New premium SUV pushes sporty focus
With this EX compact SUV, Infiniti is eschewing the lower-end compact-SUV/crossover space for a more traditional flavour, albeit with a very modern skin. Which is in keeping with the objectives of the brand, leaving the more mainstream offerings to its more workmanlike parent brand Nissan to take care of while it chases the fatter wallets of bigger earners.
Speaking of that exterior, although it looks very unique to our SA eyes, it in fact sticks closely to what in markets more accustomed to the brand would be easily-recognisable Infiniti brand identity. Particularly that face, with its complex headlight units, gaping Infiniti grille and prominent hood hinting at more than adequate propulsion.
From the side and the rear it settles down to somewhat more conventional compact SUV looks, although the low roofline, tapered rear end and distinctive wedge shape continue to make athletic promises.
Fortunately it’s also endowed with the engines to support this feisty appearance. The EX lands here with just two engine options, either the impressive 3-litre turbodiesel also found in decidedly pricey Nissan SUV offerings or the 3.7-litre naturally aspirated petrol V6 from the 370Z sports car can be selected.
Driving an electronic AWD setup through the standard Infiniti 7-speed automatic transmission, these power plants result in 0-100km/h sprint times of 7.9s and 6.4s respectively, comprehensively proving that all that twaddle about torque being the key to quick acceleration results to be nothing more than a marketing lie designed to move diesel technology. After all the turbodiesel churns out a mammoth 550Nm, compared to just 360Nm for the larger petrol-engined unit. Power on the other hand is 175kW and 230kW respectively, proving once and for all that it’s power that produces scintillating performance, end of.
Naturally you pay quite significantly for the privilege, and I’m impressed to find Infiniti quoting an eminently believable 11.3l/100km on the official combined cycle – most manufacturers these days would have massaged and lied and coerced that figure down closer to the 10l/100km mark. Still experience from the smaller, lighter, RWD Nissan sportscar suggests that even this figure is a touch conservative, but at least it isn’t just blatant nonsense being spewed so the consumer knows to expect a car which knows how to drink.
That’s without even looking in to the purchase price of course, which being a premium market product is fairly hefty. The Infiniti EX range starts at R595 000 for the entry-level 30d, with the cheapest petrol-powered EX being the mid-spec GT Grade at R626 000. Incidentally getting the slower diesel in this spec will set you back yet another R10K, an upfront cost which will be amortised by lower fuel consumption over the course of about 3 years. High-spec GT Premium models are R667 406 for the petrol, and R677 276.
Unlike the German counterparts however, that money buys you just about everything that exists on the Infiniti options list. Honestly, even the entry-level model is pretty lavish, but the GT Premium is positively over endowed with luxury gadgets and features. Notable features compared to lower spec models include electric seat and steering wheel adjustment, an uprated ICE setup with 30GB MusicBox, and 19″ alloy rims, although the standard features already included in Standard or GT Grades is already too lengthy to include all the details of here.
The EX also includes one unique practicality USP – the each section of the split-folding rear seats can be raised and lowered by the press of a button rather than the usually quite challenging process which 99% of the SUVs on the market today still rely on.
The price also includes a 3-year 100 000km warranty and roadside assistance for the same period as well as a 5-year 100 000kms maintenance plan.
Pricing: EX30d (Standard) R595 000
EX37 (GT) R626 000, EX30d (GT) R635 870.
EX37 (GT Premium) R667 406, EX30d (GT Premium) R677 276.
Photos courtesy of Infiniti SA via Quickpic.co.za.
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