The Sunday Times Driving Placeholder
Newcomer Infiniti is going to have to do a lot better if it’s to win over UK customers.
Pros
It looks different
It's reliable
Generous equipment levels
Cons
Expensive
Thirsty
Likely to depreciate greatly

Infiniti EX review (2010-on)

This posh SUV is too thirsty

More Info

What is it?

Spotting an Infiniti EX on a British road is a bit like coming across a red squirrel in London. In other words, this Infiniti has rarity bordering on extinction. It is, though, competing in the popular “posh SUV” category against rivals such as the Audi Q5, BMW X3, Range Rover Evoque and Volvo XC60.

Is the EX model worth getting to know? Possibly not if you want to do more than just stand out from the crowd. Because beyond its distinctive styling, this is actually a flawed car with thirsty engines that cost a lot to run and tax — whether privately or through a company car scheme.

Given all of that, the pick of the range has to be the turbodiesel engine — the petrol motor will struggle to break out of the low and ideally the mid-spec GT trim which comes with almost every item of equipment you could possibly need. This isn’t a cheap car — £41,410 — and depreciation will be a shock to the system when the time comes to sell it in three or four years.

The drive

The EX’s roadholding is nothing to write home about. A BMW X3 or Range Rover Evoque set the benchmark for driving enjoyment, with both proving genuinely nimble and precise handling, whereas the EX feels a little vague and the steering lacks feedback. Its four-wheel-drive system has a rearward bias, which helps avoid a nose-heavy stance, and there’s a respectable amount of grip.

As the sporty styling and low ride height suggest, this isn’t a car for serious all-terrain action. At best, wet slipways or parking in the golf club’s overspill grass car park on a wet day are within the EX’s comfort zone. The ride comfort is a little stiff, meaning broken road surfaces are felt by all on board.

The diesel engine offers respectable, if not class-leading performance. It will power the EX from standstill to 62mph in 7.9 seconds, and offers a good spread of pulling power from just 1750rpm. It works well with a seven-speed automatic transmission that features the choice of using paddle shifts. However, the engine could be quieter in operation.

The biggest failing though, of both the diesel and the petrol, is that they are extremely thirsty and dirty. Fuel economy of 33.2mpg is poor. The comparable BMW X3 xDrive 30d SE auto manages 47.1mpg — and where the Infiniti emits 224g/km of CO2, the BMW’s emissions are just 159g/km.

The interior


 

Even if an SUV isn’t that great to drive off-road, it can usually redeem itself by offering a practical, comfortable cabin. But not the EX. The dashboard looks like something from the late 1990s, with bland design that we thought the Japanese had left behind a decade ago; apparently not.

Then there’s the issue of space. The driving position feels too high in relation to the dashboard and there isn’t enough range of adjustment. Climb into the back and you’ll be shocked at how little legroom this family car offers. Think that’s bad? Then try the boot — a frankly terrible 340 litres of luggage capacity, compared with the BMW X3’s 550 litres.

What to look out for

Although it’s rare in Britain, the EX is largely based on proven Nissan mechanicals, and it has been thoroughly tried and tested in the US; it appears to be well built and dependable, and owners have rated it highly in customer satisfaction surveys. The earlier EX35 was recalled in the US for faulty airbag sensors and trailer hitches that could pull away from the bumper, but these problems have been fixed for European-market cars. There are few specialist Infiniti service centres in the UK, but as long as you’re within 150 miles of one of the six now open, a high level of personal service is promised.

The One to Buy

Infiniti EX30d GT

Factfile

Engine:
2993cc, V6, turbo diesel
Power:
235bhp @ 3750rpm
Torque:
405 lb ft @ 1750rpm
Transmission:
7-speed automatic
Acceleration:
0-62mph in 7.9ec
Top Speed:
137mph
Fuel
33.2mpg
CO2:
224g/km
Road Tax Band:
K
Dimensions:
L 4645mm, W 1800mm, H 1600mm

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