From £19,6717
This Infiniti Q30 is a refined choice and one of the better options in the range for private buyers, but it remains some way behind rival efforts

Our Verdict

Infiniti Q30

Infiniti looks to a premium hatch to make its breakthrough in Europe

  • First Drive

    2016 Infiniti Q30 1.6T DCT SE review

    This Infiniti Q30 is a refined choice and one of the better options in the range for private buyers, but it remains some way behind rival efforts
  • First Drive

    Infiniti Q30 2.2d AWD review

    Can Infiniti tempt people away from their compact Audis and BMWs with the new Q30? We try one in the UK to find out
Doug Revolta Autocar
7 October 2016

What is it?

Infiniti’s growth in the UK has been fairly glacial, but the Infiniti Q30 could be the car to inject some urgency into its upward trajectory.

Built in Sunderland on the underpinnings of a Mercedes-Benz A-Class, the Infiniti Q30 is the new offering from Nissan’s premium branch, tasked with battling for sales in the hotly contested premium hatchback segment.

The test car we drove looks like one of the better bets in the range for private buyers, with a petrol engine and automatic transmission. The same basic engine is available with a manual transmission, but opting for the the auto brings a power hike to the tune of 34bhp, which takes it to our car's 154bhp. 

However, with prices starting from £23,600, the Q30 counts cars such as the Volkswagen Golf and Audi A3 among its rivals, which is a tough starting point, before you even step inside. 

What's it like?

When you do get behind the wheel, you’re met with a smart interior. Closer inspection uncovers a mix of quality, from plush-feeling leather on the dash to cheaper-feeling switchgear, but generally it’s good throughout.

If there's a disappointment inside, it's the infotainment system. It’s complicated to operate and not logically laid out, with a confusing selection of shortcut buttons and a fiddly rotary dial. The Q30 is fairly well equipped, with a 7.0in touchscreen (albeit with a pretty poor resolution), Bluetooth and a USB connection as standard, but adding sat-nav is a pricey £1400 extra, and that’s the only way to access DAB radio. Ultimately, it’s a poor system that can’t hold a candle to those of its competitors.

Elsewhere inside, our SE Business Edition car offered supportive front seats with lots of adjustment and plenty of room for those in the front, although space is more paltry in the rear and boot space and practicality is also average for the class. 

This 1.6 feels suitably strong and has no problem slugging it up to motorway speeds from a rolling start. Its sub-9.0sec 0-62mph time tells you it’s fairly brisk but not blistering and there's some noticeable turbo lag to work around, but on the whole it's a pleasing companion. It does become raspy under heavy acceleration, but it won’t bother you much at motorway speeds. There is, however, quite a lot of road noise in the cabin.

The steering doesn’t offer much feedback and the nose will wash wide if you chuck the Q30 into a corner with too much confidence. However, it offers a largely compliant ride, particularly at higher speeds. 

The seven-speed automatic gearbox is generally good at judging shifts for itself, but it can be caught out on kick downs when you plant your right foot. In Sport mode it holds on to gears longer - often too long - but you can take matters into your own hands by selecting manual mode and using the Q30's paddles instead.

Should I buy one?

The Q30 is a respectable option in a tough class, and it will certainly boost Infiniti's presence in the UK. Ultimately it’s held back by its hefty price and premium ambitions, but if you’re after a quirky alternative to the German status quo and driving engagement isn’t your top priority then it’s worth a look.

This engine and transmission do go well together, especially if you’re a private buyer - it's certainly the best value engine in the range in terms of price and performance. However, looking outside of the Q30 range, its competitors are cheaper to buy and run and the equivalent Audi A3 and Volkswagen Golf are also both quicker and more efficient.

Infiniti Q30 1.6T DCT SE

Location Feltham, Middlesex; On sale Now; Price £23,600; Engine 4 cyls, 1595cc, turbo, petrol; Power 154bhp; Torque 184lb ft; Gearbox 7-spd automatic; Kerb weight 1453kg; 0-62mph 8.9sec; Top speed 134mph; Economy 48.7mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 136g/km, 23% Rivals Audi A3, Volkswagen Golf

Join the debate

Comments
7

7 October 2016
too much going on with the creases and angles to give it any clarity seems mixed up

7 October 2016
There is a lot going on styling-wise, but I think its more cohesive than Lexus' latest offerings. It certainly looks better to me than the 'snouty' A-Class on which it's based.

7 October 2016
Looks like a much fussier and uglier Mazda 3. I'd just get one of those instead - a much more satisfying car in every respect.

7 October 2016
I've seen a couple of these already - they look much better in person than in these pictures.

That said, yet another underwhelming Infiniti. Lovely showrooms, dull cars.

7 October 2016
What's with all the crap they stick on the sides of some cars these days? It just looks stupid.

7 October 2016
Fussy incoherent designs seem to be universally disliked (at least judging from reactions on these pages) and yet manufacturers, especially Japanese ones, keep on doing them. Why? Do they sell well in Tokyo?

I think there is hope on the horizon. The rise of EV seems to initiate a new simplicity, like the Mercedes EQ and the VW golf-sized electric concept car shown in the Paris show.

9 October 2016
Maybe the problem that Infiniti shares with Lexus is that both are principally designed for both the home and USA markets. In General cars designed for Europe do better here (like Kia) but the numbers both these brands have here don't make a more Euro design economically viable and a more Euro centred design would probably reduce sales elsewhere in their view. Interior quality is hit by the same problem with the US market in particular unwilling to pay for Euro quality on most cars unless they are very high end models. From Infiniti's perspective they perhaps have worked out that selling a few cars in Europe produces marginally more profit than none at all, plus they generate a lot of development feedback and dealer networks which are necessary if they ever mount a real challenge to the market place. Its all a bit cynical but its business not car lust that's driving it.

David Whalley

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Lexus LC500
    Car review
    20 October 2017
    Futuristic Lexus LC coupé mixes the latest technology with an old-school atmospheric V8
  • Maserati Levante S GranSport
    First Drive
    20 October 2017
    Get ready to trade in your diesels: Maserati’s luxury SUV finally gets the engine it’s always needed
  • Jaguar XF Sportbrake TDV6
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The handsome Jaguar XF Sportbrake exhibits all the hallmarks that makes the saloon great, and with the silky smooth diesel V6 makes it a compelling choice
  • Volkswagen T-Roc TDI
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    Volkswagen's new compact crossover has the looks, the engineering and the build quality to be a resounding success, but not with this diesel engine
  • BMW M550i
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The all-paw M550i is a fast, effortless mile-muncher, but there's a reason why it won't be sold in the UK