£20,550 - £31,935 Price range
42 - 68 MPG
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.
The 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.
According to critics ride quality is very good and unsurpassed by rivals. However, the focus on comfort has resulted in some compromises – the Q30 rolls more in corners than rivals and is far from the most fun to drive. Despite heavy sound deadening, a few reviewers say wind and tyre noise is audible at higher speeds.
The engines available for the 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 Q30 is nicely equipped even at entry-level. It gets Bluetooth phone connectivity, climate control and a six speaker stereo – for some reviewers it offers the best value for money in the range.
Anyone who’s been in a Mercedes A-Class will find the Q30’s interior quite similar. It uses the same buttons and switches, but given how good Mercedes interiors have become lately that’s not a bad thing. Where they start to differ is in the materials used – the Q30’s cabin is more stylish to look at and has a more luxurious feel.
The suede-like roof lining and the leather-wrapped dashboard are just a few of the little details that in their entirety make for one of the best cabins in class. However, start moving down the dashboard and quality gets poorer. Critics say the Audi A3 still has a better perceived quality.
Infiniti Q30 passenger space
The 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.
Infiniti Q30 boot space
With a capacity of 368 litres, the 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 Q30 uses roughly the same underpinnings as the A-Class but instead of focusing on sportiness, Infiniti decided to make its car more comfortable. 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 Q30 drives apart from a bit of suspension thumping over the biggest pot holes 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 Q30 it has received special attention and according to critics they have done a good job – it’s accurate and predictable if not 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.
Infiniti Q30 petrol engines
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 and £130 annual road tax. 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 and £180 road tax.
Infiniti Q30 diesel engines
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 and a £20 annual road tax bill. It’s only problem is that the 1 series, the A3 and the A-Class have engines that are free to tax.
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 cogs. Both are good, but the automatic offers a driving experience with less hassle and critics commend it on its smooth shifts. 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.
When crash-tested by Euro NCAP in 2015, the Q30 got the full five-star score. The Infiniti comes with all the safety equipment present on rivals such as airbags, stability control and traction control as standard.
There are three trim levels available for the Q30, but each give the car a different character.
Infiniti Q30 SE
The entry level Q30 gets all the necessities you could want such as climate control, Bluetooth phone connection and music streaming along with a powerful stereo. Kit such as all-round electric windows, park assist as well as automatic lights and wipers is also standard.
Infiniti Q30 Premium Tech
The Premium Tech version focuses on luxury and convenience by adding an easy-to-use infotainment system with a seven inch touchscreen and brings class to the interior with real wood and metal trims.
Infiniti Q30 Sport
The Sport version is more driver-focused and lowers the car by 15mm, firms up the suspension and also comes with body-hugging sport seats. Inside it gets a flat-bottomed steering wheel and sporty aluminium pedals.
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.