Used 1996 INFINITI J30 Review

Edmunds expert review

What's new for 1996

Three new colors join the paint palette.

Vehicle overview

When the Infiniti J30 was introduced, its designers said it represented a departure from the "tyranny of the wedge." True, the J30 has unusually rounded flanks front and rear that conspire to produce a different, though bland, shape in the near-luxury class. The look was unique on introduction day, and inspired people to either love it or hate it, with little middle ground to stand on.

Then Nissan released the Altima sedan; $20,000 less expensive than the J30 and borrowing heavily from the Infiniti's basic shape, the Altima was a much better-looking car. New J30 owners felt cheated and cheapened, but others didn't much care about the family resemblance. J30 sales have been steadily increasing since then, though crosstown rival Lexus is selling quite a few more ES300s.

No doubt, the J30 is a solid, substantial luxury automobile that can hold its own in the stoplight drag race,not that you'd ever see one of these things smoking away from the corner of 3rd and Main. We didn't much care for the J30's look when it came out, finding the front styling too aggressive and the rear a bit dumpy looking. We've always maintained that the wheel design of a car influences the visual impression of the entire vehicle, and with the J30t's lace-spoke wheels, the J30 looks pretty good.

Inside, you get coddled in sumptuous leather seats. The interior of the J30 is small, but in a cozy way. Just don't try to stuff more than four adults inside its subcompact dimensions. Ergonomics are nearly flawless, with beautiful gauges and a dashboard clock that would more accurately be described as a fine timepiece.

We're lukewarm about the styling, but the rest of the J30 is sure to please the most discerning drivers.

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.