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Though unremarkable and largely forgettable, the I30 makes good with its comfortable interior and low price tag.
Powerful yet refined drivetrain, roomy and comfortable cabin, full load of amenities, limited-slip differential on Touring model, standard rear sunshade.
No manual transmission for Touring model, harsh ride quality of Touring model, some inexpensive-looking interior bits.
Available I30 Models
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This year, two new colors are added along with steering wheel-mounted controls, an antiglare rearview mirror with integrated compass and an emergency inside trunk release. The brilliant blue xenon headlights previously available only on Touring models can now be ordered on base trim cars, as well.
Last year brought about big changes for the I30. A new look and a new engine transformed this formerly glorified Nissan Maxima into a true performance luxury sedan. We like the current I30's combination of a buttery-smooth V6 fronting a roomy interior encapsulated in stylish sheet metal that finally distances it from its cheaper Nissan-badged cousin.
Central to the I30's personality is a 3.0-liter 24-valve DOHC aluminum V6 engine that makes 227 horsepower; 5 more horses than any Maxima save the 20th Anniversary special edition. Alas, in the Infiniti only a four-speed automatic transmission is available, transferring power to the front wheels.
The I30 boasts computer-assisted, speed-sensitive power steering that automatically adjusts to driving conditions, providing more assist when needed for easy parking, and more effort at high speeds for better feel and feedback. The multi-link beam rear underpinnings contribute to a smooth yet controlled ride, but you'd think a $30,000 entry-luxury sedan might offer a true independent rear suspension. Struts hold up the front end, and stabilizer bars front and rear keep body roll in check. Four-wheel disc ABS is standard, and traction control is optional.
Available in two trim levels, Luxury and Touring, Infiniti I30 comes well equipped in either guise. Luxury models include the usual upscale gewgaws, including leather seats, an express-open sunroof, automatic climate control, 200-watt Bose audio system and the much-ballyhooed (for good reason) power rear sunshade as standard equipment. Step up to the Touring model and Infiniti adds a viscous limited-slip differential, sport-ride suspension, xenon high-intensity headlamps, 17-inch wheels and performance-oriented P225/50VR17 tires.
Inside the I30, consumers will find comfortable seating for five adults and a surprisingly roomy rear seat. The eight-way power-adjustable driver seat includes lumbar support, two-position memory and an automatic entry/exit system. Side airbags that protect the head and chest deploy from the sides of both front seats. A height-adjustable center armrest with dual-level storage compartment, signature Infiniti analog clock and one-touch open and close power windows are also included on all I30s.
Other interesting features on the I30 include active front headrests, which automatically move up and forward during a rear-end collision to protect against whiplash. A HomeLink universal transmitter, which allows you to activate your house lights and garage door from inside the car, is standard on Touring models. Buyers can opt for a Birdview navigation system that pops up from the top of the dashboard, and a trunk-mounted six-CD changer is available, though we wish Infiniti used an in-dash model for optimal convenience. Infiniti Communicator, a telematics system similar to OnStar from General Motors, is also optional on I30, providing one-touch calling for emergency or roadside assistance.
With its classy looks, smooth and powerful V6 and long list of standard and available features, the I30 Luxury delivers a true luxury sedan experience that doesn't entail typical luxury sedan payments. And if you're looking for a reliable, good-looking sport sedan with room for five, the I30 Touring should be on your test-drive list.
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