Infiniti Q30 1.6T

Reliable vehicle to attack the premium hatch sector

"Is the Q30 a reliable substitute for the A-Class?" said Issam.

"Infiniti remained authentic to the original design concept of the Q30."

"The double-arch grille with 3D mesh has grown from the Q50, with a more fluid movement into the headlamps."

Partnership and cooperation between the giant car companies has been a popular trend the past few years. It is all about cost cutting by sharing the same platforms, engines, gearboxes, etc. That's the case with Infiniti when it comes to their new Q30. Renault-Nissan Alliance signed a deal with the German giant manufacturer, Daimler, to share some of the components to produce the Q30.

I still recall my first drive of the Q30 back in Portugal almost a year and a half ago. Here I am once more, in Beirut, picking up the striking Q30 premium hatchback with the 1.6 turbo petrol engine from RYMCO, official distributor of Infiniti in Lebanon.

Whenever I jump in the car, it's immediately clear to me that the interior's flat-bottomed steering wheel, air conditioning and radio controls, instrument cluster and door-mounted electric seat adjustment are taken from Mercedes-Benz. You might ask yourself: why not get an A-Class and stop wandering around? The answer is, quite simply: price tag. Yes, it is the main concern nowadays with any customer wanting to acquire a vehicle in general. This segment is the entry model at Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz too.

Other key differences that I both noticed and felt at the same time, include the Q30's styling (which was kept true to the original design concept), the cabin (leather dashboard top is a nice touch and precisely implemented space with suede and Alcantara elements joining laser-cut leather trim, piano black dashboard materials and a seven-inch touchscreen with "InTouch" remote control buttons) and most significantly, the driving experience.

How does it drive on Lebanese roads? Well, from my standpoint it drives pretty well, as a general overview. I barely felt the road noise inside the cabin. It is pretty comfortable too. The driving is slicker compared to an A-Class.

Under the hood, as you may have guessed from the model name, is a 1.6-liter four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine. It produces 154 horsepower at 5,300 rpm and 250 Nm of torque at 1,250 to 4,000 rpm, and is teamed exclusively to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. There are three drive modes to choose from - economy, sport and manual - with the paddle shifters option behind the steering wheel.

Verdict
After a weekend on board the Q30 1.6T, there's no doubt it is a capable vehicle. As I said, it offers interesting styling for newcomers to the brand, decent value for money (especially in the Lebanese market with high custom duties on cars) and strong standard features compared with the Mercedes-Benz A-Class. There is also the option to get the "Q30 S" fully equipped, AWD and with the 2.0T engine, but if you're roaming around the city, the 1.6T is more than enough.

one word: original
3.5 stars
Rivals: Audi A3, BMW 1 Series, Mercedes-Benz A-Class, Volkswagen Golf, Volvo V40
Pros: Gallant styling, deluxe interior, enjoyable to drive, decent rear trunk
Cons: Rear passenger legroom likely limited (as with other hatchbacks), lacks authenticity inside the cabin versus key rivals

Specs:
1.6L DOHC turbocharged, 4-cylinder inline, 154 hp @ 5,300 rpm, 250 Nm @ 1,250-4,000 rpm
7-speed auto DCT, FWD
0-100 km/h: 9.4 sec, top speed: 200 km/h, fuel consumption: 5.7 L/100 km
Weight: 1,477 kg

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