The new Infiniti Q30 is arguably the most important car Infiniti will launch this year. It’s an all-new premium hatchback that boasts an eye-catching design, a nicely refined cabin and high-riding suspension designed to deliver a pillowy ride and higher seating position. It is priced from $38,900 and shares much of its underpinnings, drivetrain and interior with the Mercedes-Benz A-Class, GLA and CLA.
- As a late arrival to an already crowded segment the Q30’s most obvious strength is its eye-catching exterior styling. While it mightn’t be to everyone’s taste, the Q30’s swoopy look is edgier and more dynamic than many of its rivals which helps it stand out from the pack.
- It’s impressively quiet too. Inside the Q30 shares much of its basic cabin design, dials and switchgear with the Mercedes-Benz A-Class, which is no bad thing, and Infiniti has worked hard to reduce unwanted road and wind noise.
- Engine wise, the standouts are the two petrol options. Both the 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre turbo four cylinder engines are smooth, quiet and deliver decent economy. If we had to choose, we’d take the more powerful 2.0-litre unit.
- It’s a decent handler. Admittedly, the Q30 is no sports car, but its steering is nicely judged, there’s a good amount of grip and body roll is kept in check during hard cornering.
- While the Q30’s elevated suspension is a strength compared to its conventional hatchback rivals thanks to longer suspension travel and greater compliance, it’s let down by its low speed ride. At slow speed, the Q30’s suspension is jittery and doesn’t deliver the suppleness you’d expect.
- There’s no reverse camera available in entry-level or mid-spec variants. Only the most expensive, top-spec Sport Premium variant is fitted with a reverse camera, which is a glaring oversight given the Q30’s narrow glasshouse and poor rear visibility.
- Of the three engines offered on the Q30, the 2.1-litre diesel is the weakest. It’s noisy and lacks urgency which can make for sluggish getaways in city traffic and when overtaking.
ANY RIVALS I SHOULD CONSIDER?
Given its shared underpinnings, the Mercedes-Benz GLA is an obvious rival, though it carries a higher price tag. You should also consider the Mini Countryman and the Mazda CX-3, the latter’s strength resting in its broad model range and cheaper price point.