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by Autoflair and Sommer Thornton
Infiniti’s new QX30 is a cross between a compact and a high-performing crossover. A high sticker price has this lux lil devil pitted against lux crossovers like the Acura RDX and the Volvo XC60 which retail for just as much as the QX30 Sport.
After our First Drive review, we think the QX30 is more comparable to the Mazda 3 or a sporty Ford Fiesta. For 2018 the QX30 is offered in six trims with FWD and AWD including the base QX30, QX30 Luxury, QX30 Premium and the QX30 Sport we reviewed. Nine available premium colors are offered for 2018.
Since its debut in 2017, the sporty crossover holds a unique position for the Infinti brand, bridging the gap between premium compact and larger crossover models. The combination of a low-slung roofline, high stance and standard LED lighting creates a striking appearance from far away. Infiniti’s signature C-pillar design creates a dynamic crescent shape that evokes motion. A-pillars sport a slim design to add more aerodynamic flair. Muscle lines, and a toned body help the QX30 Sport achieve a .31 coefficient drag.
Truly unique, the QX30 Sport boasts a sporty 4-cylinder with 200 horsepower enhanced by sculpted aerodynamic flair that, along with its lower ride height, sporty front fascia and 18-inch machine-finished alloy wheels attracts millennials and new professionals.
Check out a 360-degree walkaround!
Infiniti’s QX30 Luxury AWD and QX30 Premium AWD offer a unique front and rear lower fascia, extended overfenders, a higher ride height and Intelligent All-wheel drive, all standard.
The athletically enhanced AWD Infiniti QX30 Sport we reviewed fully-loaded with the Sport Technology, Sport LED, Sport Leather and Sport Navigation packages brings its total sticker price to $43,660. Wowsers! That’s more than all of its competitors including the Audi Q3, the BMW X1, even the Mercedes-Benz GLA. With such a lofty sticker price, Infiniti needs to decide if practicality, luxury, or high performance is the main objective, because the QX30 tries to do all three and doesn’t lead with any.
The Infiniti QX30 is a good crossover, low-slung, sporty and fun. Yet many of its features work against each other making the whip feel like a bi-polar little monster.
Lagging Start/Stop technology almost negates the QX30’s sporty transmission and high torque delivery. The cabin looks ergonomically succinct but proves to be less practical.
Fresh Sporty Look for a Low Slung Hatch
From the outside-in the QX30 gets a lot right. Its athletic low slung stance is complimented by a double-wave aluminum hood, a lower front and fascia, double-arch gloss black grille, and available LED headlights with active front lighting and LED fog lights.
The QX30 looks like a baby Q50 from the front. Body color side sill panels, a dark chrome tipped exhaust and 19-inch Gun Metallic aluminum alloy wheels give the QX30 Sport a stylish edge over mid-range competitors.
Power folding heated outside mirrors with puddle lamps are available in body-color or satin silver.
Infiniti touts their interior design as succinctly symmetrical. The cabin of the QX30 Sport boasts luxury elements like push button start, seat controls on the door plus heated leather sports seats and suede-ish trim on the headliner, A-pillar and B-pillar with the Sport Leather Package.
A three-position memory for the driver seat is standard. The base QX30 has standard Fibretec upholstery with available Nappa leather. The QX30 Sport boasts two-tone leather upholstery with stitching that decks out the seats, dash and doors. Dark wood trim is dope as is the cool shifter with chrome trim.
Though the QX30 is fun and functional the interior lacks practicableness. The center stack, which features a standard 7 inch single screen with Apple/Android integration and Infiniti InTouch and Navigation looks cool, yet the arrangements of buttons leave a lot of redundant real estate.
The engine start button is big- really big, sitting on the right of the aluminum trimmed steering wheel. And the wand with the turn signal sits above the cruise control wand on the left. Editor Sommer would accidentally hit the cruise control when trying to flip the turn signal on.
The panoramic moon roof included on the QX30 Sport sounds like a great concept. But even with just the sunshade open and the sun shining, the whip turns into a mobile microwave.
The QX30 Sport features a sophisticated infotainment system that includes Infiniti InTouch apps, Bluetooth, Sirius XM Satellite radio, travel link and HD radio.
A Bose 10-speaker premium audio system is standard. But even with a bangin sound system, there are screwy control issues, like the missing track skipping button on the steering wheel.
And for some reason, when plugging a phone into one of the two USBs, the music (even the radio) turns off and a message displays saying “checking Bluetooth”. It was also difficult to find button that definitively turns the headlights off. They stay on even after the car is shut off. And why does the QX30 beep loudly when the driver door is opened and the car isn’t turned on yet?
Another bi-polar feature in the QX30 Sport’s interior is the screwy climate control. Defrost comes out hard and loud even on low. When turning the temperature up or down, the fan speed changes. And it seems like the air blows from the front vents even with only defrost activated.
While the interior has cool LED ambient lighting and illuminated scuff plates, it still seemed too dark around the center stack buttons. Lighting controls are on up towards the roof.
Editor Sommer loved the QX30 Sport’s interior, but she repeatedly hit her head on the roof.
Bi-Polar Manic Performance
The QX30 has dual personas and the dominant one depends on if it’s cruising or speeding. The powertrain, which features a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine is awesome in a kinda weird and unique way. The little crossover jets off with just a tap of the gas. Two-hundred eight horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque is a lot of power for such a light and short hatchback.
And while effective, the QX30’s 7 speed dual-clutch automatic transmission may be overkill and better suited for a high-powered coupe or sedan. Especially with a bungled start/stop system.
Start/Stop Technology is one of the most innovative efficiency upgrades since the electric motor. Companies like Honda and Toyota have perfected this technology. Unfortunately the Infinti QX30’s Start/Stop tech seems to work against its sporty powertrain. Effective Start/Stop should power down the engine seamlessly once idle for a few seconds. But the QX30 powers down immediately even when I’m parking, or in a drive thru, or in the car wash. The car shuts down with a rumble and it seems like even when I disabled the Start/Stop, it seems to still be active because the whip gets huffy when making a wide left turn.
Though start/stop technology needs fine tuning it contributes to an impressive 27 mpg combined fuel economy (24 mpg city/ 33 mpg highway.) Paddle shifters and drive mode selector are standard.
While 258 lb-ft of torque is impressive for this sporty hatch, the whip’s powerful takeoff can be jolting. It seems like the lightweight QX30 isn’t planted enough to handle a high power delivery. Macpherson strut front and multilink rear suspension plus all-wheel drive make the QX30 Sport agile and flexible.
The 2018 QX30 offers a range of active safety and hazard avoidance technologies that enhance the driving experience like standard vehicle dynamics control, electric power-assisted steering, Hill Start Assist, ABS, EBD, traction control and a tire pressure monitoring system. The $1,200 Sport Technology package adds the blind spot warning, Forward Emergency, High Beam Assist, Lane Departure Warning and Intelligent Cruise Control.
Agility, corning and parking are seamless in the QX30 Sport- even though Start/Stop tech turns off the car when I’m trying to roll into the spot. Turning doesn’t have as much precision as expected. The QX30 Sport features the Intelligent Park Assist system, which uses 12 sensors to perfectly park the whip in a spot it detects.
The 2018 Infiniti QX30 Sport fully loaded is in the $43,000 range, more expensive than the Volvo XC60, Motortrend Magazine’s SUV of the year and over $10,000 more than the Mercedes-Benz GLA. The crossover hatch holds its own against whips like the Lexus CT200 F-Sport and the Honda Civic Type R. Yet against their premium peers, the Infiniti QX30 is the least attractive.
The QX30 Sport feature Sommer loved the best is its huge trunk. It’s actually great for tailgating, and adults under 6 feet tall can sit inside comfortably.