2018 INFINITI QX30 Review

QX30

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2018 INFINITI QX30 Overview

Now entering its second model year, the INFINITI QX30 compact crossover carries on into 2018 with zero changes—everything from pricing to option packages remains the same. With a mix of high-end appointments, a unique design, and a starting price of just under $30,000, it’s aimed primarily at empty nesters and urban-dwelling millennials. Developed alongside Mercedes-Benz, the QX30 also shares a lot of DNA with the Mercedes GLA-Class.

You’ll notice the Mercedes influence as soon as you venture inside the QX30—power seat controls are located on the door, as in a Benz, and the switchgear is straight out of Stuttgart. So are the turbocharged 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder engine good for 208 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, the 7-speed dual-clutch transmission, and the optional all-wheel-drive (AWD) setup, all of which are sourced from Mercedes. Only the “fluid” design, center console-mounted shifter, seats, vents, and optional navigation system are unique to the INFINITI, although the automaker says the two cars are designed to drive and handle differently. The GLA is built in Germany, while the QX30 comes from the UK.

The QX30 itself is a bit of an in-betweener—smaller than most crossovers, more luxurious than most compact vehicles. INFINITI’s marketing materials make liberal use of the word “active” to describe the target buyer and “premium” to describe the vehicle. For $29,950 (plus $995 destination and handling), these buyers can get a base QX30 that comes with premium appointments like heated power-folding mirrors, dual-zone climate control, and puddle lights that shine down from the side-view mirrors to illuminate driver and passenger entry points. Like every other front-wheel-drive (FWD) QX30, fuel economy for the base trim is 24 mpg city, 33 highway, and 27 combined. Still, the entry-level QX30 lacks the truly premium features and has a limited number of available options—you can’t add AWD, leather or leatherette upholstery, power seats, navigation, active safety equipment, premium dashboard trims, seat heaters, an upgraded audio system, a panoramic moonroof, or larger 19-inch wheels. The rear passengers don’t even get an armrest.

To get a more upscale experience, you’ll have to step up to the QX30 Luxury trim. Starting at $32,600, it adds leather seats with memory, power, and heat up front; leather dashboard trim; footwell lamps; and a rear armrest. The Luxury AWD trim gets all the same features as well as an AWD system developed by Mercedes. It starts at $34,400, and fuel economy drops to 21, 30, and 25. No matter which drivetrain you choose, however, active safety, navigation, and a moonroof still aren’t available.

The most luxurious features aren’t offered until you reach the QX30 Premium trim, which is priced at $35,300 with FWD and $37,700 with AWD. Upgrades include LED fog lights, a panoramic moonroof, rain-sensing wipers, chrome and aluminum exterior trim, and a 10-speaker sound system. But the real benefit of choosing the QX30 Premium is that it unlocks a range of options. The $1,850 Navigation package adds a navigation system and INFINITI’s InTouch Services app-and-security suite to the existing 7-inch touchscreen. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, however, are not available.

You’ll have to add both the Navigation package and the $1,000 LED package (which comes with LED adaptive front headlamps and LED interior lighting) to the QX30 to unlock the $2,200 Technology package. The Technology package comes with lane-departure warning, intelligent cruise control, auto high beams, blind-spot warning, forward emergency braking, a surround-view camera, and INFINITI’s Intelligent Parking Assist. In other words, in order to get blind-spot detection—a common option on lower-priced cars—you’ll need to spend at least $40,350 for the Premium trim and the required option packages.

Other options available with the QX30 Premium trim include a $500 Dark Wood package—not available with the Technology package, for some reason—and two special interior packages that each cost $1,750. On the FWD QX30 Premium trim, the Gallery White Theme package adds a white leather interior with red contrast stitching and red-accented wheels. On the QX30 Premium AWD, the Café Teak Theme package will get you genuine wood trim, unique brown leather upholstery, and graphite accents.

At the top of the QX30 lineup is the Sport trim. At $38,500, it’s the priciest QX30 and doesn’t come with AWD. Instead, it receives a lower ride height, a sport-tuned suspension, a blacked-out grille, unique 19-inch wheels, aluminum door sills, and dark chrome exhaust tips. Inside, seats with integrated headrests finished in leatherette and suede-like fabric, aluminum-accented pedals, and a flat-bottom leather-wrapped steering wheel are standard. All active safety, infotainment, and upgraded trim options are the same as at the Premium trim level, with two exceptions—both Intelligent Park Assist and the surround-view camera come standard on the Sport, while the Gallery White and Café Teak packages are not available.

Updated

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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