The Maserati Levante, the Italian brand’s first crossover SUV, expands its sportscar offering with two models designed to take you anywhere
Infiniti is aiming high and pulling no punches with the QX30 — its sporty-looking SUV crossover aimed at the millennial market
Targeted at the millennial for an entry-level premium-luxury vehicle, it’s aiming to tackle the luxury sector crossovers: namely the Mercedes GLA, the BMW M2, Audi’s Q2 and even the Mini Cooper Countryman.
“It’s a direct challenge to the luxury vehicles in this SUV-crossover segment,” Karsten Jankowski, Infiniti’s Middle East Marketing Manager told Debonair at a lifestyle media event where we got to take the QX30 out for a spin.
The first thing to note is that the QX30 is a stunning looking car.
With a low-profile sporty chassis and the striking colour pallet that the brand has chosen to accentuate its lines — from Midnight Blue to the Rusted Orange — are a clear indication that this is a car aimed at the glitzy-seeking millennial; those that love to spend as much time posing in front of the car for Instagram (#forthegram), as they do inside it behind the wheel.
At 20mm shorter than the Q30, the slightly lower profile really suits the vehicle. It doesn’t, to my mind, look like someone “took an Infiniti and sat on it,” as one observer at the Infiniti suggested. It’s exterior, replete with produces a sleek and smooth looking city car on the eye.
Blind Spot Warning
The next feature that cries out for attention is the comfort it offers the driver. Based on the same platform as the Mercedes GLA, the QX30 is a really comfortable drive. Taking it for a spin on Sheikh Zayed Road (being billed as a city car, the Infiniti event took us around the oft-used roads of the UAE), it was comfortable to the point of feeling like a backseat driver.
With that in mind, it’s worth pointing out that the adaptive cruise control, and blind spot warning (BSW) system Infiniti have installed on this model is excellent — remembering that it shares the Mercedes platform.
Finlay & Co
There were points in the drive when, having set your preferable distance from the car in front, the QX30 would respond to the slowing car in front before you realized you needed to — a real fillip for the vehicle considering the technology deployed on comparable vehicles is not as sharp, yet.
Similarly, while BSW is surprisingly not available on all luxury SUV-crossovers yet, this tech spec on the QX30 is a real bonus — especially considering the number of drivers out here that will egregiously appear in your blind spots out of nowhere.
The SUV crossover market challenge
However, there is one point of debate for me. Being pegged as a city car, it’s not the easiest to manoeuvre around multi-story car parks, ever-congested mall lanes, and perhaps most notably during rush hour traffic, nipping out of lanes at infuriating standstills into a nearby gap is not the zippy, easy operation you get with the QX30’s competitors.
At times it can feel a little chunkier and heftier to steer around the road in comparison to other SUV crossovers that we’ve driven. Which suggests that this is more of a long, open road, sit-back-and-let-machine-do-the-work-for-you ride.
The immediate riposte to this is the QX30’s sports mode. Where some vehicle’s sports mode leaves you wondering whether you’ve actually changed any operating mode at all, the QX30’s racier mode leave you in no doubt, and it’s drastically improved acceleration really helps pull out of slow moving traffic with ease and speed. Just be sure to temper the amount of time you leave sports mode on for — there’s marked difference in fuel consumption from the eco-mode, obviously.
One of the problems Infiniti faces, despite this being really comfortable car and visually stunning, is that the SUV crossover sector is quickly becoming a densely populated field full of high-flying players with well-established and sector-leading vehicles.
Yes, this is a car well worth consideration for a well-to-do Millennial’s first car and, by extension, anyone looking for an entry level SUV crossover. But whether you’d choose the QX30 over a BMW X2 or Audi Q2 is a topic open to much debate, and will ultimately come down to budget and aesthetic preference (which the QX30, as I’ve already emphasised, scores very highly on). The thing that swings this debate in Infiniti’s favour is its favourable price point: especially for the top of the range 2-litre TDI Luxe Sensory QX30.