Car group tests

Infiniti QX30 vs Mercedes GLA vs BMW X1

Can the bold new QX30 finally help give Infiniti the sales push bosses want? We find out as it meets BMW and Mercedes

Nissan's luxury division Infiniti is still something of a bit player in the UK car market. With a small dealer network and equally limited model range, it delivers modest sales compared with most rivals. 

It expanded its range earlier this year with the launch of the Q30 premium hatch, and now the line-up has been further enlarged with the addition of the QX30 crossover. As its name suggests, the QX30 is based on the Q30, but at launch there’s a single engine and trim available, while four-wheel drive and an automatic gearbox are fitted as standard, too. It has a price in the region of £30,000, which places it at the heart of the premium crossover competition.

To see how the QX30 compares, we’ve lined up a pair of tough rivals in the shape of the BMW X1 and Mercedes GLA. The BMW is our current favourite premium crossover, and delivers a strong blend of practicality, efficiency and performance that will be difficult to beat. 

The Mercedes shares its running gear with the QX30, so it should be a close match between the two. Can the Infiniti make an impact against these capable cars?

Head to head

Size

These three cars show the sheer breadth of bodystyles you can get in the class. The X1 is almost SUV-sized, while the QX30 is far more of a raised hatchback. The GLA falls between these two with a larger boot than the Infiniti, but cabin space is still on the small side. In reality, the BMW is the most SUV-like of the trio.

Parts sharing

The relationship between the QX30 and GLA is obvious inside. The Infiniti has the same climate controls, window switches and single column stalk, while their keys are similar, too. The X1 shares its platform with the MINI Clubman, but both cars have their own distinct look.

Dealer service

Infiniti makes a big deal about its personalised customer service. But we’ve yet to receive enough responses for the brand to appear in our Driver Power survey, so we can’t see if this is reflected in owners’ views – and whether the dealers perform better than the BMW and Mercedes networks.

Verdict

First place: BMW X1

In the final reckoning, the X1 scores a clear victory. In many ways it has the premium crossover formula licked, thanks to its SUV-style practicality, agile handling and small hatch economy. You’ll have to decide if you really need four-wheel drive or you can pocket the savings by going for the front-drive model, but either way it’s the king of the premium crossover class.

Second place: Infiniti QX30

The QX30 is a good-looking car, but it really should be considered more of a crossover hatch than a bona fide crossover. Smaller dimensions than the X1’s mean it isn’t as practical, while the fact there’s only the one engine and driveline also limits its appeal. Still, the lower list price, longer list of standard kit and more appealing cabin design put it just ahead of the GLA.

Third place: Mercedes GLA

Thanks to its oddball character, the GLA isn’t quite a full crossover; as with the QX30, it’s more like a high-riding hatchback. There’s very little to separate the two on the road thanks to their matching running gear, but that higher price and lower spec mean it trails the Infiniti. At least there’s a wider range of models, so you have more options to get the car you need.

Other options in this category

Volvo V40 Cross Country Pro

Price: £30,805 Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl, 190bhp

Volvo V40 - facelift front

Volvo's V40 Cross Country fits the crossover hatch template better than the QX30. A recent facelift added new lights, and while the top-spec D4 is front-drive only, it has the edge on pace and efficiency, plus is cheaper to buy.

Skoda Octavia Scout 2.0 TDI DSG

Price: £28,495 Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl, 182bhp

Skoda Octavia Scout - front tracking

Here’s proof that if you look beyond the premium brands, you get more car for less money. The Scout has 4WD, a twin-clutch auto box and far greater practicality than any of these cars, thanks to its 610-litre boot. It costs £5,000 less than the QX30, too.

Figures

 BMW X1 xDrive20d Sport autoInfiniti QX30 2.2d (170) Premium Tech AWD autoMercedes GLA 220d Sport Premium 4MATIC
On the road price/total as tested£32,890/£39,070£33,370/£37,020£33,855/£41,040
Residual value (after 3yrs/36,000)£14,735/44.8%£15,317/45.9%£15,641/46.2%
Depreciation£18,155£18,053£18,214
Annual tax liability std/higher rate£1,642/£3,284£1,666/£3,332£1,758/£3,515
Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)£1,537/£2,562£1,235/£2,058£1,189/£1,982
Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost29/£724/D/£11023/£660/D/£11023/£748/D/£110
Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service£475 (5yrs)TBC£27p/m (36 months)
    
Length/wheelbase4,439/2,670mm4,425/2,700mm4,417/2,699mm
Height/width1,598/1,821mm1,515/1,815mm1,494/1,804mm
Engine4cyl in-line/1,995cc4cyl in-line/2,143cc4cyl in-line/2,143cc
Peak power/revs190/4,000 bhp/rpm168/3,400 bhp/rpm177/3,600 bhp/rpm
Peak torque/revs400/1,750 Nm/rpm350/1,400 Nm/rpm350/1,400 Nm/rpm
Transmission8-spd auto/4WD7-spd auto/4WD7-spd auto/4WD
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel51 litres/£7556 litres/repair kit56 litres/run flats
Boot capacity (seats up/down)505/1,550 litres430/1,223 litres481/1,235 litres
Kerbweight/payload/towing weight1,625/595/2,000kg1,634/441/1,800kg1,595/480/1,800kg
Turning circle/drag coefficient11.4 metres11.4 metres11.8 metres
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery3yrs (unltd)/3yrs3yrs (60,000)/3yrs3yrs (unltd)/4yrs
Service intervals/UK dealersVariable/19215,500 miles (1yr)/14Variable (1yr)/147
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.15th/24thN/A12th/20th
Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./stars90/87/74/5 (2015)84/86/91/5 (2015)96/88/67/5 (2014)
    
0-60/30-70mph7.8/7.9 secs8.8/8.4 secs8.2/7.3 secs
30-50mph in 3rd/4th3.1/4.1 secs3.0/4.0 secs3.0/4.1 secs
50-70mph in 5th/6th/7th/8th5.3/6.6/8.8/12.2s5.7/7.5/10.5 secs5.8/8.1/10.9 secs
Top speed/rpm at 70mph136mph/1,800rpm134mph/1,900rpm135mph/1,900rpm
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph45.7/32.2/10.0m53.4/37.6/9.6m49.3/33.3/12.9m
Noise outside/idle/30/70mph69/44/61/68dB71/46/63/71dB71/46/63/71dB
Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range40.0/8.8/449 miles49.8/11.0/613 miles51.7/11.4/637 mi
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined50.4/64.2/57.6mpg47.1/65.7/57.6mpg47.9/64.2/56.5mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined11.1/14.1/12.7mpl10.4/14.5/12.7mpl10.5/14.1/12.4mpl
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket189/129g/km/25%152/128g/km/25%146/130g/km/26%
    
Airbags/Isofix/park sensors/cameraSix/yes/rear/£290Seven/yes/yes/yesSeven/yes/yes/yes
Auto box/AEB*/adaptive cruise ctrlYes/yes/£1,150Yes/yes/£1,800Yes/yes/£1,695
Climate control/leather/heated seatsYes/£1,150/£295Yes/yes/yesYes/Artico/yes
Met paint/LED h’lights/power tailgate£550/£745/yes£670/yes/no£575/xenons/yes
Sat-nav/USB/DAB radio/BluetoothYes/yes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes/yesYes/yes/£420/yes

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