Infiniti QX30 vs BMW X1 vs Mercedes GLA (Infiniti QX30)

The QX30 is the second small car from Infiniti, and it follows the template set out by the Q30 hatchback in that it uses tlie same running gear as the Mercedes A-Class. In that respect, it’s the same as the GLA, although Infiniti offers only a single drivetrain: a 2.2-litre diesel with an automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive. The range comprises Premium and Premium Tech trims; the former costs £29,490 and the latter, tested here, is £33,370.

Styling 4.0/5

Infinitis are still rare on UK roads, but the design language helps them to stand out. All of the brand’s cars feature sculpted lines and a big grille flanked by small headlights, and the QX30 is no different.

infiniti-qx30-dashboard

Interior: While the cabin feels good, it uses lots of parts from Mercedes, such as climate controls. Rear could be roomier, althought there’s plenty of tech.

infiniti-qx30-navThe QX30 shares its running gear with the Mercedes A-Class, but Infiniti has done a good job of hiding the car’s roots, because it has entirely different bodywork, although it is essentially a Q30 with a raised ride height and extra cladding. It sits 55mm higher than the hatch, but is the same length and width, so it’s more like a crossover hatch, especially when you compare it with the SUV-styleX1.

infiniti-qx30-side

That’s not to say that the QX30 is without visual appeal, though. Far from it – the swooping lines are attracuve, and it looks less awkward than the GLA. From some angles there’s a hint of Mazda 3 about the car’s design although the black wheelarch extensions, silver roof rails and skid plates front and rear add a bit of ruggedness to the looks. There’s a single 18-inch wheel option, but the tall tyres and plastic cladding mean they’re a little lost in the arches when compared with some of the larger wheels you can get on the Q30.

Climb aboard and the QX30 Premium has a high-class cabin that matches the Q30 Premium’s. There’s leadier as standard, wood trim and plenty of kit, although that also means you get a lot of obviously Mercedes-sourced switchgear. The climate controls are identical to those of the A-Class, even down to the A-Class graphic on the air-recirculation button, while the electric seat controls are located on the door, the electrically operated parking brake is by the driver’s right knee and the electric window buttons are identical to those of the Mercedes.

infiniti-qx30-trunk

Design: Rear end treatment gives Infiniti a swoopy, stylish look, but has an adverse affect on luggage space which is the smallest here with the seats up or down.

Build quality is good, and the leather-stitched dash insert adds a premium touch, but there are some hard plastics on the centre console and doors that let down the cabin. However, the QX30 is certainly no worse than the GLA in this regard.

infiniti-qx30-side

Driving 3.8/5

There’s just one drivetrain in the QX30 – a 2.2-litre four-cylinder diesel engine with a seven-speed automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive. It’s essentially the same as the GLA 22od 4MATIC, although its 168bhp is 9bhp down on the Mercedes.

Like the Mercedes, the Infiniti has plenty of engine noise outside, although decent sound deadening in the cabin means it’s fairly quiet.

Acceleration is merely reasonable; we managed a o-6omph sprint time of 8.8 seconds, which was behind both rivals, although the QX30 was marginally faster than the Mercedes in gear.

infiniti-qx30-front

On the road: QX30 accelerates reasonably briskly, but is at its best when up to a cruising speed. In town, the steering is light and the suspension gives the ride a ‘bobbling’ feel.

The Infiniti features the same seven-speed gearbox as the GLA, but with only three modes to choose from, compared with five in the Mercedes. There are Eco, Sport and Manual modes, with the last of these giving you full control of the box via the steering wheel-mounted paddles. Eco mode delivers a dull throttle response to boost economy, but the Sport setting just holds on to the gears rather than sharpening its responses. The gearshifts themselves are smooth in standard mode and jerkier in Sport, although ifs not as severe as the GLA’s shifts.

The soft nature of the QX30 is further evident in how the chassis copes with rough surfaces. While the soft suspension and tyres soak up bumps fairly well, the car does tend to bob around. This manifests itself with a floating sensation when cruising at motorway speeds, while the light steering doesn’t deliver much in the way of feedback. However, it’s no worse than the GLA in this regard, and is at least a fairly comfortable cruiser.

Body roll is reasonably well controlled in corners, but again the soft suspension does tend to unsettle the car, although it remains safe and predictable.

Ownership 3.7/5

The QX30 has yet to be tested by the crash test experts at Euro NCAP, but its sister car, the Q30, has been and achieved a five-star rating.

Still, the crossover has city braking, seven airbags and lane-departure warning as standard, while the £1,800 Safety Pack adds adaptive cruise control, park assist with 360-degree cameras and blind spot warning – although the warning lights for this are at the base of the windscreen pillars, a little way apart from the mirrors, which makes them tricky to spot.

infiniti-qx30-side1

Infiniti’s dealer network has expanded to include 14 franchises. Although that’s still some way short of the BMW and Mercedes networks, Infiniti’s concierge-style service should set it apart. If your car has to be in the workshop for a service or any other work, the company will deliver a courtesy vehicle to your door. Well be interested to see how owners rate this when we get enough responses for the brand to rank in our Driver Power satisfaction survey.

Running costs 3.9/5

At £33,370, the QX30 2.2d Premium Tech is£48o more than the X1 Sport, although you could save nearly £4,000 by going for the Premium model and you wouldn’t feel short-changed for kit. There are no finance offers on the QX30 just yet, butyou can get a Q30 in a similar spec with a £4,330 deposit, £2,500 dealer contribution and 36 monthly payments of £358. Thafs similar to what is available on a GLA 22od, albeit with a larger initial deposit.

Resale values of 46 per cent are reasonable for a car from a niche firm such as Infiniti. But the BMW is a better company car choice and is also more efficient.

Practicality 3.5/5

Even though the QX30 uses the same platform as the GLA, its differing body shape means it has less space in the back. Its 430-litre boot is 51 litres smaller than the Mercedes’ and 75 litres down on the BMW’s. The relatively small opening and high boot lip don’t help matters, and there’s no under-floor storage.

infiniti-qx30-rear-space

Back seat space is similar to the Mercedes, as is the driving positioa which provides the same range of seat and steering wheel adjustment However, the raised footrest is awkwardly positioned for those who have long legs.

The narrow back window and thick pillars make rear visibility poor, so it’s worth adding the £1,800 Safety Pack, which comes with a 360-degree camera.

HEAD TO HEAD


Size

bmw-x1-trunk-compare

BMW X1’s trunk

These three cars show the sheer breadth of bodystyles you can get in the class. The X1 is almost SUV-sized, while the QX30 is far more of a raised hatchback. The GLA falls between these two with a larger boot than Infiniti, but cabin space is still on the small side. In reality, the BMW us the most SUV-like of the trio.

Parts sharing

q30-and-gla-rearq30-and-gla-keys

The relationship between the QX30 and GLA is obvious inside. The Infiniti has the same cliamte controls, window switches and single column stalk, while their keys are similar, too. The X1 shares its platform with the MINI Clubman, but both cars have their own distinct look.

Dealer service

infiniti-dealer

Infiniti makes a big deal about its personalised customer service. But we’ve yet to recieve enough responses for the brand to appear in our Driver Power survey, so we can’t see if this is reflected in owners’ views – and whether the dealers perform better than the BMW and Mercedes networks.

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