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Dashboard, infotainment, sat-nav and passenger space

The Q30 has a hip point that is mid-way between that of a conventional hatch and a jacked-up alternative such as a Nissan Qashqai, so the drop down into the seat is surprisingly short.

Once behind the wheel, the view out is a bit more commanding than the C-segment norm. Given that both advantages are delivered in a car that doesn’t outwardly advertise its added convenience with any SUV styling cues, we can imagine why the Q30 might appeal to buyers who approve of what a crossover does but aren’t so convinced by what it is.

For a car meant to propel Infiniti into places it has never been, the cabin’s leftover Daimler detritus is unbecoming

But it’s also in the cabin where some mixed messages begin filtering into your perception about what you had imagined might genuinely be a fresh and interesting new addition to the premium-branded hatchback ranks.

To start with, you simply don’t find as much space in the car as Infiniti’s sales pitch leads you to expect. Up front, while the seats are a good size and comfortable enough, head room is quite tight and the entry route between steering wheel and B-pillar is snug.

In the second row, occupant space is considerably meaner still; decent room for your feet under the front seats will be scant consolation for adults and larger teenagers who are provided with little more travelling space than they’d find in a supermini. Boot space is quite generous by class standards, but overall we’d still have to rank the Q30 among the least accommodating full-size hatchbacks on the market.

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If any of that sounds familiar, it may be because we said almost exactly the same thing about the A-Class three years ago, and the Q30’s regrettable resemblance to its sister car is echoed in many of its cabin fittings.

From the interior architecture to the heater controls, electric window consoles, instrument binnacle and even the steering wheel and ignition key, the Q30 looks and feels very much like a modern Mercedes.

By logical extension, then, it isn’t much like any of its Q-branded rangemates, or even a distinct premium product in its own right. Material quality is quietly impressive, and where Infiniti has attempted to make the cabin its own with touches of leather and satin chrome trim, it’s done well enough. But not widely enough. Not nearly.

As for standard equipment, there are seven trim levels to choose from - SE, Premium, Premium InTouch, Premium Tech, Premium Tech InTouch, Sport, Sport InTouch. The entry-level SE model comes with rear parking sensors, active emergency braking, hill start assist, 18in alloy wheels, automatic headlights and heated wing mirrors as standard on the outside, while inside there is a 7.0in touchscreen infotainment system, air conditioning, six speaker audio system and cloth seats. 

Premium models gain heated front seats, electric lumbar support for the driver, dual-zone climate control, electrically folding mirrors, cruise control and rain sensing wipers. Premium Tech trim adds privacy glass, LED headlights, wood trim and Nappa leather seats, while the range-topping Sport Q30s come with Alcantara interior and upholstery, and a sporty-looking bodykit. Those trims suffixed with InTouch also gain Infiniti's sat nav and traffic sign recognition systems, and DAB radio.

Following on from the Q30 was the more rugged QX30 which is available in two trims - Premium and Premium Tech. The entry-level model comes with Infiniti's AWD system, dual-zone climate control, sat nav, chrome roof rails and autonomous emergency braking technology, while the range-topper adds Nappa leather upholstery, electrically adjustable front seats, rear parking sensors and a reversing camera.

Our test car had Infiniti’s InTouch navigation system fitted. Taking into account the high price (£1400) that Infiniti charges for the system, the satellite navigation isn’t all that brilliant, with mapping detail and display clarity that is only average. But the sound system’s reproduction quality is good and it’s fairly powerful, although the digital signal reception leaves something to be desired.

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The InTouch system includes apps for email and calendar, as well as smartphone mirroring for both Android and Apple handsets — although in the latter case, your phone does need to be hard-wired via a USB port in order for it to work.