Infiniti Q30 logo

Infiniti Q30

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heycar review

      Launch year
      2015
      Body type
      Family hatch
      Fuel type
      Petrol, Diesel
heycar editorial team

Written by

heycar editorial team

00/10
heycar rating
“Nissan’s attempt at Audi A3”

Best bits

  • Very solid build quality
  • Five-star Euro NCAP rating
  • Good entry-level diesel engine

Not so great

  • Poor ride and lacklustre handling
  • Not all that practical
  • Cheaper versions poorly equipped

Read by

Infiniti Q30 frontleft exterior

Overall verdict

Infiniti Q30 front interior

On the inside

Infiniti Q30 backleft exterior

Driving

Infiniti Q30 frontleft exterior

How much does it cost to run

Infiniti Q30 boot open

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict

"The Q30 was supposed to be the turning point for Infiniti in the UK. With the advent of this premium hatchback, which was designed to dust it with super-popular rivals like the Audi A3, BMW 1 Series and Mercedes A-Class, British people would finally notice the Infiniti brand and take it to their hearts, just as those in Japan and the United States had done."

Infiniti Q30 frontleft exterior

This newfound success and desirability would then filter up to the company’s range of big, expensive saloons and SUVs, and before long, those in charge of the firm would skip merrily into the sunlit uplands of financial prosperity, high-fiving and sipping Mai Tais all the way. That was the plan, anyway.


Unfortunately, it didn’t quite work out like that. Not by a long shot. So much so, in fact, that it’s entirely possible that you’ve never even heard of Infiniti. Well, for those of you not in the know, Infiniti is - well, was - a luxury brand run by Nissan, in much the same way that Lexus is Toyota’s luxury wing.


We say ‘was’ because the company has since given up trying to sell new cars in the UK - well, the whole of Europe, actually - instead concentrating on the markets where folks are already convinced about its products. 


In fairness, this embarrassing climb-down wasn’t entirely the Q30’s fault. It wasn’t a terrible car when judged in isolation. Having said that, though, it wasn’t a terribly good one, either, and when competing with the style, desirability and popularity of Germany’s finest, it simply didn’t stand a chance.


And that’s perhaps a little odd, because it had much in common with one of them. Under the skin, the Q30 shares most of the same oily bits as the Mercedes A-Class, except these bits were lashed together in Nissan’s factory in Sunderland, rather than on the outskirts of Stuttgart.


Unfortunately, rather than ensure the same level of success as the A-Class, this approach meant that the Q30 inherited many of the A-Class’s worst shortcomings. Poor ride comfort was the most problematic (although to be fair, the Infiniti actually does a little better on that score than the Merc), but limited practicality, mediocre performance, lacklustre handling and a few annoyingly un-intuitive controls were also on the list of shortcomings. What’s more, refinement wasn’t very good, not enough standard equipment was included, cabin quality was behind that of rivals, and - probably worst of all -  the prices for the car were nothing short of preposterous. 


The car wasn’t completely without merit. It had a good entry-level diesel engine, it was very sturdily built (at least the chaps in Sunderland kept up their end of the bargain) and it has a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating. It also looks pretty good, and the fact it’s so rare will make it an appealingly left-field choice for some. 

And, while the car’s catastrophically weak resale value put the final nail in the Q30’s coffin, they do mean that used examples are comparatively affordable. So, if you’re after a posh hatchback, just not the same one that everybody else has, the Q30 might be worth a look.

Is the Infiniti Q30 right for you?

If you like the idea of a premium hatchback in the mould of the Audi A3, BMW 1 Series or Mercedes A-Class, but you also want your car to be a talking point, then it might well be. Buy any one of the German offerings, and any conversation starting with “what are you driving these days” will be very short indeed, as these cars need no introduction. The Infiniti Q30, meanwhile, will take rather more explaining, because there are lots of people who’ve never even heard of this Japanese luxury carmaker.


It will also suit you if you want your premium hatchback to be more of a left-field, out-there choice than its rather ubiquitous rivals. After all, not everyone wants to follow the herd. However, there’s a reason that the established contenders are established: because they’re pretty darn good. In truth, the Infiniti is less so, and in a great number of areas, so you will pay a price for daring to be different.

What's the best Infiniti Q30 model/engine to choose?

The engine you want is very easy. The 1.5-litre diesel is the quieter and smoother of the two diesel engines, and it’s also the most efficient. It keeps the car’s purchase price down and it’s perky and powerful enough to have you rolling along at a very decent rate. We’d also stick with the (slightly notchy) manual gearbox in order to minimise purchase prices, but we wouldn’t blame you if you upgraded to the seven-speed twin-clutch automatic.


The trim level you want is less clear-cut, because there were so many of them over the car’s lifetime, and each had rather strange differences in spec. Go For a version with the word Tech in the name, and it’s likely to have all the luxury kit that you’d want. Bear in Mind, though, that Sport Tech cars will be considerably more expensive than Premium Tech or Luxe Tech cars, and won’t come with any more than a few styling goodies.

What other cars are similar to the Infiniti Q30?

We’ve already mentioned them a couple of times in this review, and we’ll mention them lots more by the time we’re through, but there’s no harm in mentioning them again here. The Q30 has three main rivals, those being the established premium hatchback triumvirate of the Audi A3, BMW 1 Series and Mercedes A-Class. There are others vying for your cash, though. Lexus is a company that’s similar to Infiniti in a number of ways, and those guys have a contender in the Lexus CT 200h. You might also consider other posh(ish) hatchbacks such as the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, Volkswagen Golf or Volvo V40.

Learn more

Infiniti Q30 front interior

On the inside

Infiniti Q30 backleft exterior

Driving

Infiniti Q30 frontleft exterior

How much does it cost to run

Infiniti Q30 boot open

Prices, versions and specification

Ask the heycar experts: common questions

Who makes the Infiniti Q30?

Under the skin, the Q30 shares most of the same oily bits as the Mercedes A-Class, except these bits were lashed together in Nissan’s factory in Sunderland, rather than on the outskirts of Stuttgart.

David Ross

Answered by

David Ross

What is the difference between Infiniti Q30 and QX30?

The QX30 is the more rugged 'crossover' version of the Q30, with pseudo off-roader looks.

Andy Brady

Answered by

Andy Brady