Infiniti Q30 review
The Infiniti Q30 is a premium hatchback that has crossover-style looks and a very comfortable ride. It’s aimed at up-market rivals such as the Audi A3, BMW 1 Series and is based on the pre-facelift Mercedes A-Class.
What's not so good
Infiniti Q30: what would you like to read next?
The Infiniti Q30 has a pleasing interior that follows the exterior’s wavey design. Some of the switchgear will be familiar to Mercedes owners, but the fit and finish is better than in an A-Class. Passenger space is not class leading, especially in the back, but the big boot is very practical.
Ride quality is very good and unsurpassed by rivals. However, the focus on comfort has resulted in some compromises – the Infiniti Q30 rolls more in corners than rivals and is far from the most fun to drive. Despite heavy sound deadening, wind and tyre noise is audible at higher speeds.
The engines available for the Infiniti Q30 are fairly advanced and cheap to run but are beaten by rivals in performance and running costs. Nevertheless, the frugal 1.5-litre diesel is sure to be a hit with buyers and those looking for some performance can have a 205hp 2.0-litre petrol with grippy four-wheel-drive.
A high asking price and the fact that Infiniti is trying to steal customers of well-established premium makes, mean the Infiniti Q30 is nicely equipped even at entry-level. It gets Bluetooth phone connectivity, climate control and a six speaker stereo.
Despite the comfortable ride, the Q30 is a brave purchase next to highly accomplished rivals
Infiniti is still in the phase where it has to offer more than rivals in order to steal their well-established customers. The Q30 does just that, to a point – you get arguably the best ride quality in class and a very distinctive design. However, at this price point, one starts to wonder will the more well-established rivals offer more value for money? And that is the core problem of the Q30 – if it was cheaper it would be more recommendable.
The Infiniti Q30 looks after its driver and front-seat passenger very well, but the low roofline means that headroom for anyone in the rear seats is more limited
Note to Infiniti's designers: it's all well and good making people sit higher than in a 'normal' car, but you need to raise the roof, too
The Infiniti Q30 passengers sit slightly higher than in premium hatchbacks, yet the overall height of the car is around the same as in rivals. The result is limited head room for rear seat passengers.
However, the driver gets plenty of seat and steering wheel adjustments and the elevated driving position gives a good view of the road ahead.
Storage areas are good with a large glovebox and door pockets that can hold a litre bottle of water. Those in the back have nets and a 12V charging socket but no cupholders or arm rest.
With a capacity of 368 litres, the Infiniti Q30 not only has a decent-sized boot, but it trumps the A-Class’s 341-litres and can also hold more than the 1 Series (360 litres), but less than the A3 hatchback (380 litres). Sadly it lacks the hooks and multiple storage areas found in rivals that would make it better suited to family life.
The Infiniti Q30 uses roughly the same underpinnings as the A-Class but instead of focusing on sportiness, Infiniti decided to make its car more comfortable.
If comfort tops your list of priorities, the Q30 is a pretty good bet
There is a range of four engines available for the Q30 – two diesels and two petrols – all of them are Mercedes sourced and turbocharged.
The cheapest engine option for the Q30 is a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder developing 119hp. It’s not fast, but it’s quiet, refined and wont be too expensive to run with fuel economy of 47mpg. It’s 0-62mph time of under nine seconds is a decent pace for an entry-level engine.
Those looking for more power get it from the 2.0-litre option – it comes with 211hp which is good for a 7.2 second 0-62mph time. That’s a decent pace for a small hatchback without any sporting pretensions. It won’t break the bank either with a fuel economy of 42mpg.
The entry-level diesel is expected to be the bestseller due to its low running costs and impressive fuel economy – it may not be fast at 11.9 seconds from 0-62mph, but it compensates with a combined fuel economy of 68.9mpg.
The larger diesel is a 2.1-litre four-cylinder that is available across the Mercedes range. For some reason, Infiniti has designated it as a 2.2-litre unit. The 170hp engine has a broad spread of pulling power and is frugal at 67.3mpg combined, but it pumps a lot of vibration and noise into the cabin. These are constant criticisms of the engine in other cars, and it’s a shame they are still present here – despite claims it’s the quietest and most refined it has ever been. An Audi’s 2.0-litre diesel is quieter.
There is a choice between a six-speed manual and a DSG auto with the same number of gears. Both are good, but the automatic offers a driving experience with less hassle. A four-wheel-drive system is also available and it increases grip in slippery conditions, but at the cost of slightly increased fuel consumption and a marginal loss of straight-line performance.
As many as 50 different suspension set-ups were rejected by the engineers who made the Q30 until they were convinced it was as cosseting as possible.
There isn’t much criticism on the way the Infiniti Q30 drives apart from a bit of suspension thumping over the biggest potholes and a bit more roll in corners than rivals. It’s still easy to drive fast, but far from sporty.
Steering is criticised on many new cars, but in the Infiniti Q30 it has received special attention and it’s accurate and predictable if a bit heavy. Top of the range models can be specified with four-wheel drive that helps the Q30 dig into bends and adds extra grip when the going gets wet or slippy.
Anyone who’s been in a Mercedes A-Class will find the Infiniti Q30’s interior quite similar.