Lovely things come in small packages.
When you learn a lesson well, you should put that knowledge to work, right? That must be what Infiniti was thinking. The brand’s lineup is filled with larger cars and crossovers, but lacked the smaller, entry level luxury that its competitors have brought to the market lately.
Rather than just jump into this market, Infiniti has taken a measured approach and partnered with Mercedes-Benz to build its first small crossover: the Infiniti QX30. The model offers a lot in a small package—smarts and luxury.
Who this car is for:
- Drivers who are upgrading to their first luxury car
- Buyers who want a luxury car at a non-luxury price; pricing starts at about $30,000
- Drivers who only occasionally have passengers in the second row
- Singles, couples or small families
- Early adopters who love to be the first with a cool new thing
- Urban drivers who need agility and flexibility in the city
- Drivers who love a sporty driving experience
- Drivers who need the flexibility and capability of a crossover
- Drivers who appreciate the ground clearance of a crossover: The QX30 is 7 inches from the ground, typical for a crossover and not as high as an SUV
- Buyers who value fuel economy: we averaged 26.7 MPG on our short test drive
The first QX30 ever—but don’t let that scare you
The QX 30 has some of the most regal DNA of any car. First, it’s an Infiniti through and through; it shares some of it’s architecture and its engine with the Mercedes Benz GL, it has the looks and feel of a luxury car and drives like its loved and respected siblings, the Q50 sedan and the QX50 crossover.
Here’s why this new model is so attractive:
- The crossover segment is the hottest car segment—buyers and drivers love them; the small crossover segment is the hottest.
- The QX30 is part Infiniti, part Mercedes-Benz: Nissan partnered with Mercedes-Benz to develop the platform for this car, which is manufactured in Sunderland, England; the MB counterpart is the GLA, and when you put them side by side, you can see the resemblance.
- The engine (a 2.0 liter turbo) is made by Mercedes-Benz, too, though it’s “tuned” by Infiniti, which means they’ve tinkered with it to make it sound and feel like the other engines in the brand’s lineup.
- This is Infiniti’s first entry-level priced car, starting at just under $30,000 and topping out at just over $40,000. For the same price of other non-luxury small crossovers you can have the intuitive zen that is Infiniti and some very cool features such as a kick-activated lift gate and Bose sound system. Options include a panoramic sun roof, touchscreen navigation and safety features such as adaptive cruise control, automatic high beam lights and a lane departure warning system.
- Run flat tires are standard, and Infiniti is moving to put run flats on all their models. Big yay.
- Great MPG: All wheel drive is an option, but so is front wheel drive, giving you a choice of drive type and MGP; we averaged almost 27MPG in the AWD on our short test drive (about half a tank of gas) and would guess that the front wheel drive model will do slightly better.
However, a bit of caution:
Two features that we found concerning are the gear shift and the adaptive cruise controls.
The gearshift is designed to ‘pop’ back into a central position after you’ve selected your gear. To select your gear, push the selector forward for reverse and pull it back for drive; the shifter pops back into its central spot once your gear is chosen. To put the car in park you have to push the “P” button. This type of design is increasingly associated with issues including the recent accident that killed actor Anton Yelchin.
The adaptive cruise control is another function we love but question the decision to put it on a stalk just under the turn signal stalk (which also includes the windshield wiper controls). This is typical of Mercedes Benz but not Infiniti, which usually has cruise control buttons on the steering wheel. Drivers will need to take a look and understand how it works before driving; figuring it out while driving can be distracting and result in too much time with eyes off the road.
I would consider buying this car if I didn’t always have kids in the back seat and a constant need to haul stuff, but this car or one like it may be in my future soon. There are not a lot of luxury brands in the small crossover category, but here are the ones I’d also consider: Lexus NX200t, Lexus NX300h, Nissan Murano, Mazda CX-5, and of course, the Mercedes Benz GLA.
Here’s a look at the QX30 we drove:
The front cabin was roomy and filled with luxury touches
Some of the lush appointments in the sport edition 2017 Infiniti QX30 include suede trim on the doors and seats. Notice that the seat adjustments are similar in style to typical seat adjustment buttons in Mercedes-Benz models.
The center console in the QX30 has lots of function: buttons to control radio and climate, two cup holders, two USB charge ports (as well as a 12V in the arm rest and a 12V on the back of the console for back seat passengers), a small space for keys or change, and a dial controller at your fingertips for managing the touchscreen (to the left of the cup holders).
The back seat is small but comfy–good for sometimes passengers but less for everyday passengers.
The QX30 has a surprisingly roomy rear cargo area; the cargo cover is removable and seats fold down for even more space.
Infiniti was one of the first to market with the surround view cameras, which are featured in the QX30.
Isn’t she pretty? The 2017 Infiniti QX30 against the backdrop of Washington State’s Puget Sound.
Disclosure: I was Infiniti’s guest for this test drive; travel and accommodations were provided. All opinions expressed here are my own.