- An extremely appealing interior
- Soft touch interior surfaces
- High quality technology throughout
- Excellent finance deals available
- Badge snobs may be reluctant to convert... Until they drive it
- Manual gearbox could do with slight improvements
- Not a hugely rewarding car to drive quickly
The premium hatchback market is a fiercely contested segment, with well established rivals such as the Audi A3 and BMW 1 Series dominating the sales with their tried and tested models. But, there’s a new kid on the block in the form of the Infiniti Q30 and it looks set to really turn the tables on the big boys.
This Q30 bares an Infiniti badge founded by Nissan in Japan and made hugely popular in America. This Q30 model however, was designed, developed and now produced in the UK at the Nissan Paddington and Cranfield centres as well as at it’s own purpose built production line in Sunderland.
On The Road
The Q30 handles itself extremely well when commuting through suburbia. The stop/ start technology doesn’t get irritating and the car glides across road blemishes and speed bumps. The 1.5 diesel has plenty of torque for overtaking on motorways too and offers a sufficient amount of power to ensure you’re not left feeling short changed.
It’s only when pushing the car down a fast paced B-road that the negative aspects of the cushioned ride become obvious. The car has a tendency to lean quite drastically when cornering and understeer is as present as ever in a front wheel drive car weighing just shy of 1500kg. Put simply, this car excels when you just want casual driving or long commuting, but it’s not the most rewarding if you’re the type to really ‘give it some’.
When compared with the Mercedes A Class, the Q30’s ‘sister car’, the ride is leagues and leagues ahead of its german rival. Of course the two cars share the same chassis, but the suspension is lifted in the Q30 and this really pays its dividends. The Q30 floats along potholed roads without breaking a sweat, comfort really is key with this car.
On the flip side of this, the handling is perhaps a bit too floaty when pressing on. The higher ride height converts to increased body roll in corners and it really does take the fun out of pushing this car, and in fact makes it a bit nervy in the corners. We were in the 1.5 diesel model though, which Infiniti predict will be their most popular, and is more steered towards a smooth, economical drive than being thrashed. So the body roll wasn’t the be all and end all, because it’s not really the point of this car, but it’s fairly prominent.
The Q30 scores highly on refinement. The build quality is excellent and there are no squeaking parts within the cabin, everything feels extremely well put together, as you’d expect in the premium segment. The 1.5 Diesel engine we tested was also very hushed in the Q30 when compared to the Mercedes A Class and Renault vehicles it also features.
Road noise is minimal in the Q30 and the copious amounts of leather and alcantara surely must have helped quieten down the outside.
In The Car
Perched comfortably behind the wheel (which is both height and reach adjustable) is a very pleasant place to be. Mercedes owners will be greeted by the same dials they are used to, as well as the same buttons on the centre console and the doors too. Even the steering wheel and wheel mounted controls are lifted from the Mercedes range too, so for a new car from a relatively new brand in the UK, it’s already rather familiar. The dashboard is intuitive, although there are an abundance of buttons, which may dispel some buyers who prefer having functions such as heated seats, air con etc, controlled from within the touch screen.
Our favourite gadget in particular from the Q30 was the self-parking system which worked flawlessly time and time again. The bird’s eye, 360 degree camera was also a cool feature to prevent the curbing of alloys.
The spec we tested had half leather/ half alcantara seats which were simply delightful, the front seats were very supportive and would be more than suitable for long journeys. There is a slight issue with the rear seats whereby anyone over 5”10 would be scraping their scalp on the swooping roofline if they were unfortunate enough to land the middle seat. Leg room could also be improved in the back of the Q30, while it isn’t cramped, it’s still very tight - best kept for children.
Boot space is a bit of an odd one in the Q30. The official figure of 430 litres is on-par with alternatives in the market, but it is worth noting that quirky tail lights and sloping roofline do hinder access to the boot somewhat. It’s cavernous but you’ll have to angle your golf clubs to get them in without touching the paintwork. A minor hindrance more than a manufacturer oversight, but worth noting nonetheless.
You can expect a generous 68mpg return from the 1.5litre diesel engine that we tested, we averaged 60 ourselves but that was with some slightly more ‘rigorous’ testing involved. This engine only puts out 108 g/km of CO2 so your annual VED will come in at just £20 - very manageable. Infiniti expect this 1.5 unit to be their best seller.
The other diesel engine, the 2.2litre, costs £30 a year to tax which isn’t bad but the mpg drops to 57. In the petrol models the 1.6litre turbo unit offers an impressive 47mpg and the 2.0litre all-wheel-drive returns 43mpg. Annual road tax comes in on these at £180 and £130 respectively.
It’s difficult to say how the Q30 will fare in terms of reliability, as it is a completely new car and is yet to stand the test of time. Engine-wise the popular 1.5litre has proven to be excellent in other Nissan, Renault and Mercedes cars so there’s no reason to expect otherwise in the Q30.
As mentioned the interior does truly feel like it’s been built to a high standard, almost Bavarian, and we’re confident the materials will withstand wear and tear very well, even with leather-damaging children occupying the rear seats.
As expected, the Q30 scored a full 5 stars in the euro NCAP safety rating tests with a staggering 91% score for pedestrian safety and 86% for child occupant safety.
Roland Krueger, President of Infiniti Motor Company, commented: ". The Q30 offers a comprehensive technology package that enhances the car's driving experience while providing maximum safety to all occupants The five-star rating from Euro NCAP is testament to Infiniti's advanced safety approach".
The car features driver knee airbag, driver airbag, passenger airbag, front hip-thorax side airbag and front to rear curtain airbags to protect occupants in every seat through the car.