styling also impacts on the boot space; with the seats up there is 410 litres of space but when you fold the seats this increases to a more useable 1305 litres of space. The boot opens automatically but it is slow to open and close. The only off-road styling cues are the roof rails, the wide wheel arches and great big 21” alloy wheels.

Despite being a four wheel drive car I wouldn’t do any serious off-roading. The lack of low range gearing and shortage of any adaptive off-road modes mean this car is more of a soft roader. Considering the car I drove had big wheels and it was quite fidgety over rough roads, yet on smooth roads it was a dream to drive.

The car has a full 5* NCAP rating thanks to the airbags dotted all over the car, the lane assist and intelligent brake assist. The lane assist bleeps if you stray across the white lines and the brake assist applies the brakes if it senses a potential crash. In my opinion the buttons and switchgear look a bit cheap compared to the VW Toureg or the BMW X6 but the switchgear has mostly come direct from Nissan. The Sat Nav is standard on the Premium S and the graphics were a bit outdated but the speed camera alert was very handy indeed.

I really liked the Bentley-style diamond quilted stitched leather, but the plastic around the dash looks very cheap indeed. My range topping model was fully loaded with equipment from privacy glass to the sunroof and intelligent cruise control and Bose speakers but the best bit was the self repairing paint, I was tempted to give it a try to see if it worked but I resisted.

If you’re looking for something different then the QX70 definitely fits the bill; I would get down to our local Infiniti garage at the Silverlink, before everyone finds out and they become as common as Audis.

Car courtesy of Infiniti Newcastle |