Used 1998 INFINITI I30 Review

Edmunds expert review

What's new for 1998

Side-impact airbags make their way into the Infiniti I30, as do new headlamps, taillamps, center console and wheels.

Vehicle overview

What happens when you put a garish chrome grille, bright cast aluminum wheels, a conservatively styled taillight arrangement and a wood-trimmed interior onto a Nissan Maxima? Infiniti's excuse to charge a premium for Nissan's excellent sport sedan. In fact, we can't find much reason to buy the Infiniti over the Nissan, aside from the quality treatment that Infiniti dealers bestow upon their customers.

So, what are the real differences between the two cars, aside from the prestige of the Infiniti nameplate? The I30 offers standard goodies such as a power driver and passenger seats, a better warranty, ABS, simulated wood interior trim, automatic climate controls, variable intermittent wipers, keyless entry and security system, heated outside mirrors, and cargo netting; all stuff you can get on the Maxima at extra cost. Exclusive to the I30 are items like speed-sensitive steering, viscous limited slip differential, chrome accents, simulated leather door trim, integrated HomeLink transmitter, dual map lights, automatic anti-glare rear view mirror, map pockets, cellular phone pre-wiring and green tinted glass.

Base prices for the Standard I30 start at $29,400, while a top-of-the-line Maxima GLE begins at $26,889. The GLE has leather and an automatic transmission. Want the sporty I30? Pony up $32,000 for a five-speed model, plus applicable luxury taxes. The Maxima SE with a stick can't be optioned beyond $29,400.

So, basically we're looking at a sizeable price difference across the line. Is the I30 worth the extra expenditure? We don't think so. However, we tend to be more practical than most buyers in the near-luxury segment of the market. If the Maxima's styling turns you off, and traction enhancement is an absolute must, the I30 is probably right up your alley. Not only will the premium paid get you better service and a few extra convenience items, but you'll have more peace-of-mind knowing that your new "I" is covered by one of the best warranties in the business.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.