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Driven: Infiniti’s QX30 cruises in

Sibling rivalry: More ground clearance and four-wheel drive is enough to separate the new QX30 from the more hatchback-like Q30 says Infiniti.

Genetically similar Q30 and QX30 crossovers to target different Infiniti customers

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Infiniti logo23 Sep 2016

INFINITI’S second small crossover – the QX30 – has arrived on Australian turf priced from $48,900 before on-road costs, but despite close mechanical and aesthetic similarities to the Q30 that arrived in August, the car-maker says the range can accommodate both models.

While the Q30 is offered in five different variants from under $40,000, the new QX30 is positioned towards the luxury end of the segment with two versions that more closely align with the mid-range Q30, and they are aimed at buyers looking for more off-road capability and comfort.

Speaking at the launch of the new premium crossover, Infiniti Australia managing director Jean-Philippe Roux told GoAuto that the company had chosen a different strategy to the United States, where all versions of the car are sold as QX30.

“Yes we could have launched with QX30 only but I think we were very confident that the products are different enough so that from a customer perspective these were two very different offerings in the market so that people can make a choice,” he said.

While the Q30 offers a more affordable entry point and a front-drive chassis tuned for sportier characteristics, the QX30 has a boosted ride height and four-wheel drive for increased go-anywhere potential – a clear differentiation, according to Mr Roux.

“It’s still early days but we are looking at where the segment is growing and there is already quite a strong demand for premium crossovers. Small SUV over $40,000 is one of the fastest growing in the segment so I think if we are clear on what each car is doing – one is more sport experience, the other is more comfort experience – we think there will be enough volume for those two.” While the two models serve different purposes in the Japanese luxury line-up, Mr Roux explained that they are united in one role to build the appeal of the brand and uphold the philosophy of accessible luxury.

“They have two different roles in the range. Crossovers are attracting very different sets of customers. The role of the 1.6 GT (Q30) is more looking to attract upgraders – people who are willing to have first access to a premium brand who are maybe with a mainstream brand … whereas the medium and top-spec are more for premium customers who are currently with a different premium brand.

“As for the definition, the 1.6-litre GT being an entry grade has a lot (standard equipment) compared to the competition.

“This is very much the philosophy across all the range where there is a very limited number of options and a lot of equipment. It’s more choice for our customers.” Unlike its crossover cousin which is offered with a choice of three engines, the QX30 is available only with a 2.0-litre turbo petrol that produces 155kW and 350Nm of torque. Fuel consumption is rated at 6.9L/100km, while producing 159g of CO2 per kilometre.

Both entry-level GT and higher-spec Premium variants are equipped with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, which sends power to all four wheels for more ability on unsealed surfaces.

The QX30’s off-road ability is further improved compared with Q30 with a 30mm boosted ride height for greater ground clearance, while the go-anywhere promise is enhanced with a number of aesthetic tweaks such as matte exterior trims replacing the gloss Q30 items and a different 18-inch wheel design.

Standard roof bars take the overall height up another 5mm to 1530mm, while all other exterior dimensions align with the Q30’s 4425mm length, 1815mm width and 2700mm wheelbase.

One of Infiniti’s key sales propositions is that the QX30 is not only competitively priced compared with other compact SUVs at the premium end, but both GT and Premium variants have only metallic paint as a $1200 option and all other equipment is included in the asking price.

Mercedes’ equivalent GLA250 4Matic kicks off at $59,900 before options and on-road costs, as does the BMW X1 xDrive25i, while the Audi Q3 2.0 TFSI quattro Sport costs $52,900 and Lexus weighs in with its NX200t AWD Luxury at $58,140.

Standard fare for the base QX30 GT includes all-LED exterior lighting, a headlight cornering function and automatic on/off with main-beam assistance, satin silver roof rails, black mirror caps, dual rectangular exhaust and roof spoiler.

Inside, the GT gets a cloth interior with a different seat design compared with the Q30, with black lacquer inserts for the dashboard and door panels, leather for the steering wheel and gear selector, while the gauge cluster is upholstered.

The 430-litre boot can be expanded into the second-row seating with 60/40 split folding rear seats and a 12-volt power socket is provided for both front and rear passengers as well as the boot area. Keyless entry, rain-sensing wipers, remote window opening, front-row map-reading lights, are all standard fare.

Infotainment features are centred around the Infiniti In Touch 7.0-inch touchscreen, which is also accessible with a centre controller and shortcut keys. Both variants have navigation with live traffic information, In Touch applications, Bluetooth and USB connectivity and a Bose 10-speaker sound system.

A rich selection of safety systems are included as standard range-wide including seatbelt reminders for all spots, seven airbags, Isofix seat anchors, cruise control, brake force distribution (EBD), forward collision warning and tyre pressure monitoring.

Stepping up to the Premium QX30 adds a number of interior enhancements such as a glass roof with blind, electrically heated and adjustable front seats with memory and leather upholstery throughout, a synthetic suede roof-liner and wood dashboard and door trims.

Rear passengers get more comfort features including separated climate control, a fold-down armrest with cupholders and ski hatch, ambient lighting in the foot wells, door handles and front cupholders as well as reading lights for the second row.

Top-spec QX30s also get a handful of driver assistance kit with blind-spot monitoring, autonomous braking, reversing camera with parking sensors all-round, parking assistance and traffic sign recognition.

Obsidian Black is the only standard exterior colour with seven optional metallic hues, GT interiors are Light Grey Tricot as standard, while the Premium is available in Graphite, Beige or Brown Nappa leather with matching roof-liner.

Infiniti offers a four-year or 100,000km warranty. The accompanying roadside assistance covers the customer and not the car says Infiniti, and customers can request help even when driving a different brand of vehicle once a year.

2016 Infiniti QX30 pricing*
GT (a) $48,900
Premium (a) $56,900
*Excludes on-road costs

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