Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Luxury car maker wants to be comfortably ahead

Luxury car maker wants to be comfortably ahead

IT was good to see that Infiniti upgraded the specifications of both its Q30 and QX30 models for 2018.

I am inordinately fond of the Infiniti as a brand as it appeals to my sense of tradition in car production. The Infiniti delivers when it comes to my own preference of actually — and honestly — being able to say that I am comfortable in a car.

Obvious, maybe, but some cars no matter how much you try you cannot quite feel comfortable in. For me, the Infiniti is always the exception. This is no accident, but more of that later.

Infiniti, by the way, is always a make of car that everyone quizzes me about. Who makes it, is the usual question. My explanation is that Infiniti is the luxury arm of Nissan.

So for the above reasons I was glad to get behind the wheel of this “premium active crossover” — the Infiniti QX30 — this week.

We all know that concept cars when they turn up at the world’s motor shows are often watered down in design when and if they reach the production line.

However, the original QX30 concept, when it made its international debut at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, successfully combined the sleek lines of a coupe with the high-command stance of an all-wheel-drive crossover.

To be fair to Infiniti, its design-led approach to product development meant that the production version of the QX30 retained these attributes.

So for 2018 and beyond the QX30 will only feature in Luxe and Luxe Tech grades but offers design updates with optional 19in resurfaced, five double spokes light alloy wheels, contributing to a more commanding look.

Now we get to the comfort bit. The car maker says: “The most premium materials and processes available have been selected by Infiniti designers in order to create a modern-looking and luxurious cabin.”

The standard interior is finished in high quality black cloth, while there is optional black or beige leather for a more premium finish.

Refinement and comfort is also aimed at being a core appeal of the QX30’s interior.

This is palpable but Infiniti spells it out as follows: “Comfort is guaranteed thanks to an advanced seat design, which makes use of Infiniti’s advanced ‘spinal support’ research.”

As such, the seat backs have been “carefully engineered to match the curvature of the spine, providing consistent spinal support by more equally distributing load across the seat to minimise pressure on back muscles”. Meanwhile, a wider fitting shape and soft seat cushion also provides enhanced support.

Tests carried out by Infiniti engineers claim that the QX30 seat “provides greater levels of support and comfort than rivals, reducing driver fatigue on longer journeys”.

And that is why in the comfort zone, the QX30 gets my vote. It is also quiet in the cabin.

Infiniti says this “supreme interior quietness” adds to cabin comfort, with some of the lowest noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) levels in the premium compact segment.

The extensive application of sound-absorbent materials, says Infiniti, reduces the intrusion of wind, road and unwanted engine noise into the cabin.

Quietness in the cabin is further aided by Active Noise Cancellation, which emits sound waves from the door speakers to negate any instances of booming noise emanating from the diesel powertrain.

You see, this kind of attention to detail on comfort is apparent to drivers such as myself that do in any one year drive a lot of cars.

The QX30 also has the power to perform. It comes equipped with an intelligent all-wheel-drive system.

The drivetrain is able to send up to 50 per cent of the engine’s power and torque (pulling power) to the rear axle to maintain traction on slippery surfaces. In bad weather, this “enhances a feeling of control and confidence when driving”.

Another standard feature is the availability of a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission system. The dual-clutch intelligently pre-selects gears so the next shift is always ready to go, while manual mode lets the driver control gear changes when desired

The Q30 entry grade is now called Pure (previously it was the SE) and comes equipped with standard features such as forward collision avoidance, automatic headlamps, LED running lamps, Bluetooth audio streaming and multi-function leather steering wheel.

Customers who want to choose a more complete package can either go in the comfort direction, called Luxe, or into sporty models, dubbed Sport. Both grades offer more engine choices, along with InTouch navigation, 18in (Luxe) and 19in (Sport) alloy wheels, dual rectangular chrome exhaust finishers and lane departure warning as standard features.

In both cases, Luxe Tech or Sport Tech provides upgraded technology with DAB radio, intelligent cruise control and blind spot warning.

Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection help parking: auto park uses its 12 sensors to measure the dimensions of the parking spot and help steer the vehicle into it where the driver only needs to apply the accelerator and brakes.

Both Q30 and QX30 offer a set of connected services, such as InTouch Tracking to track the car in case it was stolen, and My Car Finder to see the whereabouts of the car on a map and provide a route back to its location.

Words: Nigel Wigmore

Factfile

Infiniti QX30 2.2D Luxe Tech

Price with options: £36,530

Options fitted on test car:

Glass pack comprising glass roof with electric sunshades, privacy glass for rear windows and tailgate (£720)

19in resurfaced light alloy wheels with five double-spokes (£700)

Metallic paint (£670)

Combined mpg: 52.3 mpg

CO2 emissions (g/km): 143

Motoring

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