Today’s review of the Infiniti QX30 is brought to you by the letter C. C, as in collaboration, compact and crossover – all words that apply directly to this all-new vehicle from the Japanese automaker.
Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder
Power: 208 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque
Transmission: seven speed dual clutch
Fuel Economy: TBD
Pricing: Expect it to start at just over $30,000 (USD)
See, this new compact crossover from Nissan’s luxury arm was developed with some help from a German rival: Daimler, the folks behind Mercedes-Benz. In fact, the platform and powertrain are all Mercedes derived, and you can get a very similar car to the QX30 with the Mercedes GLA 250.
But there’s more to the QX30 than just being a re-skinned Mercedes. It features a nicely crafted cabin, more refined driving dynamics and is offered in a number of different variants that will surely appeal to luxury buyers.
Three Different QX30s
Infiniti wants customers to think of the QX30 as a whole family of vehicles. That’s because it is offering three versions of it: the base QX30, the QX30 Sport and the QX30 AWD, with each featuring unique characteristics to help them stand out from one another. Each model comes with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 208 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. A seven-speed dual clutch transmission with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters is also standard equipment. Base QX30 models feature a 6.7-inch ride height and come with 18-inch wheels and LED daytime running lights as well, with bigger wheels available as extra cost options.
The QX30 and the QX30 Sport are front-wheel drive and if you want it any other way, you need to get the QX30 AWD model. The QX30 AWD features a raised and stiffer suspension over the base QX30, and other rugged touches like fender extensions, roof rails and unique front and rear fascias that look similar to skid plates. The QX30 Sport, on the other hand, is lower and stiffer than the base QX30, and features cross-drilled brakes, 19-inch wheels with summer tires and its own set of front and rear fascias that are more aggressive looking.
Space and Size
One of the bigger complaints we had with the Mercedes GLA is the amount of rear seat space for passengers. Sadly, the QX30 offers even less passenger volume than the GLA, but provides more cargo room, with 19.2 cubic feet of storage behind the rear seats. This is more than the Lexus NX, BMW X1 and Audi Q3. Despite being called a crossover, the QX30 and QX30 AWD are actually lower in height than most of those aforementioned cars. Only the GLA 250 is lower than the QX30 AWD, by 0.2 of an inch.
Infiniti is also promising to sell the base QX30 for just over $30,000 in the U.S. including destination. Official pricing isn’t quite set in stone yet, but we’ll get a better idea of the pricing once the car hits dealerships later this summer. Additionally, the QX30 AWD will start just more than $35,000, while the QX30 Sport, which comes with a moonroof and navigation, is expected to start at just under $40,000.
On the Road
Competing with such cars as the BMW X1, Audi Q3, Lexus NX and Mercedes GLA isn’t easy, but a low price tag, several available models and attractive styling will help Infiniti move units. And once you drive a QX30, things get more impressive, too.
Unlike the GLA it has so much in common with, the QX30 feels far more refined, particularly in regards to the powertrain. Where we found the seven-speed dual clutch to be lazy and jerky in the GLA, the QX30 felt much more normal in comparison. Like the GLA, though, there are three different modes for the transmission: sport, economical and manual. The economical mode is the default mode and works as expected, while the sport mode holds gears and downshifts aggressively. The manual mode was pretty responsive, but isn’t quite up to the speed of other dual clutch units out there.
All-wheel-drive variants of the QX30 feature a front-wheel biased system that can shift 50 percent of the power to the rear wheels as needed. It’s not exactly the most sophisticated system, but it should be more than enough for what the buyers of this car are looking for.
The QX30 is also different from the Benz because it uses a console-mounted shifter rather than a column-mounted one like the Mercedes. While this takes up more space in the cabin, it’s far more natural to change gears with the stick next to you instead of using a stalk where the wiper controls are typically located.
The engine is quick enough and you won’t be wanting much more power, although high-speed passes will take a little extra planning. The thrust of the turbo is pretty good, although the QX30 AWD felt a little less spritely off the line. I’d chalk that up to extra weight, as the all-wheel drive adds more than 100 lbs to the weight of the car. Still, the porkiest version of this vehicle (QX30 AWD with the Premium package) weighs under 3,500 lbs, meaning the engine should be quite efficient. On our highway and rural drive route, I saw the trip computer report just around 30 mpg on average.
The ride quality is top notch. It’s smooth, confident and reminds me of the bigger vehicles Infiniti offers. This is very unlike how the GLA feels in relation to its siblings, where it stands out like an unrefined mess. In particular, the steering and handling of the QX30 is good. It’s engaging without being too much work. The QX30 Sport features a slightly quicker feeling steering rack, but in general, the car features a consistent feel from its electrically power-assisted tiller. One small disappointment is noise – the QX30 never sounded bank-vault quiet like luxury buyers might expect.
Despite the noisiness, however, the interior of the QX30 is beautiful. It’s asymmetric and heavily customizable with a number of different color schemes and finishes to choose from. Simply put, it’s ahead of the competition, save for maybe the Lexus NX, which is a bit over styled. Base models feature cloth seats, while Sport models blend leatherette with an Alacantara-like fabric called Dinamica. Higher-end trim models come with soft Nappa Leather, and these fabrics are found in other places throughout the cabin including the dash, console, headliner and pillars. Infiniti also tweaked its seats to provide better spinal support by reducing the downward pressure on the pelvis and torso. After being in the car for a few hours at a time, there were few complaints from my back, which can be a common complaint in small cars. The seats are easily described as comfy and supportive.
There are specialty packages that enhance the interior aura available. The Gallery White package sticks pretty white Nappa leather in the car with contrasting red stitching, red accents and LEDs along with black Dinamica headliner. That package also comes with unique 18 inche wheels and satin black silver caps. QX30 AWD models can be had with a Cafe Teak package, that features gorgeous brown nappa leather with wood trim. All QX30 Sport models come with a flat-bottom steering wheel, aluminum pedals and seats that feature an integrated headrest.
The amount of standard features on the QX30 is pretty generous, and include dual-zone automatic climate control, rear view cameras, and power folding mirrors. Two trim levels and several additional packages and up the equipment available in the car, but one more interesting feature is the technology package that adds a number of driver assistance systems including adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring and lane departure warning.
The Verdict: 2017 Infiniti QX30 Review
The all-new QX30 came about thanks to a collaboration with Daimler, but Infiniti is offering much more with its compact crossover than its Mercedes-Benz cousin does. Not only is Infiniti promising a great price, but the QX30 is more refined and dare I say stylish than its German counterpart. For a first-time entry in this segment, the Japanese automaker has knocked it out of the park.
Discuss this story on our Infiniti Forum