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First drive: Infiniti QX30

Thursday 11 August 2016

First drive: Infiniti QX30

The QX30 is Infiniti’s all-new compact crossover, blending the company’s traditional SUV knowledge with the new Q30 hatchback that was released earlier this year.

Although the vast majority of Infiniti’s cars are based upon vehicles from the Nissan-Renault group, the QX30 – like the Q30 – shares its underpinnings with the Mercedes-Benz A-Class. Interior technology is also carried over, meaning that the QX30 bears a hint of similarity to the German car.

Looks & Image

The QX30 exudes a premium air as you approach it. Our test car, which came in the launch brown colour, featured silver accents on the roof rails and door mirrors which work together to create a car that isn’t all that bad looking. Styling flourishes on the fascia and C-pillar don’t look out of place, either.

Once inside, it’s easy to notice the car that the QX30 has been based upon. The instrument binnacle and switchgear are instantly recognisable as those from the A-Class – the only difference being that the QX30’s system is integrated into the dashboard, rather than floating in the Mercedes cars.

Space & Practicality

Despite the QX30’s diminutive size on the road, it’s got plenty of interior space – as long as you keep to four passengers. A large transmission tunnel in the rear does restrict legroom, but there’s just about enough room for three passengers in the back. Headroom is a bit of an issue, too.

The QX30’s 430-litre boot is around average when put against rivals. When compared to the Audi Q3, BMW X1 or even the Mercedes-Benz GLA, the Infiniti’s boot lacks any real neat tricks. Lifting the boot floor reveals only a puncture repair kit and a large amplifier. There’s no variable floor height, or even additional storage at the sides. However, that floor is at least level with the boot lip, making loading a little easier.

Behind the Wheel

All QX30 models currently share the same drive system. A 2.1-litre turbodiesel sits underneath the bonnet, and is paired to a seven-speed automatic gearbox which drives all four wheels.

Leave that engine to tick over, and it’s a relatively calming experience. The gearbox is quick to shift once you’re at cruising speed, meaning that it’s relaxing to drive when on the motorway. That said, the gearbox isn’t eager to kick down, and a firm foot on the accelerator is needed if you require a quick turn of pace.

The ride quality isn’t quite up to par with rivals. The extra height over the standard Q30 – the car is lifted 30mm – means that while it’s more comfortable, it leaves something to be desired when it comes to a cosseting ride. The ride is also a little noisy at times, especially at speed.

It’s not such a bad handler, though. The four-wheel-drive system provides plenty of grip, and there’s not too much body roll despite the increase in height. However, the diesel engine can become a little strained and hoarse when pushed.

Value for Money

The QX30 is undoubtedly a solid buy. Even entry-level specification features all manner of standard equipment, such as automatic dual-zone climate control, a six-speaker sound system, seven-inch touchscreen with navigation, LED running lights and heated front seat with power lumbar support.

The next specification up is Premium Tech, which adds leather seat facings, full LED headlights as well as a rear parking camera with sensors.

Rivals are hard-pressed to offer the same amount of equipment for the same price, but then they do offer something that the QX30 struggles with – badge prestige. That also improves other car’s residual values, with Infiniti not being known as a car maker whose vehicles hold their values awfully well.

Who would buy one ?

Those with a young family and a desire for a high-quality driving experience. Though the badge may not draw buyers away from the likes of the Mini Countryman or the BMW X1, the QX30 is still worth considering – no least for the excellent amount of standard equipment it comes with.

Facts at a Glance

Model: Infiniti QX30 Premium Tech

Engine: 2.1-litre turbodiesel producing 168bhp and 256lb/ft

Transmission: 7-speed automatic, driving all four wheels

Performance: Top speed 134mph, 0-62mph in 8.5 seconds

Economy: 57.6mpg combined

Emissions: 128g/km

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