TEST DRIVE | 2016 Infinity Q30 (UK)
This is my first drive on an Infiniti brand car. This isn’t because I have something against them, but because they’ve never really been available in the UK before.
If you have never heard of Infiniti then let me fill you in quickly. Remember back in the early 90’s when Lexus showed up on the scene and gave Mercedes & BMW a good run for their money with their new-money luxury cars? Well as I’m sure you already know they were just posh Toyotas.
Toyota decided that they were bored making every day cars and wanted a share of the premium car market, and so they came up with Lexus.
Well Infiniti is pretty much the same idea, but this time it’s Nissan trying it.
During the early 90’s when Toyota decided to take on ze Germans with Lexus they saw rather a lot of success, this was mostly because people were bored with what Mercedes and BMW had on offer and wanted something new & modern. I’m not for a second saying that the early Lexus models weren’t good enough to take on the Germans head to head, they were great, and I know many people that chose to buy a Lexus LS400 rather than a 7 series or an S class.
The problem that Nissan have with their Infiniti range is that people aren’t bored with Mercedes or BMW right now, and Audi are on fire and very trendy at the moment too, so do people really want a new marque or do they want the snobbery that comes with a German badge?
Because of this I’m not going to compare the Infiniti Q30 with a German marque, instead I am going to run it agains’t it’s main rival the Lexus NX. But also because I think it looks very similar and is priced very similar I’m comparing it to the Mazda CX-5 too.
I have the cheapest of the range on test, priced at £20,550 ($29,500). For this you get rather nice alloy wheels, single zone manual a/c, a single shot CD player and what I think is great standard kit – front collision alarm and auto stop. Apart from quite of a lot of airbags that’s it for standard kit at this money.
The Lexus NX basic model starts at £29,995 ($43, 173) but that is with a hybrid engine so there are some tax breaks in the UK with that. The Mazda CX-5 starts at £23,195 (£33,386), for this you get the same sort of kit, but with dual zone climate.
So the Infiniti wins on price, but it doesn’t end there, it really does look pretty good, it’s available in some slightly iffy colours and the grille for me looks a bit too like the Lexus but otherwise there are no complaints.
Where the style really starts to shine though is inside the cabin. It just feels very modern compared to the Mazda. You can spec many different finishes and colours on your interior trim so you can make it just how you would like it, but be careful, personalise it too much and you’ll never sell the thing on when you’re done with it!
As I had the basic model, under the bonnet was a 1.6 turbo petrol engine with only front wheel drive. If you want a bit more engine and all wheel drive you will be looking at another £11,00 ($15,826) which I think is a bit steep personally.
To go bigger and all wheel drive in the Mazda costs from around £3,000 to £5,000 ($4,316 – $7,193). So while you may think the basic car is very reasonably priced, as I did, when you start playing with the options it can start to get a bit silly.
I can’t really talk to much on what the driving experience was like because it doesn’t really do anything that bad or that brilliantly, it’s a nice drive and you would be pleased with it everyday, but nothing really stands out.
The seats are mightily comfy and all the buttons are where you would expect them to be, it does feel very well bolted together, you can tell that Nissan do care about the production of these and nothing at all about it felt in anyway Nissan’y, it does have the feel of a quality product.
So should you buy an Infiniti Q30?
My problem here is that all the time I’ve had the car I’ve been comparing it to the Mazda CX-5 because that’s what I feel it most closely matches. Not that there is anything wrong with the Mazda but you wouldn’t call them a premium brand would you? Where that is what Infiniti are trying to be.
For me I would rather they badged it as a Nissan and built it this well, it would do wonders for that brand which to be fair, doesn’t anything that exciting going on in the UK right now apart from the GT-R.
If I was buying a cross-over or a small suv I’d still buy the Dacia Duster, for the basic price of this you can get a fully specced up Duster and still have enough change for a holiday.
If you want a posh badge that will impress the neighbours, then get a German. Which is exactly what you have been doing and will continue to do, isn’t it?