By on January 9, 2017

2017 Infiniti QX30 AWD - Image: © Timothy Cain/The Truth About Cars

2017 Infiniti QX30 AWD

2.0-liter I4, DOHC, turbocharged (208 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm; 258 lb-ft @ 1,200 rpm)

Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, all-wheel drive

21 city / 30 highway / 25 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

10.6 city/ 8.0 highway/ 9.4 combined (NRCan Rating, L/100km)

30.2 mpg [7.8 L/100 km] (Observed)

Base Price: $30,945 (U.S) / $37,985 (Canada)

As Tested: $45,495 (U.S.) / $48,635 (Canada)

Prices include $995 destination charge in the United States and $1,995 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada.

Look familiar?

The 2017 Infiniti QX30, launched in the United States in late August, is the product of a now tenuous partnership between the Renault-Nissan Alliance and Daimler. There’ll be more such vehicles, most notably the Mercedes-Benz X-Class pickup truck that uses the Nissan Navara as its foundation.

That truck won’t come to America. But by procuring the Mercedes-Benz GLA’s architecture, Nissan now has an entrant in the rapidly growing subcompact luxury utility vehicle sector. Built in Sunderland, England, rather than the GLA’s German factory, the Infiniti QX30 shares its powertrain with the GLA250 and benefits from an Infiniti renovation.

Fittingly, there’s a meaningful discount available for a buyer who’s willing to consider the Infiniti variant instead of the original Benz. A fully optioned 2017 Infiniti QX30 AWD enters the playing field with a haughty $45,495 MSRP, absent a number of features you’d expect on a much less costly car, lacking the space of a typical compact car, and deprived of the illustrious three-pointed star that adorns its twin. Yet this QX30 costs roughly $5,000 less than a comparably equipped Mercedes-Benz GLA250 4Matic.

$5,000 less, but better. Marginally better.

TUNED
The improvements, however modest, begin with Infiniti’s own tuning of the 208-horsepower turbocharged 2.0 liter and the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission to which it’s married. Less frantic and more subdued, the QX30 may not be quite as quick off the line as the GLA250, but it’s generally smoother to operate. It remains a quick vehicle — 258 lb-ft of torque just above idle is an admirable figure in a 3,500-pounder.

2017 Infiniti QX30 AWD - Image: © Timothy Cain/The Truth About Cars

Unfortunately, there’s no perfect mode in the dynamic selector. Eco is decidedly eco in nature, going so far as to sometimes lug in too high a gear and sending excessive vibration through the cabin. The QX30’s Sport mode would be fine when you’re caning it, but it’s irritating in most urban driving situations. The Manual setting should cater to the enthusiast, but without a shifter and a clutch, Manual is no replacement for a suitable automatic setting.

SETUP
Ride quality verdicts for the Infiniti QX30 published elsewhere have seemingly landed on every edge of the spectrum. My conclusion: just as the GLA provides a noticeable improvement compared with the clippety-clop CLA sedan, this particular QX30 seems to further move the needle yet again. It’s not a magic carpet ride, but the QX30 loped along rough and often icy roads in the middle of Prince Edward Island relatively unflustered.

This QX30 AWD has 8 inches of ground clearance and rides on 235/50R18 Michelin X-Ice tires. The entry-level QX30 has 6.8 inches of ground clearance and is also fitted with 235/50R18s. The QX30 Sport, wearing 235/45R19 Goodyear EfficientGrip summer tires as standard equipment, sits significantly lower, providing a clearly car-like 6.1 inches of ground clearance. (In some markets, non-all-wheel-drive variants use the Q30 nameplate.)

Increasing the emphasis on comfort naturally did the QX30’s handling no favours. With lifeless steering and plenty of body roll, the QX30 AWD doesn’t encourage ten-tenths twisty road driving, preferring to be driven quickly rather than hastily.

2017 Infiniti QX30 AWD - Image: © Timothy Cain/The Truth About Cars

SAT IN
The degree to which these characteristics differ from one QX30 variant to another wouldn’t be clearly known without back-to-back-to-back drives. Less differentiated, of course, will be the in-cabin experience. Numerous pieces inherited from Mercedes-Benz — such as the wiper stalk, light controls, window switches, and the door-mounted seat controls — are mixed with radical departures from the GLA mold.

Gone is Mercedes-Benz’s silly column shifter, in its place is a silly console-mounted shifter with no detents and a separate park button. Infiniti installed its own vents, gauges, and infotainment unit. There’s no mistaking the connection between the QX30 and GLA when it comes to climate controls, all of which are mounted terribly low, far out of the driver’s sightlines, and nearly too far a reach.

It’s not an uncomfortable space for front occupants, but visibility is poor despite the lofty perch of the QX30. Although soft fabrics atop the dash suggest expense, wind whistling around the A-pillars, wing mirrors and B-pillars does not. And without features that we would expect from a small luxury vehicle at this price point — push-button start, heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, cooled front seats, as examples — the price point becomes ever more curious.

2017 Infiniti QX30 AWD - Image: © Timothy Cain/The Truth About Cars

SQUARE FEET
North America’s tendency to view a vehicle’s price point in the context of its footprint won’t do the Infiniti QX30 favors. Fortunately, there’s plenty of footroom under the front seats, but you’ll have to gain access through the small rear portals to ever find that out. And once in there, headroom is lacking, the centre hump is tall, and seating three across isn’t recommended.

If the QX30 does a passable impression of a compact car in the front and rear seats, the impersonation falters behind the rear seats. Essentially a Civic-sized car, the Infiniti QX30 offers 25-percent less cargo capacity than the new Civic hatch.

The cargo area in the BMW X1, a direct QX30 rival, is 41-percent larger than the Infiniti’s. Having spent $45,495 for this particular example, accessing that cargo area still can’t be done with a keyfob blip. There’s no power liftgate available, not even at $45,495.

2017 Infiniti QX30 AWD interior - Image: © Timothy Cain/The Truth About Cars

SUBS
The greatest issue with the QX30 does not merely pertain to the vehicle itself but is, in fact, germane to most subcompact discussions. You could be discussing Honda Fits and Civics; Mazda CX-3s and CX-5s. Strictly on value terms, the bigger vehicles typically offer more of everything — power, space, refinement, style, cachet — for very little extra cash.

It’s important to note that a review of a heavily optioned QX30 AWD can’t be taken as a cross-QX30 overview. Markedly dissimilar ride heights, different curb weights, and unique suspension settings promise different value quotients for different QX30s.

Yet only in a handful of ways does the $45,495 2017 Infiniti QX30 AWD feel like anything more than a luxuriously equipped mainstream compact hatchback. Thankfully then, it’s not $5,000 more expensive than it already is.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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27 Comments on “2017 Infiniti QX30 AWD Review – The British-German Luxury Crossover...”


  • avatar
    OldManPants

    Mazda wants their proboscis back.

  • avatar
    319583076

    Holy Toledo – the as-tested price is 50% greater than base price!

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    ..but I’m sure the lease deals will be good.

  • avatar
    mleclerc19xx

    You get a loaded QX50 (previously EX37) for $3,000 more. More room, more power, more features. Easy choice, even if it’s about to be replaced.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    Many prefer Japanese cars for their superior reliability and much lower maintenance and repair costs relative to competing European brands. The use of a Mercedes platform and mechanicals may jeopardize that well earned reputation.

    • 0 avatar
      PenguinBoy

      I’m not sure that the “well earned reputation” reputation for Japanese brand reliability extends to Nissan products, so there might not be too much at stake here.

      • 0 avatar
        onyxtape

        The Infinitis sourced from Japan have almost Lexus-like reliability ratings.

        It’s usually the ones made in the stateside Nissan plants that have higher failure rates – notably the older QX from the Mississippi plant and the Pathfinder stablemate from Tennessee.

        But yes, the regular Nissans are average in reliability at best.

        • 0 avatar
          mikey

          I’ve said before , but it bears repeating . The assembly line worker in a modern vehicle assembly plant has little to no impact to the final build quality.

          I don’t care if it’s Japan , Germany , Mexico ,Canada , or the USA. Build quality , and long term reliability is determined by the materials, and the standards set by management.

        • 0 avatar
          darex

          Even if Japan-built Nissans were more reliable, Nissan/Infiniti are near the bottom of the pack, when it comes to Owner’s Satisfaction. It seems people come to hate them in short order. Not sure why that is, but it’s definitely a Nissan phenomenon.

          • 0 avatar
            EX35

            Considering 80%+ of Nissan/Infiniti total sales are cars built in non-Japan factories, this makes sense. I’ve only owned Japanese built Nissan/Infinitis and they have been fantastic.

          • 0 avatar
            Corey Lewis

            I haven’t had any issues with my 09 M35, save for the backup camera becoming slightly misaligned recently.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Off topic question, but I was eyeballing an Infiniti sedan on the lot a few weeks ago and the sticker said the final assembly point was Los Angeles.

    Huh? Is Nissan hiding auto plants with cloaking devices?

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    …and still no mention of Acura.

  • avatar
    VW4motion

    One of the benefits of owning an suv is visibility. We all know this is now an suv. Yet this crossovers should be no different when it comes to visibility. The design team at Infiniti tried to figure this out from the poorly designed version from MB and still failed.

  • avatar
    Bonzai

    *Yawn*

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    I just…no. This is a fashion bauble. Poorly packaged but not sporty. Expensive but not actually premium. Four-door hatchback but nearly useless. Trendy but with the wrong badges.

    The only boxes it checks are “AWD”, “SUV-thingy”, and “vaguely semi-premium image”. That is terrible combination of reasons to buy a vehicle.

  • avatar
    carguy

    While I understand the statement that Nissan is trying to make by pricing this the same as the BMW X1 but its also an exercise in futility. While the Mercedes badge ensures that they can sell a lifted A class hatchback for mid-$40Ks, I doubt very much that Infinity can pull off the same trick.

  • avatar
    Corey Lewis

    Far too much money on a little tiny car which won’t be very good over the long run. Disappointing, Infiniti. The only thing going for it over the GLA is the price, and the styling. I find it a bit less ugly than the GLA.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      This is a major WTF from Infiniti. What happened to the FX35 or is that the QX50 now? I’m so confused.

      Anyway… my wife test drove an Infiniti Q60 (aka the new G37) back to back against Merc C350 and wants nothing to do with Merc. Its suspension was too stiff yet the steering was too loose/sloppy. The interior was also a major disappointment. I know people laugh at the “outdated” Infiniti interiors but they are way more user friendly and nicer then Merc’s interior. Any Infiniti fan will immediately notice this QX30 thing isn’t part of the family, it has no Infiniti DNA and is clearly a badge job. Boo!

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    My G37s ownership experience was stellar, with no unscheduled trip to the dealer . I find myself checking CPO qx50 prices (save the NA motors!). Say what you want , but the French know how to tune a supension.

  • avatar
    legacygt

    Obviously it’s not this simple but imagine that you had the pick of all of Mercedes’ platforms/vehicles and you picked the GLA. You’d have to be crazy. Especially if you’re Infiniti. You could build a pedestrian pseudo-luxury vehicle off or a Rogue or a Juke and do about as well. If you’re going to work with Mercedes on something, try to get a copy of the E Class or S Class.


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