Review: Infiniti Q30 (2015)
Rare take on the premium hatchback. Very well built. Decent amount of standard kit. 1.5-litre diesel is frugal. Five star Euro NCAP rating.
Expensive. Uninspiring cabin design. Not much space. Limited engine range. Poor depreciation. Unyielding ride in Sport models.
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Infiniti Q30 (2015): At A Glance
- New prices start from £21,300, brokers can source from £17,239
- Contract hire deals from £253.31 per month
- Insurance Groups are between 13–46
- On average it achieves 82% of the official MPG figure
Along with its high-rise sibling the QX30, the Infiniti Q30 premium family hatchback is one half of a duo designed to take Infiniti mainstream in the UK, finally. Is it good enough?
Honestly, probably not. Built alongside the Nissan Qashqai (Infiniti is owned by Nissan if you didn't know), the Q30 is based heavily on the Mercedes-Benz A-Class, including its engines, gearboxes and interior. The result is a car that, funnily enough, feels a lot like an A-Class.
But that’s not necessarily a great thing, because the Q30 does little to improve an average donor car. For a start, while the boot is quite big for the class, elsewhere the Q30 feels cramped and the cabin offers no real spark or inspiration.
That might be okay if the Q30 offered some USP to the premium hatchback buyer, but it doesn’t. It costs no less than the A-Class, will depreciate more quickly, shares its donor’s juddery ride quality and comes with a run-of-the-mill engine choice.
The Q30 engine range is bookended by a 1.5-litre diesel returning 68.9mpg - which in fairness is very economical, albeit very slow - and a 2.0-litre turbo petrol with a 7.2-second 0-62mph sprint. By comparison, the turbo offers performance identical to a SEAT Leon 1.8 TSI FR DSG, but its price tag is around £7000 higher.
There’s a wide range of trims to choose from, with every version well equipped and prices starting from a not unreasonable £20,000 or so – although you’ll have to factor in relatively poor depreciation. Every Q30 also comes with a semblance of exclusivity, by virtue of rarity. It’s built nicely too, with that feeling of depth and solidity that the Japanese do so well. And it has a Euro NCAP five star rating.
The Q30 is far from as lacklustre as we’ve probably just made it sound, it’s just that it suffers from a real identity crisis. It’s pitched in an awkward no-man’s land between sporty hatchback and luxury five-door - the Q30 is neither especially comfortable nor great to drive.
A half-decent first go at a premium family hatchback for Infiniti then, but there's very little here to sway a buyer away from any number of well established - and better value - alternatives.
What does a Infiniti Q30 (2015) cost?
Infiniti Q30 (2015): What's It Like Inside?
The striking styling of the exterior isn’t quite matched in the cabin. There are some nice touches, including liberal use of Infiniti’s corporate shade of purple for both stitching and graphics, but the basics don’t sparkle.
It’s a mass of buttons, many of them very obviously sourced from the A-Class and the unusual InTouch infotainment setup combines a touchscreen with a rotary dial. Maybe Infiniti is trying to offer the best of both worlds, but this split between an archaic control panel and more modern touchscreen can be confusing.
It’s all very well put together though, with a real sense of heft and density that surpasses the A-Class and comes close even to the excellent Audi A3. And if you equate ‘busyness’ with ‘premium’, as seems to be the Japanese way (Lexus favours this approach), the Q30 will be right up your quality street.
It’s not that spacious though. The roofline is low and the seats set quite high, so taller lads and lasses will feel the constant presence of the front pillar at head height. Specify a sunroof and the situation gets worse.
Rear legroom is limited too. If you’ve got teenagers you’ll be hearing "are we there yet?" even more than usual in a Q30. And if your kids are very slightly less mature and in rear facing baby seats, you’ll be pushing the front seats forward some way to accommodate them.
The boot is big by volume at 430 litres and is a decent, square shape. But as is often the case in style-led hatchbacks it suffers from a tailgate design that makes the loading lip high. The seats split 60/40 too, but they don't fold entirely flat. As per much of the Q30, the luggage space does is what you'd expect, but not much more than that.
SE grade includes 18-inch alloy wheels, black wheel arch mouldings, manual air conditioning, CD player, AM/FM radio, seven airbags, forward collision warning and stop, electronic parking brake, speed sensitive power steering, rear parking sensors, heated washer jets, LED daytime running lights, adaptive front lights, automatic lights, heated electrically adjustable mirrors, Active Noise Cancellation for 2.2d engine and a multifunction steering wheel.
Premium adds LED front fog lamps, automatic dual-zone climate control, cruise control with speed limiter, lane departure warning, heated front seats and the InTouch navigation system (Premium InTouch models only).
Premium Tech adds LED auto levelling headlights, nappa leather seat facings, dinamica headlining, wood inserts in door panels and headlining, power front seats with memory adjustment, rear view camera with front and rear parking sensors plus the InTouch Navigation system (Premium Tech InTouch models only).
Sport adds front bumper redesign, rear bumper redesign including diffuser, 19-inch alloy wheels, sport design grille, sport design front seats with integrated headrests, Alcantara/leatherette seat facings along with the InTouch navigation system (Sport InTouch models only).
Child seats that fit a Infiniti Q30 (2015)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the Infiniti Q30 (2015) like to drive?
Four engines power the Q30, which is a limited range but it covers quite a wide base. Smaller 1.5-litre diesel and 1.6-litre petrol units cater for the more frugally minded, while a 2.2-litre diesel and a 2.0-litre turbo petrol pack more punch. The latter pair are available only with a seven-speed automatic gearbox, optional with the other two. A six-speed manual is standard.
Unfortunately only the 1.5-litre diesel, with 110PS and 260Nm, is really that economical. It returns a claimed 68.9mpg with 108g/km CO2, while the 168PS 2.2-litre diesel dips to 57.7mpg and 138g/km. The petrol engines return averages in the forties (48.7mpg and 45.6mpg), which in both cases is poor considering neither is especially quick.
All are a relaxing drive generally. The diesel engines are suppressed nicely (especially the 2.2d, which employs active noise cancellation through the stereo speakers) and the manual gear shift is positive. That said, the smooth-shifting twin-clutch automatic suits the nature of the Q30 better.
The Infiniti is front-wheel drive but comes with an all-wheel drive option. The latter may seem impressive in a showroom, with talk of snowy months and what have you, but in reality you're better off with a set of winter tyres. Most of the time your AWD system is undetectable and simply making your fuel economy worse. Either way the Q30 offers competent, if never exciting, handling.
Speed sensitive steering means it's light when parking and firms up at higher velocity. And there’s plenty of grip and not a great deal of roll around corners. However, regardless of front or four-wheel drive the Q30 simply doesn’t have the natural balance of the rear-wheel drive BMW 1 Series, nor even the sharpness of an Audi A3.
In fact, a whole host of much cheaper hatchbacks drive with a far more enjoyable lightness of touch than this, including the Ford Focus and the Skoda Octavia.
So no sports car – it must be comfy, right? That depends. Standard cars do a reasonable job of smoothing over the road and certainly a better one than the Mercedes-Benz A-Class, but Sport models are a different story.
Sitting on 20mm lowered and stiffened suspension with 19-inch wheels, this setup ruins the Q30’s composure by making it bob up and down almost constantly. Turn up the Bose stereo and the sensation is like crowd surfing at Glastonbury. Non-sport suspension and smaller wheels make for the most relaxing Q30 experience.
On top of that, the Q30 suffers from strange accelerator calibration that basically renders the first third of the pedal movement useless. A simple thing, but it can make the car feel sluggish when in actual fact all that’s needed is a heavy right foot.
And on even more practical matters, backwards visibility is severely hampered by the shallow glass of the rear screen. It might make the Q30’s backside okay pretty, but if you’re reverse parking a lot it’s something to consider.
|1.5d||67–72 mpg||12.0 s||103–111 g/km|
|1.5d DCT||66–72 mpg||11.9–12.0 s||102–113 g/km|
|1.6T||47–50 mpg||9.4 s||133–139 g/km|
|1.6T DCT||48–50 mpg||9.4 s||129–138 g/km|
|2.0T AWD DCT||42 mpg||7.2–7.3 s||156 g/km|
|2.0T DCR||46 mpg||7.2 s||143 g/km|
|2.0T DCT||46 mpg||7.2–7.3 s||143 g/km|
|2.2d AWD DCT||52–58 mpg||8.3–8.5 s||127–141 g/km|
|2.2d DCT||55–64 mpg||8.3 s||115–133 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Infiniti Q30 (2015)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
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