EXCLUSIVE! We have tried out the Infiniti Q30!

The Car Guide was invited to try out the new Infiniti Q30 before anyone else! (OK, we really just got the first chance to sit in it at the Frankfurt Motor Show, but that’s better than nothing.)

First of all, from an esthetic standpoint, the Q30 is actually quite attractive. I know, that’s clearly a matter of taste, but the Q30’s very compact dimensions (it will be competing against the BMW 2 Series, Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz CLA) and its hatchback configuration give it well-balanced styling. It’s nice because it doesn’t look like it’s trying too hard. The boomerang-shaped D pillar (between the rear side windows and the rear window) probably doesn’t improve visibility but it does make the overall look even more dynamic.

The Q30S sport model is a bit lower to the ground, with a more aggressive design and larger tires (19 inches instead of 18). It will definitely be pricier, but should still be popular, or at the very least, should draw more admiring glances than the base or premium models. I might add that the wheels on the sport model on display in Frankfurt were gorgeous. Let’s hope that Infiniti Canada decides to offer them.

A touch of Infiniti…

In the interior, you can still recognize the Infiniti touch, even though it’s less obvious than before. The style is there, but it's not as flashy as the exterior. In the base model, the interior is all-black and seems well put together on the whole—just what you’d expect from this automaker. But the cabin of one of the cars at the show featured a new imitation suede together with white topstitching and leather, a really beautiful combination. Just like the two-colour seats, which are presumably an option.

The dashboard has a classic look. The various controls are easy to reach and operate. The driver’s gauges are a pure Infiniti product: simple, clean, and well laid out. They straddle a high-definition screen. The small gearshift lever comes directly from Mercedes and hints at AMG-like performance, but I doubt that’s really what you get. We shall see.

… and a touch of Mercedes-Benz

The partnership with Mercedes-Benz is quite apparent here and there. For example, near the gearshift lever, the button that lets you select Sport, Manual or Eco mode comes directly from the German firm’s parts inventory. I think that Infiniti would have done better to present its own design, even if it didn’t change the button’s operation in any way. We already hear so many complaints about how Lincolns are nothing more than gussied-up Fords, and now here’s Infiniti doing some copying and pasting of its own. (At least it’s copying a prestige brand.) Lastly, and this is very subjective, I found the steering wheel pretty ordinary, to tell you the truth.

The front seats, for the one minute that I sat in them, seemed comfortable, as were the ones in the rear, although the seatback was a millimetre too square to suit me and the doors didn’t open wide enough to allow easy access. Rear legroom is acceptable, as long as the person sitting in front of you shows a little kindness.

The rear seats fold down 60/40. There’s a ski flap too, but in the vehicle that I inspected, it didn’t seem to open. Since this was a pre-production model, I bet this detail will be corrected soon. The trunk sill seemed a bit high to me. Under the trunk floor, there was no spare tire, but a compressor to repair minor punctures and a large “sub”  (at least on the model I saw).

The Q30 made a good impression on me. The QX30, a raised version that will be unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show this fall, will resemble it in just about every respect, except that it will be higher off the ground. Is it wise of Infiniti to offer two vehicles that are practically identical? Only time will tell!

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