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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

2018 INFINITI QX30 Review

2018 INFINITI QX30 Review
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The 2018 Infiniti QX30 stands apart from the crowd based on its styling, but it’s also worth considering for its zippy handling.

The 2018 Infiniti QX30 is a pint-sized crossover with eye-catching styling and a remarkably Teutonic personality.

It’s tight inside and can get pricey with options, but the QX30 has its charms and thus rates a 6.2 out of 10 on our scale.


After bowing last year, the QX30 is unchanged this year. It’s available in base, Premium, Luxury, and Sport trim levels that share a 2.0-liter turbo-4 engine, a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic, and are available with either front- or all-wheel drive.

Cross-shop the QX30 against the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class and you’ll notice similarities behind the wheel. They’re based on the same, largely Mercedes-developed architecture, and the Infiniti has numerous switches and buttons inside plucked straight from Mercedes’ parts bin. Even the engine and transmission are Mercedes units, although the QX30 is assembled at a Nissan plant in England rather than alongside the GLA in Germany.

The QX30’s pint-sized dimensions reveal a predictably tight interior, but it’s well-finished with high-end materials on most trim levels and optional nappa leather upholstery that can be matched to matte wood trim. However, the front-wheel-drive-only base model’s manually adjusted cloth seats and black plastic interior bits may surprise buyers who associate Infiniti with more luxurious inner trappings. Then again, they run just north of $30,000, which undercuts most rivals, and all QX30s have a generous 4-year, 60,000-mile warranty.

Infiniti fits every version of the QX30 with seven airbags and a rearview camera. The automaker offers advanced safety tech like adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, and lane-departure warnings for an extra cost on higher trim levels, but the price can escalate quickly. The QX30 hasn’t yet been crash-tested by either federal or independent testers.

Styling
Dramatic pinched and tugged styling elevates the 2018 Infiniti QX30 over its rivals—if you like the look, that is.

We give the 2018 Infiniti QX30 props for its dramatic, swoopy roofline, even if its looks can be a bit quirky and polarizing. It’s more conventional inside, which is why we’ve awarded it 6 out of 10 points for its styling.

Credit Infiniti for making the QX30 look nothing like the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class on which it’s based. Even with the two models lined up side-by-side, there are no shared cues. The GLA goes for the mini-’ute look, while the QX30 has more of a stylized hot hatch feel to it—even with its dark-finish fender flares.

By far the most notable visual cue outside is the QX30’s rearmost roof pillar, which cants rearward then forward to create the automaker’s now-signature Z-shape flair. It’s kitschy to the point of almost being overstyled, but we think the sharp design merits applause simply for standing out in a sea of increasingly homogeneous compact crossovers.

Front-wheel-drive versions sit a little lower to the ground than their all-wheel drive brethren and they feature a slightly cleaner exterior appearance. The front-drive-only QX30 Sport trim level has its own more aggressive front and rear fascias and rides on 19-inch wheels instead of 18-inchers found on other trims.

Inside, the QX30 is far more traditional with its vertical, well-organized center stack and a high-mounted infotainment screen. Most of its interior controls are Mercedes parts, and that’s just fine with us. Higher-grade versions of the QX30 feature padded and stitched surfaces for an upmarket look in line with prices that can escalate quickly with optional equipment. 

Performance
The 2018 Infiniti QX30’s zippy handling makes it fun to drive, but we want a little more from its engine room.

The 2018 Infiniti QX30 may be marketed as a crossover, but it handles more like a hot hatch—and that’s just fine with us.

We’ve given this lineup an extra point for its polished road-holding, even if its engine and transmission are just average. 

The QX30 is available in two basic flavors—front- and all-wheel drive. Both variants share the same Mercedes-Benz-sourced turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 rated at 208 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. A 7-speed dual-clutch transmission shuttles power either forward or to all four corners.
All-wheel-drive versions sit a little higher but that’s more for looks and a slightly better outward view than off-road performance. There’s a subtle, but noticeable difference in the way the two versions of the QX30 tackle the pavement. Both variants ride about the same, although the QX30 all-wheel drive’s thicker rear sway bar gives it a marginally stiffer feel. On a twisty road, however, the front-drive variant feels a little more alive as it encourages drivers to push further. Sport models have their own suspension settings and are even more fun, albeit with a slight detriment to ride quality imposed by their 19-inch wheels.

The inline-4’s turbo spools up quickly but its power delivery can be hard to modulate thanks to the snappy accelerator pedal tuning and there’s more underhood rumble than we’d like to hear. For the most part, the 7-speed fires off quick shifts, but it can feel a little confused at low speeds. Steering wheel-mounted shift paddles let drivers fire off their own gear changes in Manual mode, too.

Comfort & Quality
There’s not much back seat room in the 2018 Infiniti QX30.

The 2018 Infiniti QX30 has a nicely finished interior, but it offers very little room for rear-seat passengers.

Although its wheelbase is on the long side for a small luxury crossover, the QX30’s interior feels quite cramped thanks to its low roofline. Front seat passengers have comfortable seats designed to reduce spinal fatigue that are power-adjustable in all but the base trim level, but the rear seat is tight for two and nearly impossible for three passengers.

Cargo space is similarly trim, although its 19.2 cubic feet of room is actually a cube larger than the related Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class.

The QX30’s interior is nicely finished, even at the entry level. Soft-touch materials abound and the fabric upholstery on base models is convincingly nice and a relatively rare find for a premium-branded vehicle. Luxury and higher trim levels have seats wrapped in nappa leather hides and their dashboards are covered in stitched vinyl, which is probably more in line with what most buyers expect from an Infiniti. Wood interior trim is available on the QX30 Premium.

Even with the optional 19-inch alloy wheels, the QX30’s interior is more hushed than many of its rivals.

Safety
The 2018 Infiniti QX30 is available with a slew of high-tech safety features, but you’ll have to go full-boat to get them.

Federal and independent testers haven’t yet evaluated the 2018 Infiniti QX30’s safety, so we can’t assign it a score here.

Nonetheless, there’s still plenty to talk about. All QX30s have seven airbags as standard including a driver’s side knee airbag, as well as the expected stability control and anti-lock brakes. A rearview camera is also included.

However, the optional advanced safety tech—a surround-view camera system, lane departure warnings, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitors, and automatic emergency braking—are grouped together in a $2,200 package available only after you’ve selected $1,850 worth of navigation and $1,000 worth of LED headlights on Premium trim levels. On the QX30 Sport, those features run $1,200, but they again require $1,000 in LED headlights.

The safety tech packages are not available on base and Luxury trim levels of the QX30, something of a surprise given that Infiniti parent Nissan has made many of those features standard on far less expensive sedans and crossovers.

Features
A wide range of trim levels means there are many ways to outfit a 2018 Infiniti QX30.

The 2018 Infiniti QX30 is offered in a wide range of six trim levels, some of which can be further customized with option packages.

Range-topping models are as decadent as their eye-popping price tags suggest, but the base trim level is a bit spartan. Additionally, Infiniti’s hefty 4-year, 60,000-mile warranty merits an extra point, bringing this crossover to a 7 out of 10 here.

The base QX30 is only available with front-wheel drive. It comes standard with fabric upholstery, 18-inch alloy wheels, eight-way manually adjusted front seats, a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, dual-zone automatic climate control, and keyless ignition.

Next up is the QX30 Luxury, which adds nappa leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats with memory, and synthetic leather trim on the dashboard. An extra $1,800 nets buyers all-wheel drive with a slightly raised ride height. The QX30 Luxury isn’t available with any individual options aside from paint and upholstery colors.

The QX30 Premium includes a Bose audio system, automatic windshield wipers, a panoramic moonroof, and a few smaller goodies. All-wheel drive is optional, as are several packages. Unfortunately, the packages build on one another, meaning you’ll have to start with $1,850 worth of navigation before you consider adding $1,100 for LED headlights or $2,200 for a slew of safety gear including automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warnings, and adaptive cruise control.

Topping the lineup is the QX30 Sport, which can only be ordered with front-wheel drive. It includes a lowered sports suspension, grippier seats wrapped in a combination of synthetic suede and synthetic leather, and 19-inch alloy wheels, plus a surround-view camera system. Navigation is a no-cost option and is required to add on more option packages that include items like full leather upholstery and a suite of safety tech like automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control.

Fuel Economy
The 2018 Infiniti QX30 is among the most efficient small luxury crossovers.
The 2018 Infiniti QX30 is reasonably fuel-efficient, even if it requires expensive premium unleaded gasoline.

Front-wheel drive versions are rated by the EPA at 24 mpg city, 33 highway, 27 combined, which is enough to score 7 out of 10 on our scale.

Not surprisingly, all-wheel drive versions are a bit thirstier at 21/30/25 mpg.

The QX30 features a stop-start system that cuts out the engine under low load situations at idle to further save fuel that would normally be wasted at, say, traffic lights.

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