Motoring: Infiniti Q30
The Q30 is a new car from Infiniti, built in Britain to compete with more familiar prestige brands with high levels of luxury and style. The emphasis is on comfort and refinement, with more than a hint of performance, making the Q30 an interesting (if left-field) choice for buyers looking for a premium hatchback.
There’s no doubt the Infiniti Q30 is a good-looking car. It’s distinct from anything else on the
road, with strong, muscular lines and heavy haunches that differentiate it from the ubiquitous ‘soft roader’ shape. Being lower, it’s less aggressive and the profile seems more coupe-like. It’s a more sculpted and arguably understated alternative to some overly styled competitors.
The shape hides some clever packaging. The Q30’s 368-litre boot is bigger than that of a BMW 1 Series, and the passenger compartment feels roomy. The front passengers get a much better deal than those in the back – the cockpit feels spacious and well laid-out. Headroom is adequate but passengers in the rear who are over 6’ 3” may find it a little cramped.
It looks good inside too. The interiors in the Q30 are all pleasant – a mixture of leathers and tasteful soft plastics make it a comfortable space. Controls feel well constructed and the layout is straightforward and conventional. The seat takes some work to get into place if you’re tall, but with the electronically adjustable seats (with lumbar controls) it’s easy to find the perfect position.
Fire up the engine and the 1.5-litre diesel fitted to our first test car proves much quieter than you might expect from a diesel. It produces a comparatively modest 108bhp, but is perfectly adequate for most driving and delivers the best fuel economy, with 65.7mpg possible.
The 1.6-litre petrol is slightly more powerful and, like the 1.5, only comes in front-wheel drive. The largest diesel is the plum choice though. Infiniti calls it a 2.2 but at 2,143cc it’s closer to 2.1. A combination of strong performance, innovative sound insulation and active noise reduction mitigates the effect that using the performance has on the serenity of the cabin. This version is also available in all-wheel drive, which helps the overall roadholding and sense of stability.
The sportiest model, the 2.0-litre petrol ‘Sport’, produces 209bhp. This puts it firmly in the ‘warm hatch’ category, though it doesn’t quite compete with hard-core performance-orientated hatchbacks from rivals.
The Q30 starts at £20,550 for the two-wheel-drive 1.6i. This seems like good value, but many drivers will still opt for the larger diesel engine. The 2.2-litre diesel starts at £24,700 – the comfortable ride, impressive turn of speed, good roadholding and quiet cabin make this a good-value choice.
A premium hatchback is hard to get right for the mainstream manufacturers, let alone one that has only really been active in the UK for half a decade. But Infiniti has produced something that could be something of a winner. British-built, rare, good looking and fine value, the Q30 is a car for someone who wants comfort and style but who doesn’t necessarily crave the badge recognition of the big German brands. And while it isn’t a driving enthusiast’s car, it is a refined cruiser that brings its own rewards.
FACTS AT A GLANCE
Infiniti Q30 2.2d Sport, from £29,380
Engine: 2.1-litre turbodiesel producing 167bhp and 258lb/ft
Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox driving all four wheels
Performance: Top speed 134mph, 0-60mph in 8.3sec
Fuel economy: 55.4mpg