£28,900 - £35,470 Price range
The Infiniti QX30 is a premium crossover that is the jacked-up version of the Q30 hatchback. It rivals premium small SUVs such as the Audi Q3, BMW X1 and Mercedes GLA, with which it shares many parts.
The interior is lifted straight from the Q30 – you get Mercedes switchgear and great build quality, but also a somewhat unimaginative design. Passenger space is adequate at best and the boot capacity is average.
Out on the road, the QX30 is one of the more involving crossovers to drive thanks to the nicely calibrated suspension and weighty steering. It’s mostly about comfort, though, as demonstrated by the near silent cabin at motorway speeds.
UK buyers can only specify it with a 2.1-litre diesel engine (Infiniti calls it a 2.2-litre) and a seven-speed automatic gearbox – they make for a good combination, but the lack of choice is bound to put some people off. Four-wheel-drive is standard, so the QX30 has lots of grip but also higher running costs than two-wheel drive rivals.
Although pricey, the QX30 is well equipped with a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system, DAB radio, sat-nav, climate control and 18-inch alloy wheels.
Infiniti insists the QX30’s interior design is completely unique, but a short look around and you notice that the infotainment, climate and seat-position controls are exactly the same as in a Mercedes GLA. That’s not a bad thing, because the GLA comes with a classy cabin that’s well-built. However, the rest of the Infiniti’s interior looks dated next to the latest models from rivals and some of the plastics low-down are annoyingly cheap-feeling, although admittedly this is a very tough class.
The seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system is an in-house development, but compared to rivals it’s sluggish and the graphics a little dated. The iDrive system in the BMW X1 is much better.
Infiniti QX30 passenger space
This is where the QX30 struggles – just when rivals have started to pay close attention to rear passenger space, the Infiniti comes with a sloping roof and bulky front seats that will make anyone over six-foot tall feel hemmed in. Space in the front is fine, but then that’s also true of all the QX30’s rivals.
Infiniti QX30 boot space
Despite sharing much with the GLA, the QX30 packs a boot that is 51 litres smaller, and doesn’t have the Mercedes’ underfloor storage. Its 430-litre outright capacity is slightly bigger than in the Audi Q3 and BMW X1, both of which have 420 litres load bays.
Infiniti spent a lot of time testing the QX30 on UK roads and reviewers say this shows. It’s a comfortable car with only the biggest potholes being felt, but the soft suspension leads to pronounced body roll in corners – not great for passengers prone to car sickness.
Thanks in part to its heavy steering, the Infiniti is reputably better to drive than the Mercedes GLA it is based upon. It makes finding the limits of traction on a B road easy, but also makes low-speed manoeuvring more tiring.
The QX30 also drives decently on the motorway where the impressive sound deadening works wonders and the cabin remains quiet at a steady cruise. Prod the throttle, though, and the agricultural rattle under the bonnet is hard to mask.
Rearward visibility is amongst the worst in class and parking sensors aren’t standard, they come as part of the £1,060 Tech Pack that includes keyless entry.
The Infiniti only comes with a 2.1-litre diesel, automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive.
On paper the engine sounds good – with 170hp and 0-62mph taking 8.5 seconds it’s quick, but fuel economy of 57.6mpg and CO2 emissions of 128g/km (for road tax of £110) mean it is also quite frugal.
However, it’s an old Mercedes unit and no amount of sound deadening can hide the engine’s rattle at idle and full throttle. Interestingly, Mercedes models come with an all-new 2.0-litre engine that’s much smoother.
The QX30 also gets Mercedes’ seven-speed automatic gearbox. It chooses gears wisely and shifts quickly, but in the Mercedes range it has been already phased out and replaced by a nine-speed unit, that to our experience is even better.
The Infiniti’s four-wheel drive system will indeed help you out in mud and snow, but most of the time it increases fuel consumption and blunts straight-line acceleration.
The QX30 is too new to have been crashed by Euro NCAP, but the Q30 hatchback, which shares many of the same parts, got a five-star score.
Standard safety equipment includes kit such as air-bags, stability and traction control, but also traffic sign recognition and emergency city braking. Adaptive cruise control, blind spot warning and an advanced park assist system (with an all-round view) are grouped in the £5,680 Safety Pack.
The QX30 isn’t cheap, but compared to similarly priced four-wheel drive rivals it’s well equipped.
The entry level QX30 gets all the necessities you could want such as climate control, Bluetooth phone connection and music streaming along with a powerful stereo. These are joined by a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear selector as well as an infotainment system with sat-nav.
Infiniti QX30 Premium Tech
Premium Tech trim ramps up the luxury thanks to full natural leather upholstery, electrical adjustment for the front seats and all-round parking sensors with a reversing camera.
Infiniti sales started slowly, but are growing with every month that passes and the QX30 should help keep things on track. It has limitations for sure – an engine range of just one being the biggest – but that shouldn’t dampen buyers insatiable appetite for crossovers. Anyone taking the plunge will find the Infiniti to be a decent all-rounder and one that is likely to be a rare sight on UK roads.