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Ground clearance and trunk capacity ?

13880 Views 17 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Indiana Jones
Hi all, I’m about to buy a Q30 and I’m still puzzled about a couple of things : ground clearance and trunk capacity. Granted, this is not of earth shattering importance but since, overall the car ticks all the boxes, at least mine, those two are bugging me.

Re. ground clearance, the Infiniti brochure does not specify anything while different websites indicate 7.5 to 8.3 in.

Re. trunk capacity, the Infiniti brochure specifies 15 cu ft. whereas all websites state a capacity of 13 cu ft.

Where is the truth ?
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I personally would go with what the Infiniti brochure says.
The Q30's ground clearance is 7.5 inches and the QX30 has a bit more ground clearance than the Q30. That may be where the confusion is coming from so if you want to sit a bit taller than the QX30 may be the way to go. As for the cargo capacity, it should be 430 liters so that's around 15.18 cu ft. Maybe the larger luggage volume is when the seats are folded down?
Thanks Indiana, 7.5 inches is good enough, on a par with most SUV bar the Mazda CX5 and Subaru Crosstrek. In fact when I tested it, I had a similar feeling, in terms of ride height and headroom, as when I tested the Subaru which has a record 8.7 ground clearance and is, like the Q30, not very tall overall. In fact it felt so good that I just ordered the Q30 anyway.
I finally found the true figures given by the designer himself, Alfonso Albaisa, Infiniti Executive Design Director :

"The Q30 Premium's elevated stance (170mm at the front axle) allows for a higher hip point (531mm), which aids ingress and egress. The A-pillar design is intentionally slim, contributing to enhanced visibility for a confident driving experience. Q30 Sport stands a little lower (155mm at front axle), providing for agile ride and handling.

The Q30's coupe-like design belies its interior space and functionality. Cabin room is highly competitive, notably the boot capacity of 13 cubic-feet (368 liters VDA), which ranks among the best in the premium compact §egmènt."

170 mm is 6.7 inches
I found out that VDA is a german standard for cargo calculation using wood blocks of 1 liter volume each and it is just possible that 368 VDA liters translate into 430 liters
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Glad we got some slim pillar but that might not be a good thing come time to see a frontal crash test, last thing i'll want to see is that front pillar be compromised. But as far as i've seen, Infiniti has had a good safety history. Anyone concerned about this?
I'm not too concerned considering it's listed as the safest car in the small family car segment.
Guess most drivers don't really feel marginal ground clearance height differences like the 2 inches between the Q30 and the Subaru Crosstrek.
Besides the obvious advantage of off-road capability (which also of course largely depends on other characteristics of the vehicle), a high ground clearance naturally provides a high ride which is comfortable in heavy urban traffic as it makes you feel kind of "above the fray".

The Subaru Crosstreck is a case in point; it is the archetype of the Crossover, i.e. very capable off-road while also very competent on roads and motorways, thanks to its unusual engine architecture (flat four boxer engine) which provides a very low center of gravity despite the vehicle high ground clearance. A pity its petrol engine is not turbocharged and its automatic gearbox is a CVT, otherwise I would have bought it without hesitation.

Coming back to the Q30, it shares some similarity with the Crosstreck in the sense that they are both kind of sporty-ish looking cars with an elevated stance, although of course with infinitely more elegance and class in the Q30 case.

Now I would agree with Indiana that the ground clearance height difference is relatively meaningless for the majority of drivers (who don’t contemplate going off-road anyway and certainly not with a Q30), except for this not unpleasant “above the fray” feel.
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That “above the fray” feel may be exatly why more and more buyers are moving towards CUVs and SUVs, that's certainly one of the main reasons why I would choose those segments of sedans. And of course the additional cargo space.

While the Crosstrek may be more off road capable, it's certainly no looker compared to the Q30 and the most off road I'll probably ever go are those somewhat uneven and packed dirt roads.
I go Crossover/SUV for the higher field of vision so I can see farther than I would if I were driving a sedan. I've driven them both and I just can't go back to sitting so low to the ground. Also won't worry as much about bottoming out when it comes to speed bumps and pot holes.

SUVs and Crossovers are just overall utilitarian and that's probably why the segment has been expanding in leaps and bounds.
I just find that driving in a specific way that allows you to see what's going on ahead works well for me. It requires some swerving in your lane to see around cars but it works, as long as you're always looking ahead, which you always should.
Way back, until the 50‘s, cars were high slung and even before then, way way back, they were even higher slung and required running boards, only sports cars were low slung, awkward to get in and out and downright uncomfortable.

Then roundabout the 50’s, the automotive industry started to take a long hard look at aerodynamic drag in car design and from then on, everybody’s cars were lower and lower slung, to such an extent that they became as uncomfortable as sports cars.

Roundabout the 80’s, rich people started to develop a fancy for high slung AWD vehicles, probably as another way to be “above the fray”, they were already using rugged Land Rovers on their estates and they now wanted to use luxury Range Rovers on the roads and posh quarters. The automotive industry followed suit, forgot about aerodynamic drag, and made more and more money in developing more and more luxurious AWD cars. This new fancy for such vehicles grew and finally caught on with the rabble, since everybody likes to be "above the fray" and there are always poorer people than you, it’s just a question of financial scale.

Hence this fantastic gimmick invented by the automotive industry with the complicity of the press : the SUV or CROSSOVER, which is a standard vehicle, more or less high slung, generally only FWD and cheaper and cheaper. Economy of scale permitting, this enables more and more people to be “above the fray” until such time the “fray” will reach a new level since everybody will have joined it.

The good thing about this is that we’ve come full circle and we’re back more or less to the 50’s standards in terms of vehicle height and ground clearance and thus our cars have become again easy to get in and out and comfortable.
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Wasn't aware that the original driving market for higher sitting AWD vehicles were the rich. Always though people started moving towards SUVs and crossovers because we've realized that sitting higher up is more convenient to get in and out of, better visuals and there's more trunk space. But then again, I'm still in my twenties so my generation pretty much grew up with vehicles that were slowly getting more and more ground clearance over the years.

I just had to look up vehicles that existed in the 50s and at most they look to have around 4 inches of ground clearance at most.

Ford model T (1921-1925) : 9.25 inches
Ford 8 (7Y) (1938-1939) : 8.8 inches
Ford Anglia (1948-1953) : 8.8 inches
Most British cars from 1930’s to 1950’s : from 7.5 inches to a minimum of 6 inches
Austin/Morris Mini (1960’s) : 6 inches

Two examples are of particular interest :

The ground clearance of Aston Martin cars was 8.5 inches in 1955, 7 inches in 1958, 5.5 inches in 1972 and bottomed down to 4.3 inches in 2001

The Jaguar E type ground clearance was 7.2 inches in 1961 and went down to 5.5 inches in 1974

Nowadays so called SUV’s typical ground clearance ranges from a minimum of 6.7 inches, like the Q30, to mostly 7.6 inches and occasionally up to 8.8 inches, like the Subaru Crosstrek or Mazda CX5 (I am of course not taking into account true AWD cars with very high GC like the Jeeps for example).

It is interesting to note that the Q30’s GC is comparable to that of typical British cars of the 30’s to 50’s and that the GC of highly slung SUVs like the Subaru or Mazda is similar to typical Ford cars of the 30’s to 50’s but is still lower than that of a Ford Model T.
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So what we consider SUV and CUV ground clearance was what the average 4 seater sedan had around the 50s. Somehow, that makes me feel a little ripped off...
Why should you feel ripped off if you’re comfortable both in body and mind ?

Comfortable in body, because, as Indiana says, you sit higher up (that is to say higher than typical sedans of the last 30 years) and therefore ingress and egress are easier and visual field is better.

Comfortable in mind, because let’s face it, AWD or SUV/CUV are status symbols, probably more so in Europe than in North America I grant you, but still … It all started in the late 70’s, at least in Europe.

Before then, back in the late 60’s/early 70’s particularly in the UK, people wealthy enough to drive around town with Jaguars, Bentleys or Rolls liked, for recreation purposes such as fox hunting or show jumping events, to slum it with what was called a Shooting Brake. Shooting Brakes were elegant swanky and sporty-ish looking two doors estate cars. The best examples of such cars were the Reliant Scimitar GTE or the Volvo P1800 ES; A number of celebs were fond of the Scimitar (as I was I must admit, not celeb I mean, just fond of the car), Princess Ann at the time owned up to eight such Scimitars; which explained why such cars were considered status symbols. Let’s note that those were not high slung cars, their ground clearance was only 5 to 6 inches which at the time was typical of “low slung” sports cars but of course, in these days, the height of fashion in motoring was the sporty-ish look.

Then Land Rover launched the Range Rover, a swanky AWD with a ground clearance of around 12 inches. This was a very big and high slung vehicle which, apart from having excellent off-road capabilities, allowed the driver to really dominate the situation and definitely be “above the fray”. In short a godsend to the high and mighty, not really for the off-road capabilities which were neither here nor there, but certainly for the impressive look and the “above the fray” feel. Very soon, when slumming it in show jumping events, Princess Ann was no longer seen with any of her Scimitars but instead with dominating Range Rovers. This vehicle became in turn “the” new status symbol and it was soon fashionable for the well offs to run around town with such vehicles. The height of fashion in motoring was no longer the sporty-ish look but instead the adventurer look.

It is worthy of note that in 2004, Charles Spencer King, the designer of the Range Rover, criticized SUV owners who drove their vehicles in urban areas, saying that vehicles like the Range Rover he created were, in his own words : “never intended as a status symbol but later incarnations of my design seem to be intended for that purpose”

You know the rest, the Range Rover and it imitations were the front runners of what is now known as SUV or Crossovers. Over the decades, this trend of high slung cars gained momentum and eventually, through specification downgrading, became cheaper so that more people could afford the status symbol they represent.

The moral of this story is that, deep down, the motivation to acquire an SUV has often little to do with a desire for comfort but is mainly driven by a quest for status.
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From what you describe, historically it may be true that the motivation to sit higher and higher was driven by the want for status but these days I think the ground clearance has more to do with comfort of driving. I've driven plenty of sedans and sports cars and the ease of getting in and out of one along with the improved vantage point and increased cargo space just makes the SUV an all around better segment.

I'm sure there are those out there who does want to sit higher than everyone else, especially the people who likes to lift their vehicles but the majority just likes SUV and CUVs for the features that they provide.

Not criticizing your post though, it is very informative as are most of your other posts and I'm not as well informed of the automotive industry as I would like to be.

Side thought, the fashion these days are to own extremely powerful, fast and log slung super cars that dominates the streets. Interesting how we've gone in a completely different direction now.
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