MOTORS Life begins at 30
IF you like the idea of Infiniti’s compact Q30 fivedoor hatchback but want something with a little more lifestyle attitude, then the QX30 could suit.
It competes with cars like Volvo’s V40 Cross Country, the DS4 Crossback and the Mercedes-Benz GLA it’s based upon and, despite its brand’s Far Eastern roots, is built at Nissan’s plant in Sunderland.
Unlike its Q30 stablemate, this QX30 is being offered in only one mechanical guise - a 2.2-litre diesel matched to all-wheel drive and a 7-speed auto gearbox.
Handling is likely to be safe, predictable and not a great deal different to the Mercedes GLA this model is based upon.
The suspension’s firmer on this model, but Infiniti claims that modifications made to the chassis have compensated for this and kept ride comfort as supple as it is in the Q30.
The intelligent all- wheel drive system is able to send up to 50 per cent of the engine’s power and torque to the rear axle to maintain traction on slippery surfaces and in inclement weather, enhancing a feeling of control and confidence when driving. For example, if a wheel slip is detected by sensors, braking is applied to the slipping wheel, while torque is sent to the gripping wheel for additional stability. This, along with the elevated ground clearance, means that the QX30 should be capable of dealing with the odd rutted track. Don’t expect to set about the Serengeti though.
Though this QX30 is clearly based on its Q30 stablemate, its elevated stance and Crossover styling cues give it a more striking visual impact.
The QX30 stands 30mm higher than the Q30, with satin chrome roof rails fitted as standard. And its wheel arch cladding is 5mm wider than that on the Q30, adding to the premium active crossover’s purposeful appearance.
Other exterior details include re-designed front and rear bumpers and grained side sills for the required rugged look, as well as bodywork finished with satin chrome-plated inserts.
Otherwise, the aesthetics are much as they are with the Q30, characterised by dramatic curves and turbulent, sculpted character lines.
These flow up the double-wave bonnet, over the fenders, across the body line and into the strong shoulders of the car. The overall effect is designed to look stretched over bone and muscle, rather than the straight, ‘mechanical’ lines seen on rival models. Boot space is a reasonable 368-litres.
It makes sense for Infiniti to address as many market niches as it can with its limited product range, so the QX30 is certainly a logical model for the company to have brought us, given the minimal amount of re-engineering work that must have been needed to create this variant from the standard Q30 design.
The Japanese brand hopes this car will target buyers looking at upmarket Qashqais and BMW X1s, but in truth, it’s really more comparable to other premium hatches that have been re-packaged with SUV styling cues, models like the Volvo V40 Cross Country and the DS4 Crossback.
For the small number of buyers looking at these cars - and the even smaller number willing to consider a relatively unknown brand, this British-built contender could prove to be an interesting proposition.