The fascia on this little thing might be the best looking in the Infiniti family.
The Infiniti QX30 AWD is the brand’s newest crossover to hit the streets this year. Its sculpted design, low roofline and LED adornments make it a nice luxurious addition to the lineup. Though, while the car is new for 2017, the foundation of the QX30 has been around since 2014. While it appears to be a Nissan product on the outside, underneath the sculpted body panels lies quite a bit of Mercedes-Benz DNA. Everything from the engine and transmission, to the window buttons and key fob, comes straight out of the Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 (reviewed here). While the QX30 is built in a Nissan factory, a deal was struck with the German automaker to ultimately reduce the cost to build the vehicle.
This may not be blatantly obvious to the untrained eye, however those who are in the know will immediately notice the cunning resemblances between the two vehicles. While this may not bode well for Mercedes, this odd mix works in Infiniti’s favour. It’s like the concept of the couple where one partner is the reacher, and the other settler. While both parties benefit from this relationship, from a consumer prospective, the deal sort of makes the GLA redundant. On the other hand, the QX30 has become an easier way to hop into a “Mercedes”. It comes down to one simple question; who wore it best?
The QX30 comes as the fifth crossover/SUV vehicle in the Infiniti lineup. Its compact size and nimble persona makes for a useful urban adventurer. Styling follows the silky design language Infiniti is known for, and the fascia on this little thing might be the best looking in the Infiniti family. The sharp headlight design pierces into the wind, and the LED daytime running lights flow into the lines of the signature grill. LED low beam headlights come standard, while LED fog lights are included in the Premium Package; a $5,000 option with two handfuls of goodies for everyone to enjoy.
The Premium Package in question lets occupants indulge in a fixed panoramic sunroof, which is both great and not so great. The GLA 250 allows for a large sunroof which tilts and slides back, and while any sort of glass roof is nice, the fact that the QX30 is fixed makes it a bit of a disappointment – it doesn’t even vent upwards. Other aspects of the Premium Package include a Bose 10-speaker premium audio system, rain sensing wipers, front and rear parking sensors, a power sunshade, and Infiniti “InTouch” with navigation on a 7” display.
The rear end of the QX30 shows itself as a less appealing sight than its front end, with an awkwardly flared out silver diffuser and a black piece of trim between the taillights that seems like a try-hard statement. Being the AWD model, the body is slightly lifted from the standard and “Sport” QX30 trims; it also comes with black protective trim on the lower edges of the body.
While the QX30 and QX30 Sport (reviewed here) come as FWD-only variants, the all-wheel-drive model here comes as the most practical choice for year-round driving. Under the hood we find the same 2.0L four cylinder turbo found in the GLA 250, with the 208 horsepower at 5,500 RPM and the same 258 lb-ft. of torque at anywhere between 1,200 to 4,000 RPM. Just like the Mercedes, premium fuel is required for the engine to run optimally. Suspension wise, the independent front setup sports a Macpherson strut, while the independent rear uses a multi-link setup.
The GLA 250 is known for having a stiff ride, and the QX30 follows in its footsteps in that regard. The AWD model comes with smaller 18” wheels making for larger tires, smoothing out the ride quality significantly. Steering is light, and power delivery is smooth. The QX30 is not without its flaws, though it is not a terrible car to drive. At the end of the day, while the badge may state it’s an Infiniti, the truth of it all is that this is a Mercedes-Benz at heart, and that shows in its driving characteristics. So much so, that most of the tactile instruments within the cabin can be directly interchangeable with Mercedes-Benz products.
The shift knob for example is an Infiniti design, though the base for which it sits on is straight out a Mercedes. The same goes for the window toggles, steering wheel, climate control settings, instrument cluster, and even the key. The overall design language in the cabin is quiescently Infiniti, with flowing leather layers and contrast stitching all throughout. The seating position for taller individuals leaves very little room for any passengers in the back seat, as the sloped roofline eliminates any substantial headroom. So while the QX30 seats four, expect for it to be a tight ride.
Comparably, the QX30 and GLA 250 both bear the same DNA, with cosmetic differences that both play to the advantage, and disadvantage of each car. The QX30 plays the part of luxurious compact crossover, in some parts better than the GLA. For Mercedes, this makes one wonder why bother spending the extra cash for the GLA when a mechanically identical car is available for a lesser price. It’s a fine example of how much a badge is worth.
The 2017 Infiniti QX30 AWD has a base price of $38,490. Our Majestic White ($750) on Graphite Leather model came equipped with both the Premium Package ($5,000) and Technology Package ($2,500), which upped the final price to $42,861. The Mercedes-Benz GLA250 4MATIC starts at $38,500, $10 more than the QX30, though after optioning the GLA comparably to that of our as tested QX30, that price jumps to $46,070. Deciding between these two cars is not about choosing the better car; it’s about choosing the badge on the grill.
2017 Infiniti QX30 AWD Gallery