Q30 is Infiniti’s first small model
- Poor visibility
- Easy to drive
- Lack of premium-brand cachet
Infiniti was re-launched into Australia in 2012 as Nissan’s premium brand with primarily higher-priced, larger models to compete with top-end European models. Now, to gain some more market share, it has badge-engineered a small Mercedes A-Class to produce the Q30.
Q30 could be a premium hatch, or a crossover, but the base GT model is not all that classy, and while the ride height is slightly more than a typical hatchback and the tyres are a bit chunkier, it doesn’t have the robust appearance or high seating of other crossover vehicles. It’s also a bit cramped inside, particularly in the back seat, which has little leg room.
The interior highlights the strong Mercedes-Benz involvement in the Q30, with the switchgear, instrument cluster and controls easily identified as coming from the A-Class.
We tested the entry-level GT model, which at $38,900 plus on-road costs is trading on brand cachet that Infiniti is yet to earn in Australia.
When compared with the similarly priced Mercedes A 180, the Q30 has a stronger-performing engine but lacks the former’s reversing camera and blind spot monitoring.
The lack of these items, particularly the reversing camera, is regrettable, because visibility out of the back window is remarkably poor.
However, Q30 still gets a five-star ANCAP safety rating and comes with the bonus of autonomous emergency braking.
Cruises well on the open road
Q30 is a comfortable cruiser. It drives well and the performance won’t disappoint. We spent a lot of time driving it in country Victoria and found it flows along nicely on the open road.
The soft ride and docile handling are in line with the crossover persona, but it’s not as rewarding to push on a windy road like a premium hatchback can be.
Around town, the stop/start fuel-saving system and automatic transmission occasionally produce a lag on take-off, which can be frustrating in traffic.
Lack of character
We found that the Q30 was a bit anonymous and lacks character. It delivers what we’ve come to expect of a good quality car from any of the mainstream brands, not so much a premium brand.
Ultimately, if you can get past the terrible visibility, the Q30 would satisfy most owners, but there are better options for less, or more aspirational vehicles around for similar money.
Infiniti Q30 GT details
Price: $38,990 + ORC. Model range $38,900-$54,900.
Engine: 1595cc 4cyl turbo-petrol engine. 7spd dual-clutch transmission. Front-wheel-drive. 115kw@5300rpm, 250Nm@1250-4000rpm.
Fuel economy: 7.4L/10km (RACV test); 6.0L/100km (government test). Premium petrol. 50L tank.
Standard safety: Autonomous emergency braking. 7 airbags. Rear parking sensors. Tyre pressure monitoring. Auto lights/wipers. ISOFIX.
Standard features: Five-star ANCAP rating. Seven-inch touch-screen. Sat-nav. Bluetooth. Voice command. 2 USB slots. Cloth seats. Manual air-conditioning. 18-inch alloy wheels, 235/50 R18 tyres. Tyre repair kit.
Warranty: Four years/100,000km.
Report: Blake Harris
1 December 2016