JUDGED by a week of careful observation the Infiniti Q30 is a rare beast on our roads - but for those seeking a quality SUV-style hatchback that's not one of the herd, it might just hit the spot.
Built in Sunderland - the result of a Â£250 million investment from parent company Nissan - the Q30 is designed to take on the German elite who currently dominate the premium end of the market.
That's no easy mission, but the Q30 makes a good start by having an original, distinctive exterior that can't really be likened to anything else.
It offers swoops and curves which engage the eye whichever direction the hatchback is viewed from. The face features an in-your-face grille and sweeping headlights that are impossible to ignore.
Comfort in the plush cabin is ensured by automatic air conditioning with dual-zone climate control and a rear vent on the centre console.
There are also front and rear one-touch electric windows as well as a multi-function steering wheel which, along with the gear shift lever, is covered in leather.
Cubby holes abound with a front centre armrest covering a handy storage box while the boot can handle 368 litres of shopping or luggage with the rear seats in place. More space can be liberated by folding the rear seats which split 60/40.
A decent driving position is obtained by powered front seat adjustment as well as manual reach-and-rake alterations for the steering column.
Five trims levels are available - SE, Premium, Premium Tech, Business Executive and Sport, while Infiniti offers an InTouch upgrade pack for Premium and Sport models.
The Premium Tech InTouch model I drove gets LED auto-level headlights, leather seat facings, wood inserts in the door panels and centre cluster, as well as a rear view camera which together with front and rear parking sensors more than make up for the slightly limited visibility out of the back window.
A colour touchscreen gives access to the Infiniti InTouch navigation system as well as the six-speaker audio system which is made up of a digital radio with single CD player and two USB ports with smartphone and iPad connectivity.
The Mercedes-sourced 2.1-litre diesel engine is available with both front-wheel or all-wheel drive and has Active Noise Cancellation to combat any sound from the oil burner attempting to make it to the ears of the Q30's occupants. Economy is helped by stop/start and an Eco mode switch.
The power unit ensures a rapid response to a green light as well as a smooth and efficient performance on the motorway.
It is one of four engine choices - the other three being a Renault-sourced 1.5 diesel plus 1.6 and 2.0-litre turbo petrol units, also from Mercedes.
The 1.5 and 1.6-litre engines are both available with a six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic, while the two larger engines are only available with the automatic gearbox.
The speed sensitive power steering is well weighted offering a good feel for what is happening on the road. The handling is sharp and there is no noticeable body roll in corners while levels of grip on the front-wheel version are reassuring.