Used 1999 INFINITI I30 Review

Edmunds expert review

What's new for 1999

Traction control is available as an option, the audio faceplate has been updated and an ignition immobilizer is offered on the I30.

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 I30 over the Nissan Maxima, 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 seat, a better warranty, antilock brakes, 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. Available on both cars is the Traction Control System, which monitors wheel slippage and applies intermittent braking while reducing engine speed, and limited slip differential. Exclusive to the I30 are items like speed-sensitive steering, 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.

The I30 is available in two trim levels: Standard and Touring. The Standard I30 is powered by a 190-horsepower 3.0-liter DOHC V6 engine. The Touring model adds sport-tuned struts and shock absorbers, five-spoke 16-inch alloy wheels, 215/55R16 tires and a choice between a manual or automatic transmission. A loaded Maxima SE runs about $30,000, while an essentially identical Infiniti Standard can cost more than $33,000.

So, basically we're looking at a sizeable price difference. 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, 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 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.