The rhythmic ticking of the hazard-lights switch offered little comfort as I nervously performed yet another 360-degree inspection of my surroundings to ensure I was completely alone parked in my narrow road. I felt my heart rate increase as I reached over and felt for the glovebox latch, my eyes still constantly scanning my mirrors. I quickly found what I was looking for in the compartment and pulled it out in one easy movement, leaving it resting on the passenger seat. Pretending it wasn’t within plain sight, I gave one more nonchalant look out of the side window, making as though I was simply passing the time, before quickly looking back at the package now laid bare on the leather upholstery. This was it. The moment couldn’t wait any longer for fear of getting caught – and judged. Against all my manly instincts, and everything that my father had taught me, I leaned over and opened the instruction manual!
While I have no intention of making it a habit, I did actually garner some valuable information out of this particular owner’s manual. The section I was particularly interested was the standard Around View Monitor system fitted to my new Infiniti FX30d S Premium long-term car. And, as it turns out, one of the only concerns I had going into my forthcoming 12-month ownership experience with the largest of the recently introduced Infiniti range has since been laid to rest by the standard fitment (and the understanding of how it works) of this very clever camera system. Until discovering the true potential of this system, the prospect of trying to get through a whole year without scuffing the standard 21-inch alloy wheels or removing some of the Moonlight White paint finish off the FX looked a decidedly more daunting one. Of course, I may have just jinxed myself, but here’s hoping…
Two weeks in and the question that I’ve fielded most often from curious bystanders is, “What is it?” For most part, this reaction has been a positive one though and people seem genuinely interested in the story behind this new (to anyone outside of the US) badge and unconventional styling. Actually, the lines of the FX, although a few years into its model cycle Stateside, seems to be fresh enough to remain relevant and interesting in the new markets that Infiniti finds itself in. The FX in particular somehow doesn’t seem as foreign to our market when parked alongside its cousin, the Nissan Juke.
I have been enjoying the seat-cooling function on the electrically adjustable driver’s seat and have managed to set my ideal driving position into the memory settings (without consulting the owner’s manual). I’m relieved to note that the standard (very audible) lane-change warning system on the vehicle has been set to a default “off” setting, contrary to the test units I drove a few months ago.
Despite the low-profile rubber fitted to the FX, the ride remains surprisingly compliant. I have yet to test the sport setting on the adjustable suspension, but have been impressed with how sure-footed and planted the car feels on the road. While other large SUVs surprise with how well they manage mid-corner body roll, everything about the FX’s low and wide stance indicates that it will remain planted while pushing on.
There are a few reasons I’m happy that my FX30d is fitted with the V9X V6 diesel engine, not least the fact that it’s an impressively refined and smooth unit. The fact that it offers 550 N.m of torque at 1 750 r/min is an obvious bonus come overtaking time, but arguably the biggest advantage of this powertrain is its relatively frugality. While I’ve averaged 12,0 L/100 km getting to know this engine’s daily-commute characteristics, I’m looking forward to recording figures closer to the claimed 9,0 L/100 km. The 90-litre fuel tank (together with standard adaptive cruise control) is an added bonus when planning longer trips.
I’m also looking forward to the opening of the first two Infiniti dealerships in Cape Town (with another planned for Durban) if only to see a few more Infiniti models on the road.
Mileage on arrival: 1 895 km
Mileage now: 2 425 km
Fuel consumption: 12,0 L/100 km