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Infiniti Q30 review

The Good

  • Head-turning looks
  • Efficient engines
  • Well-specced

The Bad

  • Not as involving to drive as its rivals
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The Infiniti Q30 is a new premium hatchback designed to go head to head with the likes of the BMW 1 Series, Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz A-Class, or to appeal to owners wanting something fancier than the likes of the Ford Focus.

But can Infiniti, a relatively niche brand in Europe, capture hearts and minds with this new offering? We hopped aboard for an extended test drive to see whether the Q30 is worth our attention.

Design

The Infiniti Q30 is a fascinating piece of design. It has a slightly chunky crossover aesthetic, albeit with the proportions of a regular hatchback. Its bodywork is a complex array of swooping, curved surfaces that flow elegantly together. If you like your car to turn heads for all the right reasons, the Q30 is an ideal choice, as it’s arguably the best-looking hatchback on the market – premium or otherwise.

If you have ever set foot in a Mercedes-Benz A-Class you will be all-too-familiar with the Q30’s cabin. It shares many parts with the A-Class, including its steering wheel, buttons, switches, gear selector and more. Ultimately, it’s pleasant enough, though the A-Class’ and 1 Series cabins feels slightly more upmarket. The black leather finish hides a lot of the more interesting design features, such as the curvy dashboard, but such elements show up nicely with the optional white (pictured) or brown leather interior treatments.

Practicality

The Infiniti Q30 has a decent, if not class-leading, amount of interior storage. Up front, you will find a pair of cup holders, central storage bin, and a good-sized glovebox. Its 368-litre boot capacity is average for the segment; smaller than the BMW 1 Series’ (360-litres) but larger than the Merc A-Class’ (341-litres). Bear in mind, however, that some of that boot space is taken up by a bag containing a toolbox and high-visibility jacket.

Performance & handling

The car is available in Q30, Q30 Premium and Q30 Sport versions. We tested the Premium and Sport models with the 1.5-litre diesel, 2.2-litre diesel and 2.0-litre petrol, and each offered a different experience.

“The Infiniti Q30 generally represents better value for money than alternatives such as the Mercedes-Benz A-Class.”The 1.5-litre diesel model, specified with the manual gearbox, is well-suited to pottering around town. It’s easy to drive, has comfortable seats, rides adequately over broken road surfaces and is easy to manoeuvre at low speed.

The 2.2-litre diesel, with its 208hp and 350Nm of torque, is best-suited to motorway cruising. It’s refined enough – in part due to the car’s use of active-noise cancelling technology – and offers good pulling power from a standstill, managing 0-62mph in 8.3 seconds (8.5 seconds when equipped with all-wheel-drive).

It’s not what you might call fast, though. Grunt evaporates quickly as the engine revs rise, making overtaking a bit of a chore. Nor is it quick in the bends; its tyres complain all too readily during spirited cornering, while it never feels totally happy to be manhandled through twisty roads.

The Q30 Sport, which sits 15mm lower than the standard or Premium cars and uses a 2.0litre turbocharged petrol engine, is better suited to dynamic driving, delivering a nippy 7.2-second 0-62mph sprint (7.3 seconds when equipped with all-wheel-drive). It’s competent rather than fun, though. If you’re looking for a car that is engaging or rewarding to drive, you’re better off with a BMW 1 Series.

Economy & environment

The Infiniti Q30 is very efficient, delivering up to 68.9mpg with the 1.5-litre diesel engine with CO2 emissions of 108g/km. Even the more powerful 2.2-litre diesel delivers a solid claimed 57.6mpg with 133g/km. Expect 42.2mpg from the 2.0-litre petrol-equipped Q30 Sport model.

Equipment & value

The Infiniti Q30 generally represents better value for money than alternatives such as the Mercedes-Benz A-Class. Not only is it cheaper to buy (prices start at £20,550 for the entry-level 1.6i SE petrol model) but it also comes with a good spec.

“The bass-heavy Bose speaker upgrade is ideal if you like thumping tunes, although the quality of the audio isn’t the clearest.”Entry-level SE cars feature 18-inch alloys, active noise cancellation to keep the cabin quieter, AM/FM radio with CD player, single-zone air-con, solid paint, stop-start, rear parking sensors, LED day-running lights, Bluetooth, voice recognition and a 7-inch touchscreen.

The Premium model adds £1,050 to the price (putting it in line with the cost of an entry-level A-Class) and comes with dual-zone air con, cruise control, lane departure warning, rain-sensing wipers, speed limiter, driver’s power lumbar support and heated front seats.

A £1,060 tech pack provides automatic parking assistance, 360-degree cameras, and keyless entry – though we’d only recommend this if you’re particularly terrible at parking. A better bet is the safety pack, which costs £1,300 for the manual, or £1,800 for the DCT car. This adds intelligent cruise control, which comes in very handy in traffic or on motorways, blind spot warning and the 360-degree cameras.

The bass-heavy Bose speaker upgrade (£650) is ideal if you like thumping tunes, although the quality of the audio isn’t the clearest.

Safety

Euro NCAP has yet to subject the Infiniti Q30 to a crash test, but we expect safety to be a strong suit due to its use of a Mercedes-Benz chassis (the very similar A-Class scored 5 stars). The cars we tested featured strong, confidence-inspiring Brembo brakes and electronic traction aids.

Those wanting improved safety tech have the option of blind-spot warning, which beeps when you indicate and a car is sat in your blind spot, forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking and intelligent cruise control, which lets the car follow vehicles up ahead, automatically accelerating and braking as necessary.

Update: The Infinti Q30 has since been awarded a full five star rating in the Euro NCAP test.

Conclusion

The Infiniti Q30 is a great choice for buyers who wish to stand out from the crowd. It has a gorgeous exterior design that’s sure to turn heads, and makes its rivals (the BMW 1 Series in particular) look hideous. It’s also well-equipped, packing more standard tech than its rivals, while undercutting them on price.

That said, it’s not particularly thrilling to drive. It lacks the excitement you get from a 1 Series and arguably fails to elicit that emotional attachment one might expect from the likes of an Alfa Romeo Giulietta or Mercedes-Benz A-Class.

All things considered, though, the Infiniti Q30 is our favourite Infiniti to date and one that we’re sure many would be proud to have on their drives.

Specification

Engine2.2-litre diesel
Power170PS
Torque350Nm
Acceleration0-62mph in 8.3 seconds
Emissions133g/km of CO2
Economy57.6mpg combined
PriceFrom £20,550

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