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Infiniti Q30 First Drive
What is it?
If you are not really sure what the Infiniti brand stands for you're not alone. In fact, the Japanese car maker gave the press us a quick rundown of its new branding at the reveal of the all-new Q30 – the most important launch for Infiniti since the brand landed in Oz in 2012.
The new brand tag is "Empower the Drive" and the three core brand pillars in Australia, at least, will focus on building the brand name, expanding the network and adding more products to the line-up.
What are its rivals?
Despite calling the Q30 a "cross-over", Infiniti defines the car's rivals as the BMW X1, Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class, Mini Countryman and Audi Q3 - all SUVs. We'd suggest Volvo's V40 should be in the mix too. And, with less ground clearance than a Mazda3, it really is a hatch. The "real" SUV version – the QX30 – will be launched next month, complete with all-wheel-drive and 30mm more ground clearance.
How much does it cost?
The new Q30 is priced from $38,900 up to $52,900 (plus on road costs) and available in three trim levels – GT, Sport and Sport Premium. There are three engines on offer – a 1.6-litre turbo petrol, 2.0-litre turbo petrol and 2.2-litre turbo diesel. There is one gearbox – a seven-speed dual clutch. Fuel consumption is good– 6.0L/100km, 6.3L/100km and 5.2L/100km respectively.
What gear does it get?
The all-new Q30 is relatively well-equipped although there are two omissions worth pointing out - a rear-view camera is only available on Sport Premium models, and there is no Apple CarPlay/Android Auto on any model.
Standard features on GT models includes 7-inch touchscreen with navigation and Bluetooth, cloth trim, rear parking sensors, full-colour driver's display, LED daytime running lights, and 18-inch wheels.
Shell out the extra $6000 for the Sport 2.0t and you'll get leather/Alcantara trim, sports seats, traffic sign recognition, a more powerful engine, adaptive LED headlamps, sports suspension and 19-inch wheels for the coin.
Sport Premium models add a 10-speaker Bose stereo, power seats with memory, front parking sensors, a panoramic sunroof, Nappa leather, dual-zone climate control and a 360-degree camera.
Refreshingly, there is only one option - a Bose audio system ($1000) - worth ticking the box.
GT and Sport models come standard with forward collision warning and autonomous emergency braking. Sport Premium models adds lane departure and blind spot warning.
What does it look like?
What is good is that the Q30's looks are not as polarising as some of its siblings – the QX80 springs to mind. While it still has the distinctive "family face" with the upright grille, the Q30's styling treatment is much softer than other models and, at a quick glance, strongly resembles a Mazda3.
The Q30 shares parts with Nissan models but also Mercedes-Benz, a product of the Nissan/Renault and Daimler alliance. In fact, the Q30's underpinnings are shared with the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class and the three engines are used in a number of Mercedes products.
Is it nice inside?
Yes, there is a Mercedes-Benz familiarity to the cabin. The most obvious? The power seating controls in the Sport Premium models come straight from many current Benz models. The Q30 has a premium feel with classy highlights such as the chrome accents around the air con vents, on the doors, steering wheel and around the gear selector. The seats are comfortable and supportive on the long haul, thanks to what Infiniti calls "zero gravity" seat design. It is disappointing though that at this price only the flagship model gets power seats.
How does it drive?
Around town, the 1.6-litre engine is fuss free. It's zippy and has some punch but is quiet and refined even under load. Overtaking sees you drop back a gear, or two, nothing unusual with a small engine and a seven-speed gearbox.
With an extra 40kW of power and 100Nm of torque, the 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine is considerably more lively. It has strong urge throughout most of the rev range although it doesn't feel quite as sporty as you'd expect from 155kW.
The 2.1-litre diesel engine ($2000 on the Sport and Sport Premium versions) is also refined and the automatic start/stop system is relatively seamless. With 125KW and 350Nm, there is plenty of power under the right foot whether around town or overtaking on the highway.
We encountered an issue with our test car less than a few kms from the start of the drive program. The car stalled three times and was not running smoothly while caught in Sydney's gridlock traffic. It was only on this stretch and there was no sign of any problems after.
The diesel is supremely quiet thanks to the Active Noise Control system, standard on Sport Premium diesel models and optional on the Sport diesel. This system emits sound waves throughout the four door speakers that counteract noises coming into the cabin that may fatigue drivers, such as the low frequency booming of the engine.
There was very little wind or road noise on any models even at highway speed and it was only over coarse chip bitumen that road noise was noticeable. Infiniti used a lot of sound absorbing materials to reduce noise and vibration levels and says sound levels in the cabin are lower than all of the Q30's rivals.
Is it roomy?
There is good leg, head and knee room in the front and reasonably good leg and knee rom in the rear. Rear head room does suffer with the sunroof and the rear seat is most comfortable for two passengers. There is 430L of luggage space and 60:40 spit fold rear seats.
How much will it cost to service?
The Q30 comes with a four-year/100,000km warranty and a capped-price service plan for the first three services (either a year or 25,000km apart, whichever comes first). This averages to $551 for the GT, $540 for the 2.0t models and $612 for the 2.2d.
Should I consider one?
There is a lot to like about the all-new Infiniti Q30 but many will struggle to hand over that much cash on car with a badge that is still relatively unknown. If, however, badge cred doesn't matter much to you, and you're looking for a more unique take on the hatch back theme, then the Q30 is worth adding to the mix.
|Body type||5-door hatchback|
Supremely quiet cabin
Relatively unknown brand
|Country of manufacture||UK|
|Number of cylinders||4|
|Engine size||1.6, 2.0 and 2.2 L|
|Claimed max power (kW)||From 115 - 155 kW @ From 250-350 rpm|
|Claimed fuel consumption||From 5.2 - 6.3 L/100km|
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