2017 Infiniti QX30: Monthly Update for July 2017
by Josh Sadlier, Senior Manager of Content Strategy
Where Did We Drive It?
Oregon. We drove the long-term 2017 Infiniti QX30 from Los Angeles to Bend, Oregon, and back. Specifically, I did — I'm the one who likes to drive to the Pacific Northwest every summer because the otherwise perpetual rain is on pause, the sky stays light till 10 p.m., and I have a friend in Portland who's eager to take advantage before the clouds roll in again.
Our copper pink Infiniti needed the miles this year, so I pocketed the key and headed northeast out of the L.A. basin toward Highway 395, which runs north along the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada.
We spent a long weekend in Bend and then a couple days in and around Portland before I headed back to L.A. via the coastal route, making a beeline for Lincoln City, Oregon, and staying on the 101 South all the way down. Did I come away thinking I'd like to own a QX30? Not exactly. But I gained some respect for our little rebadged Benz. It's competent and capable and a nice size, too. It can be my wingman anytime.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
I rolled up 2,405.4 miles on the Oregon trip, and the QX30 chugged 83.9 gallons of premium in the process. That comes out to 28.7 mpg, which strikes me as a bit disappointing given that I was on the open road about 95 percent of the time. Still, I managed to set a new record for a single tank at 30.9 mpg, which is the good news. The bad news is that it's only the third time we've cracked 30 mpg —the car's EPA-rated highway figure — in the first 6,000-plus miles.
I set a range record, too, covering 411.7 miles on a different tank. Always nice to learn that a car has 400-mile range in the real world.
Average lifetime mpg: 23.9
EPA mpg rating: 25 combined (21 city/30 highway)
Best fill mpg: 30.9
Best range: 411.7 miles
Current odometer: 6,489 miles
Maintenance and Upkeep
"You can feel the QX30's Mercedes underpinnings in the way it handles the highway. Interstate cruising speeds barely crack 2,000 rpm, and you've got abundant torque on tap from there on up. Plus, there's just a sense of stability and confidence that makes the QX seem like a higher-end machine than it really is. (The GLA-Class Benz it's based on, remember, is technically entry-level.).This Infiniti hasn't been in high demand around the office for local commuting, but it's a champ on the open road." — Josh Sadlier, senior manager of content strategy
"I didn't despise the QX30's Mercedes-sourced dual-clutch automatic transmission on my drive to Oregon, but I did frequently find myself wondering why it's not as good as Volkswagen's DSG. The latter swaps gears instantaneously and often imperceptibly — you might not even notice unless you're watching the tachometer. It's also been around for years. The Mercedes unit, on the other hand, is relatively new, yet gear changes are slow and quite perceptible (though never harsh). If I didn't know better, I'd guess the Benz 'box was by far the older of the two. Surprised that Mercedes didn't benchmark DSG and knock this one out of the park." — Josh Sadlier
"The QX30's turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is a well-rounded performer. Sourced from Mercedes, of course, it's got ample low-end punch and doesn't mind revving out to its redline either, although it's a bit short of breath by then. I also like the baritone growl it emits — no whiny four-banger noises here. Passing power at highway speeds could be more assertive — I can see why Mercedes makes an AMG version — but otherwise this motor is on point." — Josh Sadlier
"As a badge-engineered vehicle with exterior styling all its own, the QX30 is a fascinating creature. From the outside, you'd never guess it's a restyled Mercedes GLA 250. Hop into the driver's seat, though, and you're mostly in Mercedes-land. The power seat controls and window switches on the doors, the steering wheel buttons, the climate controls — all standard-issue Benz stuff. But then there's the one glaring exception, the Nissan/Infiniti infotainment system, which clashes both aesthetically and functionally with the Benz bits that surround it. The button layout employs Infiniti's font and style, while the graphics and operation remind me of a G37 from a decade ago. I found myself wishing that Infiniti had struck a deal to include Mercedes' superior COMAND interface along with everything else. If you're considering this car, I'd definitely recommend sitting in a GLA 250, too, and comparing the infotainment experience." — Josh Sadlier
"I rolled up over 2,000 miles on my drive to Oregon and didn't have a single complaint to record about the driver's seat. That's pretty amazing. Nothing really stands out about it, but I didn't get sore at any point. Just good firm support, no frills. Also, there was plenty of legroom for this lanky 6-foot-1 driver, with a bit more in reserve. A+." — Josh Sadlier