Infiniti EX30d first drive

* Diesel power for Infinitis smallest 4x4 * On sale now from £36 to £41,220 * 33.2mpg and CO2 of 224g/km...

Infiniti EX30d first drive

Buzz Lightyear might have wanted to go To infinity and beyond, but Infinitis sales are light years behind most premium rivals.

It was never going to be easy for a newcomer to tempt UK car buyers away from brands such as Audi and BMW, and Infiniti didnt help itself by launching with a range powered exclusively by gas-guzzling petrol engines. However, it recently increased the appeal of its FX 4x4 by adding a diesel to the line-up, and this is now available in the more affordable EX as well.

Whopping torque

The 3.0-litre engine produces 235bhp and a whopping 406lb ft of torque, so it can shift the EXs considerable bulk smoothly and swiftly. True, the engine sends some vibrations through the drivers seat at idle and is a little gruff until its warm, but on the move its hard to fault.

Infiniti expects 80% of EX buyers to choose the diesel model, and its easy to see why because it carries only a tiny premium over the petrol and averages an extra 7mpg. That said, its fuel economy still falls some way short of most rivals and CO2 emissions of 224g/km put it in the top band for company car tax.

Good to drive, tiny boot

The EXs limited rear space and tiny boot also count against it, but its pretty good to drive. Although it runs out of grip a little early in the wet, the steering is nicely weighted and the suspension strikes a good balance between ride comfort and body control.

Prices are competitive, too, and every EX comes with electrically adjustable seats, keyless entry and start-up, a decent stereo and Bluetooth. Upgrading to GT spec brings leather upholstery and heated front seats, while range-topping Premium cars add satellite-navigation, adaptive cruise control and a lane-departure prevention system. Now thats what we call a toy story.

What Car? says

If youre tempted by the EX, this is the one to have