The Infiniti Q30 represents a shift in the Japanese company's range. The stylish hatch is an all-new car in the Infiniti line-up and the Japanese brand's first compact model. And, in a departure from Infiniti's modus operandi, production started last year in England, the first time any of its cars have been built outside Japan.
As interesting as that is... even more interesting is the Liquid Copper colour our Q30 2.2D Sport Premium was finished in. The tone shifts from copper, to champagne, to rose gold, to bronze depending on the light. It was certainly polarising around the office, and although it wasn't a hit with everyone, I really liked the chameleon-like behaviour of the paint.
And that may very well be the reason I was allocated it over the recent long weekend. Initially, that was a bit unfortunate. I had my best friend coming to visit from Queensland, and her partner and child were joining us a day later. Add my daughter to the mix and we had three adults, one teenager and a child to cart around in a small hatch... not ideal.
I had been hoping for a larger car to play 'tour guide' in over my extended long weekend. However, right from the outset, the Q30 proved itself to be the right car to handle everything Sydney threw at us. My BFF arrived at Sydney airport early on the Thursday morning and it was crawling with people. Now, we all know how frustrating it can be to be told to 'look for the white SUV' – geez that narrows it down! On the flip-side, 'look for the pink car' literally narrowed it down to one option and we were out of the war zone that is Sydney Airport in record time.
After the colour and its arguably stylish looks, the next thing that jumped out at me was its lack of a second stalk behind the steering wheel. Other than a paddle-shifter, the right side was bare which felt odd. The left stalk handled windscreen wipers, indicators and high-beam. Of course, I discovered this by trying to indicate and simultaneously activating the windscreen wipers and high-beams. Oops. After you've done that once, you won't do it again.
It's a gorgeous sunny day and a tour of the usual Sydney highlights was the first order of business – we headed over the Harbour Bridge, stopped at the bottom of McMahon's Point to admire the view, and then headed back through the city to the Opera House. Cliched true, but that's Sydney for you.
Infiniti market the Q30 as a 'crossover' and it's even listed as a small SUV in the segment breakdown. However, even if you squint really hard, there's no way this is a small SUV. It's a city car, a hatch, or simply a small passenger car. As Trent pointed out in his launch review, it has less ground clearance than a Mazda 3. As such it is a city car, and that's nothing to be ashamed of. It was fun to zip around the city in... and navigate the crazy Opera House car park.
It was a great way to test the steering because that car park is a nauseating, seemingly never-ending spiral down multiple levels. Upon reaching the bottom we still hadn't found a parking spot, so we began the uphill corkscrew and finally found one. The electrically assisted power steering was direct and light, but still had enough weight to remain solid around the never-ending corner in the Opera House car park.
My friend was surprised to discover the Q30 was powered by a diesel. It has a 2.2-litre four cylinder turbo diesel engine teamed with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission that drives the front wheels and delivers 125kW of power and 350Nm of torque. Though it is considerably refined, there is no mistaking it's an oiler. Being able to access the torque lower in the rev-range makes it a confidence-inspiring thing to drive in the busy Sydney traffic too, and it's particularly punchy in sport mode.
The rest of the crew flew in the next day to take part in a long weekend junior soccer tournament at North Narrabeen. The team bus had transported our visitors from the airport to the fields, but we had to pick them up. North Narrabeen is not somewhere you just 'pop' to from the Eastern Suburbs. The traffic along Military Road, Spit Road and beyond is consistently thick and slow moving and the road isn't great at times. The Q30 Sport and Sport Premium have sports suspension, and despite being firmer than the softer GT variant, it's still quite a comfortable ride and softens road joins, potholes and uneven surfaces.
Among the sea of young soccer enthusiasts and hundreds of cars, the directive to 'look for the pink car' again saved us a lot of time. And here came the real test – three adults, a teenager and a child had to squeeze in and, hopefully, remain comfortable for at least an hour or so.
In the front the sports seats with integrated headrests are really nice. They're finished in Nappa leather with white contrast inserts and they are well bolstered and hug you firmly in place. The Sport Premium variant also gets a panoramic sunroof, which was enjoyable in the spring weather, whether you were in the front or the back.
The rear seats are a similar design, and all three back seat passengers were impressed with the comfort level. Though, climbing in was a different story. The rear doors are lacking in height and width, making it feel like you're trying to squeeze through the door to visit Frodo at Bag End – the Hobbit-hole in Hobbiton located in Westfarthing, which is one of the four farthings that make up the Shire. Okay, maybe it's not that bad, but it is a tight squeeze.
Once inside though, it's not ridiculously cramped for a small car and our three passengers had little to complain about. The Q30 2.2D Sport Premium has dual-zone climate control and rear air vents. The rear seats are 60:40 split fold, and there's an armrest with pop-out cup holders and ski-hatch through to the 430-litre boot that easily accommodated three people's luggage.
Once we'd collected the rest of the tribe from the soccer fields, it was time to drop my three visitors to the hotel they'd be staying at for the rest of the weekend. I didn't know where it was and went to enter the destination into the satellite navigation system. The 7.0-inch touchscreen can also be navigated using a dial controller located near the gearshift, but some menus required a combination of both touch and dial. I had a massive issue with this. It only responds to pressure from the pad of a finger, not a fingernail. So trying to touch an icon tucked tightly in a corner of the screen was incredibly difficult.
It did feature speed sign recognition, which was a huge help, especially given that it was double demerits over the long weekend. Every time we passed a speed sign, it would pop up in the instrument cluster display giving a clear visual alert that the speed limit had changed. Being the top-specification Q30, it has a host of safety features including forward collision warning with emergency braking function, front and rear parking sensors, blind spot monitor, around view monitor with moving object detection, lane departure warning, park assist and adaptive cruise control. There's not much more you'd want or need.
When it comes to comfort and convenience, the list is similarly impressive with heated front seats, auto LED headlights, fog lamps and rear lights, auto-dimming rear view mirror, keyless entry and push button start, rain sensing wipers, Bluetooth connectivity, two USB ports and more.
It has a very distinct exterior style with sharp angles and sweeping lines. There are dual exhaust pipes at the back that accentuate its sporty stance, as do the 19-inch alloy wheels with run-flat tyres.
We spent hours on the road over the long weekend to cover a comparably minute number of kilometres – a lot of time was spent crawling in queues of traffic. The claimed urban fuel consumption is 6.2-litres per 100 kilometres and we saw 8.2L/100km over the course of the five days, not too bad.
The Infiniti Q30 is unequivocally an attention grabber, from the styling through to the colour of our test car. The interior is comfortable and nicely finished, the Nappa leather seats particularly worthy of praise. It may have its quirks, but overall it served our party of five well.