We’ve got a pretty good soft spot for Infiniti cars, they’re something unique, and in this mass-produced world where even BMW and Mercedes cars are pretty darn common, it’s hard to find something that Joe next door doesn’t own. This month, the introduce their smallest car the Q30 to Australia and we’ve given it a fair crack out on the open road.
Here’s the thing, either Infiniti have “buried the lead” on this, or I missed the memo – but these cars are all built in the UK. I think that’s worth noting because you might think of Infiniti as a Japanese brand, but their expansion into Europe has meant a factory in Sunderland has come online and in a world where Aussie manufacturing is going out the window, it’s actually good to hear the UK continues to grow.
That aside, it’s very Infiniti. The bold styling is certainly not Ugly (we’ll leave that for the big QX80 – yuck!), but its sharp edges and unique look is what you’re wanting in this market. The BMW X1 is almost common, the Mercedes GLA isn’t so much common as it is a very standard Mercedes design, the Audi Q3 is all around the place and you can pick a Mini Clubman from a lineup no worries.
So the Q30 is going to stand out – that’s a good thing, but not in a bad way.
Starting at around $43,000 on the road with the entry level 1.6litre engine and basic trim – don’t be fooled, it’s got more smarts and inclusions than many mid-spec competitors.
The GT sits higher on the road than the sports models, but does include LED front Fog lights, heated mirrors dual chrome exhausts finishers and 18 inch alloys.
Driving this little guy through the city traffic, winding country roads and freeway drives – a pleasure. The handling is flat, very solid on the road, it’s not a super punchy sports acceleration in any spec level I think, and to be honest the Diesel is on the noisy side when you compare it to it’s competition.
I honestly don’t think the back seat of this car will get common use – I feel like this car is going to be snapped up by people trading in their older larger European Sedans looking for a refinement and quality but also something unique. So I doubt kids will be part of that – but you have to know, while the back seats have space for an Adult, it’s tight, and the headroom is limited.
The rear door window is very narrow given the way that line tapers up to the back which creates a very enclosed feeling.
For the driver, the rear window on the hatch is quite small, the C-pillar is enormous, and the rear view mirror suited to that is quite small too. All things you should notice and consider on your test drive.
My biggest frustration was the infotainment system. I think we should be today at a point where Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are in all cars of this price. Sitting as a passenger trying to find the spot to adjust the bass and treble nearly had me jumping out the door. it’s far from intuitive and while the connectivity does allow calendar and email integration – drop that R&D team folks and just install the Operating System we’re all carrying in our pocket.
That aside, I quite like this car – It’s priced to compete with the european hatches as well as the “cross over” market, and more than anything should appeal to people who don’t want to be sheep and follow everyone else.
Getting one is easier too, with Infiniti expanding from two to nine dealerships, and a “retail store” at Pacific Fair on the Gold Coast.
With sales last year of 574 total units across the Infiniti Range, you can see how this Q30 is important to the brand here and globally – they could easily outsell the entire range with just one model. Time will tell.
|Q30 1.6t GT||$38,900||$42,875|
|Q30 2.0t Sports||$44,900||$49,055|
|Q30 2.0t Sports||BOSE Sound||$45,900||$50,085|
|Q30 2.2d Sports||$46,900||$52,145|
|Q30 2.2d Sports||BOSE Sound||$47,900||$53,175|
|Q30 2.0t Sports Premium||$52,900||$57,295|
|Q30 2.2d Sports Premium||$54,900||$59,335|