LA 2015: 2017 Infiniti QX30 Is a Cut (or Two)* Above the Rest

Mark Stevenson
by Mark Stevenson

* Assuming a “cut” is a unit of measurement equaling 3/4 of an inch.

The night before the opening of the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show, Infiniti invited media to check out its new crossover darling: the 2017 QX30.

Calling it a crossover might be a stretch as the new model is but a mere 0.75-inches taller than the Q30 (which is 0.75-inches taller than the Q30 S) on which it’s based. Same with calling it an Infiniti, as anyone who’s spent time in a Mercedes-Benz GLA will attest. Daimler touches are everywhere.

“But,” said Roland Krüger, president of Nissan’s luxury marque, “once you drive it, you’ll immediately know it’s an Infiniti.”

What Krüger means by that is very much open to interpretation. However, differentiating the newest compact crossover from that of its frenemy is paramount to making it successful.

On the styling front, at least the QX30 looks radically different from the GLA, wearing Infiniti’s angry corporate face and sultry headlights. Below that grille sits a faux skid plate that’s more jewelry than workwear. Even compared to its lesser (or lower, at least) Q30 siblings, Infiniti’s new crossover has a slightly more butch lower fascia.

Powering the QX30’s four wheels in the U.S. will be a 2-liter turbocharged engine, though specifics of that engine were not released. In international markets, the 2-liter DIG turbo gasoline engine found in the Q30 develops 208 horsepower and 258 lbs-ft of torque, so expect the same or similar output for the U.S.-spec QX30. All-wheel drive will be exclusive to the QX30 on our shores. If you want front-wheel drive, Infiniti will gladly sell you a Q30 or Q30 S.

Even though the Q30 is available with a manual elsewhere, the QX30 will be an automatic-only affair in North America. The same seven-speed dual-clutch box found in the GLA will make a home in the QX30.

That’s not the only piece of Germany you’ll find in Infiniti’s new compacts. The door-mounted seat switches and instrument panel display is straight-up Mercedes.

During a walkaround of the crossover with Infiniti Executive Design Director Alfonso Albaisa, he alluded to the cost of changing the location of the door-mounted switches being prohibitive and not really adding much value for customers at the end of the day. Making such a change would cost Infiniti an unnecessary six-figure sum if the automaker were to reroute the wiring and move the switches to the seat, where they’re typically found, and be an additional cost that would have to be born later by customers.

The only major difference on the inside between the new Infiniti QX30 and its shorter siblings is a unique interior color, “Café Teak,” which is a brown Nappa leather, and is limited to the QX30.

We’ll have more on the QX30 closer to its launch date in Summer 2016. Until then, here’s some photos of what may very well be Infiniti’s best-selling model in the future.

Mark Stevenson
Mark Stevenson

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  • JohnTaurus JohnTaurus on Nov 27, 2015

    I think the Mercedes is more of a looker than this. The Diamond Star is worth more to me as well. Sorry Infiniti, no sale. I probably wouldnt really have the Mercedes, either (not a crossover fan, would choose a real SUV or a pickup instead), but between the two, its my pick as far as style and badge snob appeal.

  • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Dec 03, 2015

    "The door-mounted seat switches and instrument panel display is straight-up Mercedes." Not really true RE: seat switches. The very first Infiniti, the big ol' Q45 had seat switches on the door in 1990.

  • Dartman Lot of laws I don’t like, didn’t like and I’m sure that there will be more. I do believe in the American Way, rule of law, truth and Justice for all. I vote, donate, and volunteer. I try to obey the law, rules and regs etc., don’t always succeed, and when caught in a transgession I willingly accept the consequences. “Ignorance of the law is no excuse”
  • FreedMike Cool. Keep 'em coming.
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  • Jkross22 Fugly. I don't care how good it drives or how fast it is.
  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X Making it even more unaffordable and less desired. See what happens.