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2018 INFINITI QX30 Overview
The INFINITI QX30 arrived in 2017 as the brand’s contestant in the hot subcompact crossover segment. A fact obvious to loyalists of either brand, this is not a normal INFINITI. The interfaces, engine, platform and even the door handles and key fob are all from Mercedes-Benz. In fact this crossover is more or less a Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class with INFINITI styling. And for 2018, there are no changes.
Inside, there’s seating for five, and 19.2 cubic feet of space behind the seats, which grows to 34 cubic feet with the split-folding rear seats down. Still, there’s more evidence--the instrument cluster, the door switches, the seat shapes, the key--to remind you that this is a German car under all of that flowy design-work. About the only hard piece that comes from INFINITI is the infotainment system, a unit seen in other INFINITI models.
The QX30 makes use of a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder engine worth 208 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, along with a 7-speed dual clutch automatic, again both from Mercedes-Benz. The basic drivetrain routes power to the front wheels, but there’s an optional all-wheel-drive system, which also comes with a 1.2-inch ride height increase. Fuel economy is 24 miles per gallon city, 33 highway and 30 combined for FWD models, or 21, 30, and 27 for AWD models, on premium fuel.
INFINITI spreads the QX30’s contents across six trims. Base comes standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, paddle shifters, keyless access and start, power folding outside mirrors, a 7.0-inch infotainment system, leatherette upholstery, and 4-way power driver lumbar adjustment.
Luxury gets leather upholstery, 8-way power front seats with memory, 4-way passenger lumbar adjustment, heated front seats, and a leatherette stitched dashboard insert. Luxury AWD tacks on 18-inch wheels, more-rugged front and rear fascias, roof rails, and bigger fender flares.
Premium comes with a Bose 10-speaker audio system, a panoramic moonroof, a garage door opener, LED fog lights and aluminum kick plates, and heated washer nozzles, while Premium AWD merely adds the AWD system.
Sport tops out the range with 19-inch gunmetal alloy wheels, unique front and rear fascias, sport brakes with cross-drilled front rotors, sport seats with partial-suede upholstery, a flat-bottomed steering wheel, a lowered sport suspension, and dual dark chrome exhaust tips. Sport, like Base, is only available with FWD.
On the safety front, every QX30 gets six airbags and a reversing camera. Scaling the trim ladder brings rain-sensing wipers, a parking assistant, blind-spot monitoring, high beam assist, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking. The QX30 was awarded an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick award for 2017, the most recent time it was crash-tested.
The INFINITI QX30 doesn’t excel in any one category. The usable cargo space is on the small side, the powertrain is adequate but not exciting, and there’s no gee-whiz technology to make it stand out. About the only thing that separates it from its GLA-Class cousin is INFINITI’s swoopy, organic-inspired styling. That said, it competes more in a premium than luxury sphere, so think of vehicles like the Buick Encore, Volvo XC40, and slightly larger vehicles from plebeian brands that punch above their weight. Viewed in that lens, and with a price that barely crests $45,000, the QX30 makes a lot more sense.
A member of the New England Motor Press Association who has owned everything from a Town Car to a Prius, Keith has contributed automotive coverage to outlets including Wired, Car & Driver, and USA Today.
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