Fancy an upmarket four-wheel-drive car that looks like a Mercedes-Benz, has a badge that only car enthusiasts recognise and is built in Britain?
That unlikely and intriguing combination comes courtesy of the latest product from Infiniti at its new factory in Sunderland.
The QX30 crossover, which is based on the Mercedes GLA, joins the impressive Q30 as part of a plan to grow the brand across the world.
Pitching against rival compact crossovers from the likes of BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi, the QX30's cabin is thoroughly luxurious, with a robust fit and finish and great seats that deliver a superb blend of softness and support. Dash design is clean and crisp, with clear and easy-to-read instrumentation.
Smooth around town and quiet at speed, the steering is weightier than the Q30 and while it has less feel, it rather suits the rather more macho style of the vehicle.
And despite the increased ride height, the body does not lean much, even when being driven spiritedly on country roads.
Compared to the Q30, the QX30’s chassis has been adapted with its own unique settings for a comfortable ride and confident handling in spite of its elevated ride height and ground clearance.
Its springs and rear anti-roll bar are stiffer, continuing the engineers’ efforts to ensure a flat ride. While the slightly firmer suspension helps to counteract the effects of a higher centre of gravity, the modifications to the chassis enable QX30 to remain comfortable at all speeds and over a variety of road surfaces.
Power on the test model came from a 2.2-litre diesel, with a low-speed grumble which Infiniti has tried to reduce by using a system called Active Noise Cancellation, which emits sound waves from the door speakers to counteract the booming noise coming from the diesel.
Every model comes with an automatic gearbox, which can be operated manually by a pair of paddles mounted behind the steering wheel.
The car combines slim windows with substantial frames with the result that you have to double-check when making manoeuvres. Thankfully the test model was equipped with both front and rear parking sensors, a reversing camera and blind spot sensors, so you have several other pairs of eyes keeping watch for you.
The premium crossover segment is among the fastest-expanding markets globally, and Infiniti is keen to capture part of that.
2015 was a record-breaking year for the brand with Infiniti selling 215,250 new vehicles worldwide – an increase of 16% compared to 2014.
In Western Europe, sales went up by 45% to 7,000 vehicles. In the Middle East, customers bought more than 8,300 Infiniti vehicles in 2015, up 18% from 2014, making Infiniti one of the fastest growing brands in the region.
If you have never heard of Infiniti that is understandable, as the brand – the luxury arm of Nissan – is still relatively new to the UK, though it has been successfully selling cars in the United States for almost 30 years.
If you are looking for a small sports utility vehicle and do not want to follow the crowd then the QX30 fits the bill.
Model: Infiniti QX30 2.2D Premium Auto
Insurance group: 23
Fuel consumption (Combined): 57.6mpg
Top speed: 134mph
Luggage capacity: 15.2 cu ft
Fuel tank capacity: 12.3 gallons/56 litres
CO2 emissions: 128g/km
Warranty: Three years/60,000 miles