In-depth reviews

Infiniti Q30 review

More than just a posh Nissan, the Infiniti Q30 is a Mercedes-based premium hatch built in Sunderland

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.0 out of 5

  • Plush cabin, distinctive styling, comfortable
  • Not fast, cramped interior, top models are pricey
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The Infiniti Q30 is an intriguing alternative to the premium German hatchback norm. It won't be to all tastes, but the curvy exterior and plush cabin offer showroom appeal to rival some of the strongest cars in this class.

It's not a cheap, though. The lower-spec models look reasonable value, and are similar in price to the Audi A3 and BMW 1 Series. But flagship trims – particularly the Q30 2.0 Sport – are overpriced, and there are faster and more economical offerings on the market.

The Q30 is a good long-distance cruiser with soft suspension and a refined cabin. But show it a corner and things aren't as impressive. A slightly higher driving position than most hatchbacks will appeal to some, but practicality is hindered by an oddly-shaped boot and cramped rear seats.

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Infiniti to Nissan what Lexus is to Toyota. As the Japanese maker's premium sub-brand, Infiniti hopes to capitalise on the market for high-spec, well-built alternatives to the German elite, with a range of new models specifically for Europe.

The Q30 is Infiniti's smallest model, and is based on the stong-selling Mercedes A-Class. It's built at Nissan's plant in Sunderland, UK, and should be just what the brand needs to properly kickstart it's ambitious European sales push.

Sharing its platform, basic bodyshell and a lot of its interior trim and electronics with the A-Class means it should be well built, while the large stylised grille and sweeping headlights give the Q30 its own distinctive look. The swooping curves and various angles are far more distinctive than the straight-laced Audi A3.

There are five trims on offer: SE, Premium, Premium Tech, Business Executive and Sport, while Infiniti offers an InTouch upgrade pack for Premium and Sport models to add more kit. As standard the Q30 looks sharp, but the Sport model gets a pumped-up look, with suspension lowered by 15mm lower, bigger wheels and bumpers, plus sports seats inside. Those who want a taller, SUV-inspired version can go for the QX30 crossover, which is essentially the Q30 with raised suspension.

There are four engine choices: a Renault-sourced 1.5 diesel and Mercedes' 2.1-litre diesel, plus 1.6 and 2.0-litre turbo petrol units, also from Mercedes. The 1.5 and 1.6-litre engines are both available with a six-speed manual or seven-speed auto, while the two larger engines are only available with the automatic gearbox.

The 2.1-litre diesel (badged 2.2) is available with both front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, while the 208bhp 2.0-litre petrol is 4x4 only.

Rivals include Mercedes A-ClassAudi A3, Lexus CT 200h and BMW 1 Series. The (slightly) jacked-up QX30 offers a higher driving position and more crossover-like styling, rivalling cars like the Mercedes GLA.

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