I’ll be honest, Japanese brand Infiniti is one that I did not know a great deal about, and the chances are that you are in a similar boat. What I did know before my drive is that it’s Nissan’s answer to Lexus – a more premium arm of the brand. The brand started in 1989, selling cars in North America, but it would be another 20 years before the cars made their way to the UK. So in that respect, the brand is still young and in the UK, but it’s growing more and more. In fact, it was the fastest selling brand in the UK last year, although the sales figures are dwarfed by the likes of BMW, Mercedes and Audi.
That aside though, let’s focus on the car in question – the new QX30. It’s a taller version of the Q30 hatchback, and is based on the same platform as the Mercedes A-Class. It starts from £30,195 with two trim levels available – Premium and Premium Tech. The model tested here is the latter, meaning it comes with features such as Nappa leather seats, power front seats, navigation, rear view camera with front and rear view parking sensors, and dual zone climate control.
Just two engines are available for the QX30; a 2.0 litre petrol that produces 208bhp and a 2.2 litre diesel which produces a modest 167bhp. Both are mated to a 7-speed auto and all-wheel drive, but the range-topping Premium Tech is only available with the diesel. As well as 167bhp offered, the 2.2 litre unit produces 350Nm of torque and is able to offer up to 57.6mpg on a combined run.
What’s It Like To Drive?
I wasn’t too sure what to expect from this car, but one of the first – and persistent – words that came to mind was ‘smooth’. The car sets off effortlessly and the 7-speed auto works away in the background with minimal fuss. On the open road it’ll change from one gear to the next seamlessly, meaning that even your hairs are unsettled. You can can of course take charge yourself by using the paddles and perform the changes yourself, in which you’ll find a nice response each time you change up or down.
The car feels pretty dynamic, but if you want something with more pace then you’ll have to look elsewhere as the QX30 is more about refinement than providing a sporty edge. The power delivery does provide a decent amount of grunt though, so it should be enough for most buyers. Back to refinement though, the inside is a nice place to be; the diesel engine is quiet at cruising speeds although it does become a little droney as you get towards the top of the rev range.
The steering has got a nice weight to it, although this is not an SUV you will really enjoy throwing in to the bends. The grip is ok, but it’s not amazing and there is a bit of body roll, natural for an SUV. The QX30 is not awful in the corners, but if you’re looking for something that is going to be fun on country road, then the QX30 will not be for you. But in fairness, this is an SUV designed more for refinement and comfort.
This is an area where the QX30 does well, the ride is soft and it glides across the tarmac. It’s a comfortable place in which to sit and I imagine one would be able to eat up a fair few miles with little problem. The cabin remains quiet as you cruise along, although there was a bit of tyre noise coming from those 18″ alloys. One the whole though, the QX30 is a comfortable, refined SUV in which to drive.
One gripe I have with the QX30 though is the touchscreen system, which felt small, although it is 7 inches. It just feels a tad lost in the dashboard if you ask me and it’s not too easy to operate on the move as it feels like a stretch to get to. Thankfully there are shortcut keys as well as a dial to make navigating the system easier, which was most welcome to me.
It was good to have the opportunity to test an Infiniti model, and to see what the brand was all about. The QX30 may not be the best all-round SUV and it won’t have the badge appeal of its German counterparts. However, if you’re looking for a refined, comfortable SUV, which is something a bit different, then check out the QX30 as it’s definitely one of the most comfortable SUVs I’ve ever driven.