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Infiniti Q30 Sport Premium diesel 2017 review

EXPERT RATING
7.1
Peter Anderson drives an Infiniti hatch based on a Mercedes-Benz and powered by a Renault engine. His road test and review of the new Infiniti Q30 Sport diesel includes specs, fuel consumption.

Peter Anderson drives an Infiniti hatch based on a Mercedes-Benz and powered by a Renault engine. His road test and review of the new Infiniti Q30 Sport diesel includes specs, fuel consumption and verdict.

Infiniti's Q30 is already a premium hatch by another name - the Mercedes A-Class. You probably can't really tell that by looking at it, and Infiniti will surely hope you don't. It's an interesting move from Infiniti which is pretty keen to not produce another German car.

MORE: Read the full Infiniti Q30 2017 review

Premium hatches are important for luxury makers - they attract new, hopefully younger punters, wow them with the luxury experience and then hope to sell them some more profitable metal down the line. It has worked a treat for BMW (1 Series), Audi (A3 and now A1) and Mercedes-Benz (A-Class). So you have to ask the question - is using a donor car from one of your competitors a good way to grab new buyers?

Infiniti Q30 2017: Sport Premium 2.0T
Safety rating
Engine Type2.0L turbo
Fuel TypePremium Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency6.3L/100km
Seating5 seats
Price from$34,980

Is there anything interesting about its design?  7/10

This is a tough one. On the outside, it's completely unlike the car it's based on, with a totally individual look and feel. Only problem is, particularly from the front, people mistook it for a Mazda. That's not a bad thing (Mazdas look great) but probably not what Infiniti is after.

Those Philistines aside, the Q30's styling was generally well-received by all who saw it, even in our car's garish rose gold (Liquid Copper) finish. The big wheels help, and those strong creases in the bodywork make it unique in the premium hatch crowd.

There is a nice feeling in the interior - cosy but not tight.

Inside, you can sense the car's origins. There are a lot of Mercedes bits and bobs, including much of the switchgear, but the dash design has been revamped. Infiniti's interior designers have thankfully avoided the chintzier metal look that befouls some As and CLAs. The upper section of the dash is bespoke Infiniti, with the separate screen flung in favour of an integrated touchscreen panel and Infiniti's own 7.0-inch screen and rotary dial-operated sound and nav system.

There is a nice feeling in the interior - cosy but not tight, with some lovely materials throughout, and the right decision was made to oust the column shifter for a console-mounted gear selector. The wrong decision was made (although it's unlikely there was an alternative option) to hold on to Merc's all-in-one indicator/lights/wiper stalk.

How practical is the space inside?  7/10

The Q30 isn't a big car but you can fit a surprising amount of stuff into it. Boot space is a quite reasonable 430 litres, which compares favourably with some cars one size up. You'll find handy cupholders front and rear for a total of four, and bottle holders in the front doors will take a 500ml Coke but a wine bottle will stretch the friendship.

The front seats, designed with Infiniti's 'zero gravity' concept, are wonderfully comfortable and aren't, as they first appear, from Mercedes. The rear seats are also quite comfortable, although the middle passenger won't agree. Legroom in the back is tight, but even with the huge sunroof, there is an adequate amount of headroom front and rear. That said, rear seat passengers could feel a mite claustrophobic thanks to the rising glass line and falling roofline.

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?  7/10

The Q30 is the first Infiniti that doesn't come from Japan - it's built at Nissan's Sunderland factory in the UK. Three grades are offered here -  GT, Sport and Sport Premium.

You can choose from three engines - the GT-only 1.6-litre turbo four-cylinder petrol, a 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder petrol and a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel (not available on the GT). Pricing starts at $38,900 for the 1.6 GT and tops out at $54,900 for the car we had, the 2.2 diesel Sport Premium.

Standard is Bose 10-speaker audio with active noise cancellation (optional on the GT and Sports), 19-inch alloys, dual-zone climate control, front and rear parking sensors, reversing camera, front and side cameras, keyless entry, a comprehensive safety package, electric front seats with three memory settings, panoramic glass roof, sat nav, adaptive LED headlights, auto headlights and wipers, auto parking, active cruise control and Nappa leather interior.

A 7.0-inch screen is set into the dashboard and runs on Nissan-based software and hardware. The sound quality from the Bose speakers is good but the software is deeply ordinary. Mercedes COMAND is little better, but when you're competing with BMW's iDrive and Audi's MMI while shouting your technology credentials, it's a little jarring. Lack of Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compounds this, particularly given its available on two of its three German rivals.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?  7/10

The 2.2-litre turbo-diesel, sourced from corporate cousin Renault, develops 125kW/350Nm to shift the 1521kg Q30 from 0-100km/h in 8.3 seconds (the petrol cracks the ton in 7.3sec). Power goes to the front wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.

There's a fairly aggressive stop-start system along for the ride to help cut fuel use.

How much fuel does it consume?  7/10

Infiniti claims 5.3L/100km on the combined cycle whereas we found it used 7.8L/100km, although it was almost exclusively driven in suburban and peak-hour traffic in Sydney.

What's it like to drive?  7/10

Like the exterior design, the Q30 has its own character from behind the wheel. The 2.2 litre turbo-diesel is an excellent engine, well-paired with the seven-speed dual-clutch. Smooth and strong, it feels quicker than the claimed 0-100km/h figure and inside you'll barely hear it. The only real clue to its oil-burning operation is the low-ish redline.

It takes a lot to unsettle the Q30

In the cruise and around town it's an equally quiet and composed car. Despite those huge wheels, road noise is minimal (there is some active noise cancelling) and, just as impressively, the big hoops don't seem to have ruined the ride quality.

It takes a lot to unsettle the Q30 and the front end is delightfully pointy, with well-weighted steering helping to make it feel nimble and positive.

As a sporty hatch, it's a nice balance, and with the ability to put a decent amount of luggage and normal-sized humans in the back, it could cheerfully serve as a family car.

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

4 years / 100,000 km warranty

ANCAP Safety Rating

ANCAP logo

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?  8/10

Active and passive safety features include seven airbags (including driver's knee), ABS, stability and traction controls, front and rear parking sensors, reversing camera, forward collision warning, auto emergency braking, two ISOFIX points, brake force distribution, pedestrian protection bonnet and lane departure warning.

The Q30 was awarded five ANCAP stars in August 2016, the highest available.

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?  7/10

Infiniti offers a four year/100,000km warranty and four years roadside assist. A scheduled servicing plan that covers the first three years or 75,000km and is priced at $612 for the 2.2-litre diesel. That covers three scheduled services and the official line on visiting the dealer is every 25,000km or 12 months, whichever comes first.

There aren't too many Infiniti dealers about, so that has to be considered for any prospective buyer.

Pricing Guides

$33,990
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$24,750
Highest Price
$43,230

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
GT 1.6t 1.6L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $24,750 – 30,580 2017 INFINITI Q30 2017 GT 1.6t Pricing and Specs
Sport 2.0T 2.0L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $29,260 – 35,310 2017 INFINITI Q30 2017 Sport 2.0T Pricing and Specs
Sport 2.2D 2.1L, Diesel, 7 SP AUTO $30,580 – 36,850 2017 INFINITI Q30 2017 Sport 2.2D Pricing and Specs
Sport Premium 2.0T 2.0L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $34,980 – 41,580 2017 INFINITI Q30 2017 Sport Premium 2.0T Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7.1
Design7
Practicality7
Price and features7
Engine & trans7
Fuel consumption7
Driving7
Safety8
Ownership7

“Australian car buyers have long since given up sneering at posh hatches, so the Q30 could be the car to finally fire the local market's imagination. The rest of the Infiniti range is a strange mix of SUVs (one pretty but old, the other ungainly and hideous), a mid-size sedan with weird technology choices (the Q50) and a large-ish coupe and sedan nobody seems to care about.”

Click here to see more 2016 Infiniti Q30 Sport Premium pricing and spec info.