And just like that, it’s almost two years since Infiniti, Nissan’s luxury brand, called it quits in Europe, faced with infeasible costs for securing continued regulatory compliance in a market on which it had never truly left its mark.
It wasn’t the first brand to shuffle quietly away from Europe to seek its fortune in the US or Asia – and with Mitsubishi teetering on the brink of a similar fate, it looks certain not to be the last. It’s a shame, in any case, because it was one of very few brands that might be considered by a prospective buyer in the premium segment who was determined to own something that didn’t hail from Stuttgart, Munich or Ingolstadt.
We’ll take the QX70 (née FX) as an example. Here was a not-unattractive compact SUV in the vein of the Porsche Cayenne, which may have fallen short of its competitors in terms of space, frugality and drivability but surely deserves a look-in for at least attempting to stand out.
We always saw the 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine as the pick of the bunch when it came to engine options, which is why we’ve sought out an oil-burner over the thirstier 3.7-litre petrol or the eyebrow-raising 5.0-litre V8. That leaves us with only 235bhp to play with, compared with 315bhp or 384bhp, but we will sacrifice a bit of grunt for the welcome boost in economy, and the 406lb ft of torque is plenty sufficient for overtaking.
The near-£20,000 asking price is steep for a used car with a relatively unknown badge on its grille but, being an ex-demonstrator, it’s specified to the nines with the desirable Bose sound system, intelligent cruise control, electric glass sunroof and 14-way-adjustable seats all present and correct.
You will also note it rides on jazzy 21in wheels, which will earn their fair share of admiring glances, no doubt, but could secure you a spot on your chiropractor’s Christmas card list.
One bonus of Infiniti’s absence from the British market – and its relative obscurity even when it was here – is that residual values for its models are among the strongest in their respective segments, so the depreciation hit is likely to be minimal for the next couple of years. There’s no need to worry about aftersales support, either, because many Nissan centres have stepped up to support owners of Infiniti cars for the foreseeable future.