What Did We Get?
Compact crossovers are in high demand, especially in the luxury segment. Infiniti is hoping to capitalize on the trend with its new 2017 QX30. Rather than building an all-new vehicle from the ground up, however, Infiniti partnered with Mercedes-Benz to create a vehicle that mixes German parts with a Japanese design.
The QX30 shares its engine and transmission with the Mercedes-Benz GLA, while the suspension has been retuned by Infiniti. Styling, both inside and out, is where the QX30 departs from its German cousin.
What Infiniti has made is a mashup of hatchback, coupe and crossover, meant to offer athleticism, utility and looks. It's positioned as an entry-level offering for the brand, aimed at a slightly younger demographic. The QX30 is not only a new competitor in a very hot segment; it's a pivotal vehicle for a brand hungry for new customers. With that in mind, we saw it as a perfect fit for our long-term fleet.
What Options Does It Have?
Infiniti lent us a QX30 Premium AWD, which is one rung short of the top-tier Sport. The Sport might have more, uh, sporting credentials, but it also has stiffer suspension and a lower ride height and is front-wheel-drive only. The Premium is a more direct competitor in the luxury crossover market and shares its dynamics with the rest of the QX30 trims, making it a better platform to evaluate the range.
Like all QX30s, the Premium comes with a 2.0-liter, 208-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission. Our tester has all-wheel drive and rides on 18-inch wheels. We also have a panoramic moonroof, heated power mirrors, keyless entry and start, dual-zone climate control, heated leather seats with eight-way power adjust, and automatic headlights, high beams and wipers. Entertainment comes via the upgraded Bose 10-speaker audio system, a 7-inch touchscreen with an alternate dial controller, Bluetooth and satellite radio. No Apple CarPlay or Android auto here.
Our tester also includes several optional packages. The Technology Package bundles blind-spot monitoring, lane keeping assist, forward collision warning with emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, park assist and a 360-degree camera. The Navigation package adds navigation and front and rear parking sensors. The LED package adds LED headlamps with adaptive lighting. Infiniti also included the Cafe Teak Theme package, an appearance package that upgrades the interior materials, adding brown leather upholstery and brown imitation leather and wood trim, as well as satin-silver mirror caps.
The QX30 starts right around $30,000 for a base front-wheel-drive model, but our fully optioned premium priced out at $47,010. That puts our QX30 in competition with well-equipped versions of the Audi Q3, BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class.
Why We Got It
The QX30 is meant to bring new buyers, namely younger buyers, into the brand, so it's an important vehicle for Infiniti. In order to deliver on that goal, the QX30 will need to make a strong impression in terms of dynamics, reliability, utility, technology, and that je ne sais quoi that makes BMW, Lexus and, yes, Mercedes-Benz buyers keep coming back for car after car.
In fact, Mercedes-Benz has the highest loyalty rate of any luxury marque, so basing the QX30 on a Benz may prove to be a smart move. Expect us to not only pay close attention to the QX30's qualities, but to hold it up against competitors — especially the GLA-Class.
Over the next year we'll be determining how the 2017 QX30 stacks up in an increasingly competitive segment. Can it combine versatility and driving fun in one sleek package, or will the mashup of coupe, hatchback and SUV make it the proverbial jack-of-all-trades and master of none? In the end, we'll decide if it leaves us eager to get into Infiniti's more grown-up cars and SUVs.
Follow our 2017 Infiniti QX30's progress on our long-term road test updates and Instagram for our latest thoughts and impressions of this slick compact crossover.
The manufacturer provided this vehicle for the purpose of evaluation.