By on January 8, 2018

2017 Infiniti QX30

2018 Infiniti QX30 Premium AWD

2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder (208 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm; 258 lb-ft @ 1,200-4,000 rpm)

Seven-speed 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)

Base Price: $37,700 (U.S) / $38,490 (Canada)

As Tested: $46,460 (U.S.) / $48,161 (Canada)

Prices include $995 destination charge in the United States and $2,045 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can’t be directly compared.

Why Infiniti needs a subcompact crossover that shares its platform with the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class is a mystery that only the folks at Nissan HQ know the answer to.

After all, I spent four days wheeling one all over Los Angeles, from the airport to downtown and back, and I still don’t know the answer to that question.

Separating the QX30 from its platform mate and judging it on its own merits, however, is nonetheless revealing.

Full Disclosure: Sometimes automotive journalists are able to access fleet loans when traveling, and I arranged one for the 2017 LA Auto Show. The QX30 was what was offered by the L.A. press fleet. Also, I forgot to photograph the car, so I have to use images provided by Infiniti. Sorry, gang.

Images shown are of the 2017 model, as Infiniti has not yet posted the 2018s on their media Web site. The 2018 model carries over virtually unchanged, anyway.

More full disclosure: I was prepared to not like this thing very much. I try to go into every review open-minded, but as noted above, I don’t fully understand why this car exists (same goes for the GLA, for that matter). Nor did I think it was as sporty as Infiniti wants it to be, based on a previous autocross experience.

Of course, it’s unfair to go into any review pre-judging, and driving Sepulveda or Figueroa isn’t quite the same as an autocross. My mission: to see how the QX30 handles everyday life.

2017 Infiniti QX30

At a glance, tech specs aren’t encouraging. Sure, this thing is small, but is 208 horsepower and 255 lb-ft of torque enough power? Especially with all-wheel drive and over 3,300 pounds to haul around?

Surprisingly, yes, at least for around-town driving. “Fast” is too strong a word, but I had no issues accelerating up to speed in the madness that is the L.A. freeway system. The seven-speed automatic transmission didn’t make itself unnecessarily known, either.

Infiniti also gave the QX30 just enough sport to make it interesting, although pushing it hard leads to body roll and other not-so-good characteristics. It will liven up your commute a little bit, but you’re not taking it out to the canyons.

That’s not the point, anyway. Like the GLA, the QX30 is meant to look cool while giving you a raised view of the road and hatchback utility. Whether it succeeds in two of those three objectives is open to interpretation.

2017 Infiniti QX30

Personally, I appreciate the look forward of the A-pillar – the way the lines flow reminds me subtly of the departed FX models, which I always found attractive. Moving towards the back, the story changes. I can’t fully get on board with the squashed rear doors, for example.

I also found cargo space a bit tight for my limited luggage – a backpack and large suitcase – but I also ferried two AutoGuide compatriots and their camera gear to the show without hearing any complaints.

Ride-wise, the QX30 is on the stiffer side, without exhibiting any undue punishment. It’s fine, unremarkable, even. Just not cushy.

Inside, you get materials and build quality that are on-par for the class, and an infotainment system that works pretty well. You have to get used to the wonky shifter, though, and while the knob and buttons for the infotaiment are intuitive enough, it’s still annoying that so many OEMs feel the need to set these systems up this way.

You can’t say the QX doesn’t come well equipped. Standard or optional features include navigation, blind-spot warning, 360-degree camera, lane-departure warning, forward emergency braking, intelligent park assist, intelligent cruise control, moonroof, leather seats, heated front seats, Bluetooth, satellite radio, USB, and push-button start.

2017 Infiniti QX30

Nothing you wouldn’t expect at this class/price point, of course. Odd a duck as the QX may be, it at least has the creature comforts covered.

Fuel economy isn’t a strong suit, at least not in city driving – it’s only rated at 21 mpg. The 30-mpg highway rating is better, though.

Looking at the whole package, you get a luxurious small crossover with an odd shape and sizing. I don’t know who the hypothetical buyer is, especially since the QX60 and upcoming QX50 should provide more utility without sacrificing style.

2017 Infiniti QX30

Certainly, value likely isn’t enough – not with a base price north of $37K and an as-tested price of around $46K.

I suppose the rich urbanite who rarely has rear-seat passengers or much luggage will be intrigued, if they don’t mind the squinty rear styling, and the QX30’s short length did make it easy to park in clogged DTLA. So there’s that.

It’s inaccurate to call the QX30 a bad vehicle – it does plenty of things well, or at least well enough. It’s just hard to justify its existence.

2017 Infiniti QX30

That latter sentence applies to lots of luxury crossovers, but this one, and the GLA, are even more odd. Still, there’s a buyer for everything.

I’d just like to meet them.

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37 Comments on “2018 Infiniti QX30 Premium AWD Review – A Comfortable Compact Oddity...”


  • avatar
    turbo_awd

    Even with your disclaimer – those $US/$CAN prices CAN’T be right.. $US gets you 1.2x $CAN right now.. Prices seem too high in $US.. $37k fully loaded would be a great deal. For $46k, you should get more than a 2.0l/208 hp.

    This, but with the Q50’s 3.0T (even the 300 hp version) for $46k would be great..

  • avatar
    thegamper

    This class of vehicle is a little puzzling to me as well. Sacrifice the dynamics of an actual car, take away the utility of a crossover/SUV and there you have it…..a tall hatchback at a $40k and change price tag to boot. There are certainly more offensive vehicles on the road, but in the price bracket you are into with $46 as tested, a lot of better options seem wide open.

  • avatar
    JMII

    “Why Infiniti needs a subcompact crossover that shares its platform with the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class is a mystery that only the folks at Nissan HQ know the answer to.”

    Its no mystery – CUVs sells like crazy, so this is like printing money… just slap a different badge on it and be done.

    What bothers me is non-Infiniti interior, I think the Benz interior (dash, center console, switch gear) isn’t as user friendly as the setup that Infiniti uses throughout their model range.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “It’s just hard to justify its existence.”

    It’s a doable lease ($380 – $450) on an AWD crossover from a nonAmerican premium brand. That plus “not terrible” was all they were going for.

  • avatar
    cpthaddock

    Honestly, the only mystery is why it’s taken US buyers decades to recognize that no sedan will ever be practical. Costco, flat-pack furniture, big flat screen TVs and weekend home improvement projects are not new. Kudos to Infiniti for showing the Germans how to make one of these that doesn’t need to be either bland and snooze worthy (Audi) Orangutan backsided (GLA) or frequently identified as a Subaru Forester (X1)

    • 0 avatar
      4drSedan

      Cause a decent daily driving experience is more important than hauling yet more crap to one’s domicile.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        This thing has the footprint and height of a run of the mill compact hatchback. How is this thing’s driving experience compromised?

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          Floorpan, hence COG, still plenty higher than a Mazda 3, Civic and such. Hence requiring stiffer, choppier suspension to resist body movements. And the elevated hip point magnifies roll and pitch movements compared to a lower hatch.

          Practicality wise, in areas with snow, I can see the purpose of these. New hatches and sedans, in the pursuit of aerodynamics and max fuel efficiency, have so little space between wheel and fender, that it often packs with snow. And their front air dam starts acting as a snow plow with only a few inches of the white stuff on the ground. So, even if the internet has decided that one doesn’t “need” awd to drive on snowwy roads; in practice, the whole CUV package has quite a few advantages. But aside from that, and the fact that in America CUVs are often rated to tow something while hatches are not, hatches still drive better. Obviously so, back to back. And Sedans tend to be better still, due to the added quietness of a closed off truck.

  • avatar
    legacygt

    A couple observations. While it appears that there is some Infiniti style here, for the most part we’re talking about the trim… a flourish of chrome here or there. But in the flesh, this car looks like exactly what it is, a GLA. A quick glance at each and you’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference. (You’d also have a tough time thinking either one wasn’t a Mazda3.) The stylistic similarities can only be beaten by a pair like the Tahoe and Yukon.

    This review alludes to the minds of people at Nissan HQ and I look at this car and have to wonder what they were thinking. When presented with the entire Mercedes Benz lineup did somebody really chose the GLA as the platform they really wanted a piece of? The GLA is probably the worst Mercedes and it’s not even a new platform. I’m not sure that Infiniti couldn’t have built a similar car off the Juke (and they could have started working on that 8 years ago).

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    The reason for this is simple – fashion. This is the yappy purse dog of cars.

    It’s kind of dumb and expensive compared to a Golf or a Mazda3, but since when is fashion not dumb and expensive? Look at the shoes women torture themselves with!

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    This car is the answer to a question no one asked.

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    This hideous pod must be part of Nissan’s Star Wars tie in.

    This just in! TTAC reviews a MonCal MC80 Star Cruiser!

    https://tinyurl.com/y9x7ze6h

    What an uncanny resemblance.

    (Ok I am done with the satire)

    Seriously though, this thing and its Benz cousin are ugly ducks. Add to that the cost, cramped interior, etc. I dont get it. This class needs to be more squared off to take advantage of the footprint.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    The thing is, I drove it. And I don’t understand how any sober person would buy it? It is minuscule. There is no second row legroom, there is no trunk space. The seat is small and hard. And BTW, Mini Clubman ride feels exactly same – hard. When I drove Mini, it was like, “did I drive this before?”

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      If you are a 5’4″ young urban professional fashionista woman, and all of your friends are the same, it is plenty roomy. And you look GREAT in it, which is all that matters. Though I have to think most of them will prefer the 3-pointed star version, because German.

      • 0 avatar
        Chicagopeach

        Well, you must be the person it was designed for. I love my Q30. It’s quick and it handles well. It’s fun to drive. It’s just tge right height, except not much room in the bsck, but then again…this us not a taxi.

      • 0 avatar
        Chicagopeach

        Well, I must be the person it was designed for. I love my Q30. It’s quick and it handles well. It’s fun to drive. It’s just tge right height, except not much room in the bsck, but then again…this us not a taxi.

  • avatar
    CombiCoupe99

    Gratuitous / superfluous styling concept. Absolutely ridiculous.

  • avatar
    Cactuar

    I profoundly dislike the surfacing on this thing. It seems like there is not an inch of metal on the bodywork that is relaxed. All the surfaces are pulling one way or another. Too much tension, too stiff. I wish the Japanese car makers would go back to making simple elegant cars instead of complex origami. Awful.

  • avatar
    E M1

    The outside. is not that bad, as someone had pointed out before is that the interior should be 100% Infiniti, not Mercedes. The next generation will be all Infiniti, just wait a few more years.

  • avatar
    E M1

    The outside. is not that bad, as someone had pointed out before is that the interior should be 100% Infiniti, not Mercedes. The next generation will be all Infiniti, just wait a few more years.

  • avatar
    steverock

    I drove one of these as a service loaner for the day recently, so I have some experience with it. I was hoping to get a Q50 so I could try one of those out, but they stuck me in this little ugly car. I was kind of embarrassed driving it around. It’s lame.

    I can sort of understand someone buying the Mercedes version (kind of) since it comes from a better brand, but I don’t see the point in paying that kind of money for this. $46k! It’s not worth it.

  • avatar
    Chicagopeach

    Well, Tim, let me introduce myself…I am that happy camper. I try not to use the word love, but I really enjoy my QX30. It’s a fun drive. It’s quick and it handles extremely well. I enjoy it every time I get in it.

    Yes, I too thought it was a funny looking car, that was about a couple of years ago when I was considering the GLA. And yes, I test drove the Nissan and several others before deciding on the QX30.

    I’ve had the car almost a year and I don’t regret my purchase the least bit.

  • avatar
    markmeup

    Although their approach is snatched right out of a 9yo ’09 E Class, it is nice to see no tablet sticking up out the dash.

    but…

    god this thing is just soo over-styled. We certainly have our pick today from a vast number of cars that will keep Bill Mitchell rolling in his grave indefinitely.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    I test drove this a say wife is looking to downsize from her pilot know that our kids are grown, it was ok but why oh why did either party have a large pano roof that does not open???? Yes the roof is fixed glass so that ended the thought of getting this, I would look at this vs the GLA as a used car since infinity do not hold their value but if I was buying new would go with the MB for better resale.

  • avatar
    deanst

    The more I see these types of vehicles, the more I hope that I can buy a 3 series wagon before it disappears.

  • avatar

    I really don’t like that interior. The wood bits look like a complete afterthought, almost like a wood kit.

    “Hey we need wood, this is a luxury vehicle. Here’s some.”

    And at whatever options net you $46,000, this makes NO sense at all. Entry AWD only, for leasing purposes.

  • avatar
    donatolla

    The part that’s missing here is that this is the single most uncomfortable car in it’s price range. I sat in it not long ago at a car show – you know, for science – and it was lousy. I thought uncomfortable was Nissan’s contribution because Mercedes makes some of the most comfortable seats in the business. Nope. The GLA is just as bad.

    This thing makes no sense, and it sucks.

  • avatar
    nick0264

    The Official Car of The Shape of Water (the monster, not the water). Give it up and go back to your roots, Infinity.

  • avatar
    Southern Perspective

    The result might have been better had Infinity based this vehicle on the new to USA Nissan Kicks: which would have been roomier and less expensive to build, to say nothing of MUCH less expensive for owners to maintain.

    Link is photo of the Kicks. Note the similarities.

    https://www.drivearabia.com/carprices/media/catalog/58bbf7451a3972018_Nissan_Kicks_in_the_UAE_2_900x675.jpg

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