Drivers must resist the temptation to tear up the roads in the Q30 Sport and V40 Cross Country, for these premium crossovers both pack a wallop.

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Drivers must resist the temptation to tear up the roads in the Q30 Sport and V40 Cross Country, for these premium crossovers both pack a wallop. 

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NO, your eyes are not deceiving you. The Infiniti Q30 Sport and Volvo V40 Cross Country might look like hatchbacks, but they have slightly taller ride heights and are marketed as crossovers by their respective brands. 

And although these crossovers are not deemed “hot”, a quick glance at their technical specifications will have you thinking otherwise. 

The Q30 has 208bhp and 350Nm, while the V40 possesses 190bhp and 300Nm. Both crossovers are powered by turbocharged 2-litre engines, but surprisingly, the more powerful Q30 takes slightly longer than the V40 to complete the century sprint (7.3 seconds versus 7.1 seconds). 

The difference in acceleration is probably down to the Q30’s all- wheel-drive system and heftier mass. At 1540kg, it weighs 70kg more than the V40. 

Between the two crossovers, the V40, launched in 2012, is the more established one. 

But the Q30 isn’t totally new – Infiniti’s first contender in the premium hatchback segment is actually a rebodied Mercedes- Benz GLA, the crossover version of the A-Class hatchback. 

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Hence, although the Q30’s curvy body is designed by Infiniti, its interior is almost entirely from Mercedes. 

If you’ve ever driven a GLA, you’ll notice that the Q30’s seats, dashboard, steering wheel and air- con controls are all from Mercedes. Even the pedals are mounted too close to the driver, just like in the GLA. 

This equipment-sharing, however, means that the Q30’s fit-and-finish is a notch above the V40’s. 

This is not to say that the V40’s cockpit isn’t a nice place to be in. On the contrary, the V40 feels more high-tech than the Q30, thanks to its digital instrument cluster with three selectable display settings. 

Comfort levels in the V40 are also higher. The seats are the best in the business, and the chunky steering wheel is a lot nicer to hold. And the pedals aren’t located too near to the driver’s feet. 

But, unlike the Q30’s pedals, the V40’s are not covered in alloy and rubber studs. 

The V40 also doesn’t have an electronic parking brake, but its biggest drawback is its unintuitive infotainment system. 

Unlike the Infiniti’s touchscreen-operated unit, the V40 presents users with a bunch of buttons on its centre console. Navigating through the menus and tweaking settings requires you to press buttons and turn knobs. It’s cumbersome, to say the least.

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For backseat occupants, the V40’s cushy yet supportive bench is preferable to the Q30’s. But the V40’s rear accommodation would have been even more comfortable and complete if it had air- con vents and a handy 12- volt outlet like the Q30. 

When it comes to boot space, the Q30 is far more practical, for its 430-litre cargo capacity edges out the V40’s by a whopping 106 litres. The Q30’s boot also has a 12-volt socket, which might be useful in an emergency. 

On the go, it’s the Q30 that delivers a more electrifying drive. Despite its slower century sprint time, the Q30’s acceleration feels more urgent (once the turbo kicks in) and its meatier midrange is more satisfying. 

And because the Q30’s motor has a wider powerband and redlines at 5500rpm instead of 4700rpm in the V40, it offers better tractability, too. Complementing this are the quick-shifting 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox and paddle-shifters.

The V40, however, is no slouch. If you’re just driving in Singapore, the 190bhp beneath this Swede’s bonnet is more than adequate. The V40 zips away from traffic lights and leapfrogs slower vehicles with a pace not unlike that of a hot hatch. 

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Apart from its zippy performance, what’s really impressive about the V40 is its vault-like feel. Like other Volvo models, the V40 seems unshakeable. The sense of security is amplified when you think about all the safety features, such as Whiplash Protection System and Side Impact Protection System, that come as standard. 

Also standard in the V40 is a weighty helm, which is weightier than the Q30’s. It certainly adds to the V40’s solid feel, but I suspect it’s there to discourage drivers from driving too hard, despite this crossover’s suspension being tuned for just that. 

The V40’s ride, though not harsh, is firm. The body ably resists cornering forces and responds well to directional changes. Again, for city driving, this sort of agility is more than adequate. 

The Q30, on the other hand, is both nimble and surefooted. Thanks to its all-wheel- drive system, the Q30 gives the driver more confidence while cornering, especially in wet conditions. Naturally, the trade-off is a stiffer ride compared to the V40. 

Although it is older, the V40’s updated powertrain has kept the model up to date. The Volvo’s only weaknesses are its less intuitive controls, smaller boot and heavier steering. 

The Q30 shines as Infiniti’s first premium crossover, but it, too, has its flaws. Technically, there is nothing wrong with sharing platforms and components, but Infiniti should have taken the chance to remedy Mercedes’ missteps, which include the closely mounted pedals and a firmer-than-expected ride. 

That said, it’ll still be harder for drivers to mind their P’s and Q’s in the Q30, for its performance will really tempt you to tear up the roads.