Although a friend compared its appearance to a platypus and the boot is more terrier than flatcoat, Charlie Flindt is smitten.
For a car that can fit a flatcoat in the boot see Charlie Flindt’s review of the Dacia Duster Commercial.
INFINITI QX70 ULTIMATE
I’VE never really got my head round the concept of a car company having a “premium” section, making cars that are better and more luxurious than the standard products. Toyota does it with Lexus and Nissan has Infiniti. It seems to suggest that the basic name is not worthy of the finest machines. And then there’s the concept of the SUV. As a farmer, I’m duty bound to scoff at them and their drivers.
Along comes the Infiniti QX70 Ultimate, however, and I find myself smitten. It wasn’t the “luxury” stuff that won me over at all, it was the basics. Access, for instance, is brilliant, thanks to the SUV shape, and headroom is plentiful – even with the sunroof. I love the ergonomics: the dials are simple and perfectly visible, and most of the knobs and dials fall easily to hand. There’s a small cluster sitting awkwardly down near the right knee but we’ll let Infiniti off that one. Electronic parking brakes are the spawn of the devil, so it was nice to find a mechanical one, even if it was the Mercedes Benz-style “stamp on, stamp off” operated by the left foot. The tiny rear-view mirror is the only serious blot on the ergonomic landscape, though huge door mirrors compensate.
The QX70’s external styling is a bit odd. A neighbouring farmer, his critical skills honed by a couple of local pints, likened it to a duck-billed platypus – which may be a bit harsh – but he had a point. It’s as if the designers in charge of the top half were told the car was 14ft long, the bottom half boys were told 16ft. The windscreen ends up sitting unfashionably far back. The upside for the driver is a lovely long bonnet to look at.
Something went a bit wrong with the spec for the boot, too. It’s tiny; forget plans to load up flatcoats and two pairs of 12-bores – there’s room for a couple of folding .410s and a terrier only. Mind you, on about page 200 of the 300-page handbook it says quite clearly: this is not an off-roader.
The driving experience is unusual, too. The V6 diesel is gruff and a bit leaden to start with but goes a lot better after a couple of minutes – not unlike my tractor. The steering seems occasionally to have a life of its own, sometimes reluctant, sometimes arguing, and sometimes fighting back. It’s enough to discourage any plans to throw the QX70 into bends overexuberantly.
But this suits the QX70’s image perfectly. It’s not brash or show-off, it’s quite subtle – look at the lack of gleaming, shiny chrome. It’s unusual in lots of departments but there’s an unmistakable feel of quality and high-class assembly. Inspect (when no-one’s looking) the purple stitching on the black leather seats. It’s beautiful.
In many ways, the QX70 is honest. It doesn’t claim to be an off-roader. It’s a slightly odd-looking tourer with four-wheel drive. What it has got, by the bucket load, is charisma and no-one, not even the grumpiest farmer, will scoff at that.
INFINITI QX70 ULTIMATE
Engine: 2,933cc V6 diesel
Max speed: 132mph
Performance: 0 to 62: 8.3 seconds
Combined fuel economy: 32.8mpg
Insurance group: 48E
Would suit: posh poachers