By Patrick James on 2017-08-06 - The author has been a motoring writer for more than 16 years. Formerly motoring editor at the Coventry Telegraph, he now produces motoring copy, on new car launches and road tests on a freelance basis.
Infiniti Q30 Premium
Tech 2.2d 4WD
WHEN is compact family car a crossover, or even a small SUV?
Looking at individually-styled Infiniti, it could be the Q30.
The size of a family hatch, it has muscular styling, curves and flares, sits high off the road and does look like what it is meant to be - a luxury competitor to the likes of the Mercedes A-Class and Audi A3.
Given that the Q30 shares the same platform and many components of the A-Class in collaboartion with Mercedes it should come as no surprise that it is attacking the compact luxury sector of the market.
It does look different with even almost American styling with its wide, deep grille flanked by impressive looking light clusters and sat on 18-inch five-spoke alloy wheels, which should be no surprise, given that the luxury arm of Nissan first started selling cars in the US in 1989, 20 years before setting up in the UK.
They are still not a common sighting, with a still small scattering of UK dealerships, but sales are picking up the this compact challenger has much to offer those looking for a bit of luxury, but something away from the usual suspects.
Built at Nissan's plant in Sunderland, the firm says the Q30 active compact is a vital part of Infiniti's global growth plans and the firm's first global entry in the compact segment, attracting a new generation of premium buyers.
At a starting price of just below £21,000, it is also taking on some of the higher-spec mainstream competition as well.
The interior design is not so radical as the exterior, but still has a luxury ambiance. There is a certain A-Class similarity with the switchgear, particularly the single stalk operation.Otherwise it is a riot of leather, chrome and wood inserts.
The electrically operated two front seats are comfortable, the multi-function steering wheel gives easy access to controls, while the two dials in the binnacle are clear and clearly legible.
The centrepiece is a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system, which is operated via a dial on the console next to the driver. This controls navigation, the latest connectivity and music systems.
The coupe styling means vision to rear is slightly compromised, as is head and legroom for rear occupants.
The car is packed with equipment for the price and the entry-level SE model comes with rear parking sensors, active emergency braking, hill start assist, 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights and heated wing mirrors as standard air conditioning, six speaker audio system and cloth seats.
The Premium Tech model I drove adds lumbar support to the front seats, rain sensing wipers, dual zone climate control, Nappa leather seats, parking camera, privacy glass, plus much more.
Safety kit is also comprehensive with seven airbags, assisted emergency braking, traction and stability control, hill hold and lane departure warning. The on demand four-wheel drive will also kick in when inclement road conditions are detected.
The driving experience is good if not exactly exceptional.
The 2.2-litre diesel,, mated to a slick seven-speed dual clutch transmission offers decent performance and good economy.
There's a choice of driving style, selected via the touch screen Go for eco for maximum economy with stop/start capability or for a more engaging drive, switch to sport, which sharpens up engine and gear response and suspension settings.
Economy of nearly 58mpg is claimed with lowish emissions for a four-wheel drive of 129g/km.
This can give a staid, comfortable drive or a more sporty adventurous drive depending on your mood. For the most part the ride is good, but can be unsettled on some lesser roads.
Steering is responsive and handling good and it is a quiet place to be, even a high speeds and sitting on 18-inch tyres.
Noise levels are reducedby Active Noise Cancellation, which emits sound waves from the four door speakers to negate any instances of booming noise emanating from the diesel. Sound-damping materials further reduce the impact of unwanted noise.
A hatchback is by definition practical and the Q30 is. Boot space excellent, with 430 litres, which will increase with the rear 60/40 split seats folded. There a plenty of other cubby holes available.
This little Infiniti is a striking looking car to the exterior and luxuriously fitted inside with competitive starting price.
Infiniti Q30 Premium Tech 2.2d 4WD
Mechanical: 170ps, 2,143cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via 7-speed automatic gearbox
Max Speed: 134mph
0-62mph: 8.5 seconds
Combined MPG: 57.6
Insurance Group: 22
C02 emissions: 129g/km
Bik rating: 27%
Warranty: 3yrs/62,000 miles
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