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Infiniti FX30d GT Premium review (2011 onwards)
Do you want a posh 4x4? Does the thought of adding yet another Audi, BMW, Range Rover, Merc or Porsche to the roads make you feel queasy? Do you wonder if the people who buy these cars lack imagination?
If so, it sounds like you need to visit an Infiniti dealership, and in particular try out the FX range, the large, luxurious off-roader from Nissan's premium brand.
By far the biggest seller is the FX30d, the first Infiniti to drink from the black pump, and the most sensible for the health of your finances, too.
Stylish, rare and good to drive, is there any reason why this leftfield choice shouldn't make it onto your driveway?
Where does it fit?
Infiniti is a relative newcomer to the UK and has only been trading here for three years, though if you went stateside you'd see plenty.
Within the range, the FX is the biggest-seller and also the most expensive, with a smaller 4x4, a sports-coupé and a saloon ensuring that the key luxury bases are covered.
Rivals include the Porsche Cayenne, Audi Q7, Range Rover Sport and BMW X6. Prices for the FX30d start at £46,093.
Is it for you?
If you're thoroughly bored with all the above cars and want something that will stand out, the FX will do it. It's a fantastic looking car, aggressive but stylish, large yet compact inside, sporting but comfortable.
What does it do well?
What surprises most about a car weighing more than two tonnes is how agile it feels. Two different trims are available - S and GT - with S focusing on a sportier chassis set-up.
Even so, the GT (which we tested) does a fine job of keeping the body in check through corners. If the steering was sharper, it would actually feel sports car-like.
As for engines, the thumping diesel is definitely the one to go for. A puny 235hp is off-set with 405lb/ft of torque and means this car doesn't hang about. Sixty might sound slow at 8.3 seconds, but the pace through the gears isn't. Driven hard, though, the engine can sound gruff.
What doesn't it do well?
The seven-speed automatic gearbox detracts from what would otherwise be an enjoyable drive. The shifts are clunky and, when using the paddles, it doesn't change gear when you want it to, the gearbox deciding when it wants to change up or down and filling the cabin with beeps if you try changing too early.
The ride quality isn't great either, the large wheels picking out surface imperfections and transferring them through to the cabin. And on Britain's poor roads, this means an unsettled, jiggly ride most of the time.
What's it like to live with?
Despite its colossal size, the FX is actually very compact inside. The roofline, which slopes off at the rear like a coupé's, means headroom isn't generous for tall passengers, while the front feels tight because of the chunky transmission tunnel and the large dash.
The boot isn't huge either, providing only 410 litres with the rear seats up (this extends to 1,305 litres with them folded). A Range Rover Sport by comparison has 958 litres of space with the seats up and a BMW has X6 570 litres.
How green is it?
The FX30d is by far the cleanest and most efficient car in the FX range, but that doesn't make it green.
This engine still likes a drink, averaging 31.4mpg and dropping to 25mpg around town. Emissions of 238g/km are behind the Audi and BMW rivals, which come in under 200g/km. This means company car drivers will pay more for the privilege of being different.
Would we buy it?
For looks alone, the FX30d is a commendable car. Better still, it lives up to the funky, sporty styling on the road. If you want a break from the monotonous norm in a classy, entertaining and comfortable SUV, this car is worth checking out, but it isn't as efficient, clean or good to drive as a BMW X6.
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