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Infiniti EX30d: final report
Model: Infiniti EX30d
On fleet since: December 2011
Total mileage: 13,396
Official combined mpg/CO2: 33.2mpg / 224g/km
Actual mpg: 27.5
Pros: comfort, performance, rarity, loaded as standard
Cons: cream interior, fuel economy, price
What was great about it?
I'll admit it. The first couple of times I drove the Infiniti EX30d I just didn't gel with it. I hated the cream interior - still do - thought the gearbox was sluggish, the steering vaguer than a politician on Question Time and the fuel economy ridiculous to the point of hilarity.
But a month or so in I began to develop a deep admiration for the Infiniti SUV. Comfort is my number one priority for the daily commute, an 80-mile round trip into the capital, via fast-moving motorway, rush-hour standstills and the mean streets of London where courtesy is replaced by a culture of cutting-up.
From the raised, sofa-soft seats of the EX, however, behind the double-glazed windows and with an entertainment system to rival a stylish penthouse, I could genuinely relax before and after a hard day at the office. Drop the gearlever into 'drive', tune in my favourite radio station, hook up my iPhone or catch up with friends and family using the excellent built-in Bluteooth handsfree system. It was a proper exec express. Just a pity I don't fit the exec part.
With a 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel, pushing out 238hp at 3,750rpm, it had the muscle to nip through traffic if I so desired or overtake dawdlers on multiple-lane roads. Four-wheel-drive capability meant I wasn't stranded during our brief snow snap either and, while I wouldn't want to take the low-riding EX off-road, it would cover a muddy field with ease.
In its first few weeks it was pitched against the Range Rover Evoque, the must-have car of the year, and my colleague Steve and I both came away hugely impressed with the EX's driving talent against such serious competition. The Evoque felt very 4x4-like, with a high-set driving position, a gruff diesel engine and poor visibility, to the Infiniti's car-like composure. In this respect, it feels more like a crossover than a full-blown SUV, a bit like a posh Nissan Qashqai. You'll either love this aspect or hate it.
Infiniti EX30d v Range Rover Evoque
The EX's practicality also came to the fore soon after when it was called up to serve as camera car on two video shoots, the first with an Aston Martin Virage on the south coast, and the second as a tracking car for our test of the McLaren MP4-12C at Bruntingthorpe.
What wasn't so great?
This is where the EX's foibles surfaced. The video team complained that the boot opening was too small, so it was difficult to extend a tripod in the back, and the suspension was too firm for the admittedly bumpy surface at Brunters, resulting in shaky footage.
I personally didn't encounter such problems myself, though I had concerns about interior space. For instance, my other half wanted me to take an old bed base to the tip. I said it wouldn't fit in my car. She said she didn't want it in the house any longer. To avoid an argument, I carried it out to the car, expecting to return with a smug 'I told you so'. Sadly - or not for the valour of the Infiniti - she won that round. The base slid straight in like the two were destined to one day fulfil that very task.
Getting back to the cream interior, after months of general wear and tear, the driver's seat was beginning to stain from the dye in my jeans, a stain so stubborn it wouldn't budge no matter how hard I scrubbed. If it was my £46k - yes, that's another pinch point - I would spec black leather upholstery.
Was it expensive to run?
The EX30d is expensive to buy, with our example coming in at £45,898 - that included £628 for a Bose surround sound system, the only optional extra on our test car. For the same cash you could buy a BMW X5 or a Mercedes ML, but where the Infiniti steals an advantage is in the amount of kit you get as standard. Speccing up a similar German SUV would take you over £50k.
However, the EX loses out in the fuel economy stakes. A BMW X5 3.0 diesel will average 38.2mpg combined and as much as 42.2mpg if you're as gentle on the throttle pedal as a ballet dancer. The Infiniti's combined is 33.2mpg but rarely did I make it over thirty thanks to London traffic. That meant a weekly fuel bill of £100 a week.
Would I recommend it to you?
If you can afford the fuel bills and don't mind a diesel returning less than 30mpg, then go for it. The EX is a rare sight on UK roads, has sound residuals as most stay within the dealer network and is as comfortable as pyjamas.
What am I driving next?
I'm not straying too far from the luxury theme with my next long-termer, swapping the loftier environs of the Infiniti for the British-built purrs of the Jaguar XF 2.2 diesel.
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