- Eye-catching sheet metal
- German-bred powertrain
- Agile moves
- Quality interior materials
- Efficient for a crossover
- More than a passing resemblance to the Mazda3
- Exterior design limits interior space
- Taller drivers may have issues with outward visibility
features & specs
Built on Mercedes-Benz roots, the 2017 Infiniti QX30 is an agile and stylish subcompact that toes the line between crossover and hatchback.
The Infiniti QX30 is one of the first volleys in an all-out assault by Nissan’s premium brand on luxury markets around the world. As well as upping sales in the U.S. and China, where it has a stronger presence, Infiniti wants to become a major player in regions like Europe.
As a luxury compact crossover SUV, the QX30 is entering a tremendously competitive segment with accomplished rivals like the Audi Q3, BMW X1, and Mercedes-Benz GLA250. In fact, the QX30 shares the GLA's structure, engine, and transmission.
It’s fair to think of the QX30 as two (or even three) different vehicles—and initially it was marketed that way. The QX30 base and QX30 Sport were initially supposed to be sold as the Q30, while the QX30 AWD was the original QX30. In Infiniti nomenclature, X means "SUV." In reality, all QX30s are essentially the same vehicle, though key differences for the QX30 AWD include a higher ride height, just a slight bit of visual "ruggedness," and all-wheel drive.
We give it an overall rating of 6.6, with higher marks in fuel economy and features. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
QX30 styling and performance
All models benefit from Infiniti's design language of sharp angles and sweeping curves. Bodywork starts with an angular nose and flows rearward, around fenders with large wheel wells, past a short greenhouse with Infiniti’s signature crescent C-pillar, and to a sculptural tail.
Interior design is consistent with Infiniti’s current look, and is defined by a dynamic, asymmetrical sweep across the dashboard. High-quality black cloth upholstery is standard, while leatherette and nappa leather are also available.
The QX30 arrives in American showrooms with a single powertrain: a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder that makes 208 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. It's mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission, and is offered with front-wheel-drive or an intelligent all-wheel-drive system that sends up to 50 percent of the engine’s power to the rear wheels when sensors detect a loss of traction.
The QX30 delivers German performance characteristics, thanks to a structure and powertrain borrowed from Mercedes-Benz. The engine and transmission are responsive, and offer driver-selectable modes. Handling, likewise, feels accomplished without seeming to invite especially high-spirited maneuvers.
Fuel economy numbers are in, and the Infiniti doesn't rate as highly as related Mercedes-Benz models. In front-wheel drive form, the QX30 is rated at 24 mpg city, 33 highway, 27 combined.
QX30 comfort, safety, and features
The interior will be a tight fit for some, though the QX30's cabin is smartly designed and filled with high-quality materials. Those in the front seats have good leg room and width in the seats, but its good front-seat and cargo space are offset by a truly cramped rear bench.
Infiniti touts the use of “spinal support” research in the QX30’s seat design. According to the manufacturer, the seats are engineered to match the curvature of the spine and minimize pressure on back muscles by distributing load more equally. They make the front seats comfortable, though the front is tight in some dimensions. The rear seats are even shorter on space, and even though the QX30 can technically hold five, four is much more realistic.
There's no crash-test data yet on the QX30, but a rearview camera is standard, and options include a surround-view camera system and active headlights that point into turns. A Technology package adds blind-spot monitors, lane-departure warnings, forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, and Intelligent Park Assist.
In addition to the base, Sport, and AWD models, Infiniti offers Luxury and Premium trim levels bringing the model choice to six. The base model starts under $30,000 and comes with such standard features as dual-zone automatic climate control, a 7.0-inch touchscreen, satellite radio, auto-dimming rearview and driver's side mirrors, LED running lamps, a rearview camera, and 18-inch alloy wheels on run-flat tires.
Priced below $40,000, the Sport ups the performance and style with 19-inch wheels on summer tires, cross-drilled front rotors, a 0.6-inch lower ride height, a flat-bottomed steering wheel, front sport seats, and aluminum pedals and footrests.
The QX30 AWD sits 1.2 inches higher than the QX30 and comes with nappa leather upholstery and dash insert, an eight-way power adjustable driver's seat with memory, a four-way power adjustable front passenger seat, heated front seats, roof rails, and a rear-seat passthrough.
2017 INFINITI QX30
Infiniti markets the QX30 as a compact crossover, but it's really a hatchback, and its dramatic styling may be too outré for some tastes.
As a vehicle designed for worldwide sales, the 2017 Infiniti QX30 represents an interesting proposition for the American market. That's because it's essentially a hatchback and U.S. buyers barely tolerate hatchbacks. To combat that perception, Infiniti is marketing the QX30 as a compact crossover SUV.
We give it a 7 for styling, with points for its interesting exterior and interior. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
The heavy dose of Franco-Japanese style creates a very attractive vehicle. Its shark-like nose flows rearward to fenders that swell architecturally around massive wheel wells, beneath a low-cut greenhouse, and on to a tail with a steeply sloped rear window. It bears a resemblance to the Mazda3 in a passing glance, but in person it appears as a much more elaborate and upscale design.
Also in its favor, the QX30's lines don't read like an inexpensive hatchback. The long nose, almost Mazda-like in its proportions, and the truncated tail with Infiniti's characteristic reverse-crescent C-pillar, give the QX30 a shape unlike any other. Relatively large alloy wheels sit inside large openings rimmed in black lacquer, giving it an elevated stance that disguises its upright hatchback proportions. Sharply incised accent lines in the doors taper toward each other from the hood and the bottom of the front wheel arches, giving the doors a complex 3-D shape and emphasizing the horizontal proportions. Overall, it's a well-executed shape that's very much an Infiniti to the eye.
It's daring—to be sure—but looks about as good as a hatchback can look. And that may be what it takes to distract American buyers from their usual prejudice.
And then there's ride height. All models, including the Sport, sit higher than conventional hatchbacks, creating the look of a crossover. It's even higher in the QX30 AWD.
The AWD also features a blockier front fascia, roof rails, and flat black fender flares, as well as more space between the wheel arches and the tires due to the raised ride height.
The interior is equally stylish, and defined by a strong asymmetrical element that sweeps across the dashboard. It stops just short of gimmickry, and provides an interesting counterpoint to the businesslike designs in German rivals.
2017 INFINITI QX30
The QX30 delivers German performance characteristics, thanks to a structure and powertrain borrowed from Mercedes-Benz.
The first thing you need to know about the 2017 Infiniti QX30 is that it shares a platform with the Mercedes-Benz GLA250. For many buyers who might not otherwise consider an Infiniti, the QX30's Teutonic powertrain may be a compelling selling point.
We rate it a 6 for performance. Handling is generally good, but the drivetrains are about average, and there's a marked difference between tall-riding AWD models and the lower front-drive versions. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Various international markets get a variety of gas- and diesel-powered engines, a 6-speed manual transmission, and all-wheel drive, but the American QX30 offers just one engine. It is a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder making 208 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. It is mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission, and comes with front- or all-wheel drive.
The QX30 offers three different ride heights. The base QX30 has 6.7 inches of ground clearance, the Sport has 6.1 inches, and the AWD has 7.9 inches. That compares to 8.0 inches for all GLA models and only 3.9 inches for the related CLA sedan.
All models of the QX30 are considered subcompact crossover SUVs, but the Sport model especially may be better described as a hatchback. The "H point," which is the location of the occupant's hips in the driver's seat, sits higher than you would find in a car, making it the one characteristic that gives the QX a crossover-type feel.
Like they are in the Mercedes-Benz GLA, the engine and transmission are responsive, whether accelerating from a stop or speeding up to overtake. We've experienced hesitation with turbo fours and DCTs, particularly at low speeds, but that isn't the case with the QX30. Infiniti claims acceleration to 60 mph in a tick over seven seconds, and that sounds about right.
The transmission offers Sport, Eco, and Manual modes. The Sport mode is quite aggressive, holding gears longer and making throttle tip-in more immediate. The Eco mode is somewhat relaxed. We'd like a Normal mode in between the two, but, in general, the DCT shifts as smoothly as a standard automatic.
A fuel-saving start-stop system is perceptible without being nearly as jarring as some.
Infiniti emphasizes the engineering that went into the development of steering that maintains a consistent feel at any speed, and we’d say the automaker achieved this goal. It doesn't feel overly boosted in parking lots or too heavy at high speeds. While it's precise and communicates well, though, the steering could be slightly more engaging. Handling, likewise, feels accomplished without seeming to invite especially high-spirited maneuvers.
While the hardware is from the GLA, Infiniti tuned the shocks, springs, and bushings for sportier dynamics. The Sport model also has springs that are 7 percent stiffer, while the AWD model gets a sway bar that is 16 percent stiffer to deal with the motions created by the higher ride height. Base and AWD models get 18-inch wheels, while the Sport wears 19s.
The ride with the Sport’s stiffer springs isn't unduly rough, but larger impacts will disrupt ride quality. The 18s offer a smoother ride, though the dynamics aren't as engaging, especially in the taller AWD model.
2017 INFINITI QX30
Comfort & Quality
The interior will be a tight fit for some, though the cabin is smartly designed and filled with high-quality materials.
There's no getting around the fact that the 2017 Infiniti QX30 is a smallish compact SUV. Those in the front seats have good leg room and width in the seats, though occupants might fight over elbow room on the center console and head room is at a premium for taller occupants.
We give it a 5 for comfort and utility, with its front-seat and cargo space offset by a truly cramped rear. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
And then there's the issue of outward vision. Taller drivers might find that the A-pillar blocks their view as roads curve to the left; and the coupe-like roof dips down so far that front-seat passengers, even of average height, may feel as if they have to duck to see out.
The back seat is even tighter. While the long hatchback roof provides a better sense of spaciousness than you'd find in many sedans, leg room is always tight and almost nonexistent with a tall driver up front. And while the QX30 technically accommodates five passengers, they had better be waif-like models to fit three across. For more than two passengers, the QX30 is better suited to lunch runs than long-distance travel.
With its 60/40-split folding rear seat and hatchback design, the QX30 actually offers a greater degree of utility than midsize sedans. And the cargo bay, though it isn't vast, is still reasonably sized even with the seats up. It has 19.2 cubic feet of storage with the rear seats up, which is two more cubic feet than the Mercedes GLA, thanks to optimized design of the cargo area shape.
The QX30 also improves upon the GLA in terms of interior quality. It features a mix of high-quality plastics, soft leathers, real wood, and Alcantara. The GLA's cockpit smacks of cost-cutting from a brand known for very luxurious interiors, but higher line versions of the QX30 feel more substantial.
Infiniti claims that the QX30's Spinal Support seats reduce fatigue by better matching the curvature of the spine and distributing load in a more natural way. We find them quite comfortable.
Though we wouldn't describe the cabin as whisper-quiet, it's definitely on the quiet side for its segment.
2017 INFINITI QX30
There are no crash-test results as of yet, but with a host of available safety technology, we're anticipating top-tier ratings.
The 2017 Infiniti QX30 hasn't been crash tested by the NHTSA or the IIHS. The Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class, upon which the QX30 is based, also hasn't yet been crash-tested.
That said, we expect the QX30 to perform well, but we haven't assigned it a safety score until we know for sure. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Standard safety features of the 2017 QX30 include the usual array of airbags, plus front knee airbags, and a rearview camera. Infiniti's surround-view camera system is standard on some models, as are Intelligent Park Assist, which steers the vehicle into open parking spaces, and headlights that point into corners.
A Technology package offers blind-spot monitors, lane departure warning, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, Intelligent Park Assist, and surround-view cameras. A special metal plating enables Infiniti to hide the cruise control's radar behind the Infiniti badge on the grille.
2017 INFINITI QX30
Inside, the 2017 Infiniti QX30 posits an exuberant counterpoint to sometimes austere cabins from European automakers.
The 2017 Infiniti QX30 comes in six models: base, Luxury, Premium, Sport, AWD Luxury and AWD Premium. The AWD models add a raised ride height and unique body panels.
When Infiniti originally announced the QX30 for the U.S., the automaker split the first two—QX30 and QX30 Sport—into a different nameplate called Q30. Since that initial introduction, Infiniti has moved the cars into a single nameplate, though the Q30 name will still be used overseas.
We give the QX30 a features score of 8, thanks to good standard and available equipment, and for Infiniti's reputation for delivering top-drawer service and warranty coverage. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
For a starting price under $30,000, the base QX30 comes standard with cloth upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system with a 7.0-inch touchscreen, satellite radio, two USB ports, auto-dimming rearview and driver's side mirrors, LED running lamps, a rearview camera, and 18-inch alloy wheels on run-flat tires.
The QX30 Premium adds nappa leather upholstery and dash insert, an 8-way power adjustable driver's seat, a 4-way power adjustable front passenger seat with memory, heated front seats, rear center armrest, and a rear-seat pass-through. The QX30 Luxury gets LED fog lamps, a panoramic sunroof, rain-sensing wipers, and roof rails,
Staring under $40,000, the QX30 Sport ups the performance ante with larger 19-inch wheels on summer tires, cross-drilled front rotors, a 0.6-inch lower ride height, sport front and rear fascias, a glossy black grille, a leather-wrapped flat-bottomed steering wheel, leatherette-upholstered front sport seats, aluminum pedals and footrests, a panoramic sunroof, a 10-speaker Bose audio system, surround-view cameras, and automatic parking assistance, which steers the vehicle into parallel spots for you.
Priced under $35,000, the QX30 AWD Premium sits 1.2 inches higher than the QX30 and comes with nappa leather upholstery and dash insert, an eight-way power adjustable driver's seat with memory, a four-way power adjustable front passenger seat, heated front seats, roof rails, and a rear passthrough. There is also the QX30 AWD Premium model with rain-sensing wipers, LED fog lights, aluminum kick plates, the 10-speaker Bose audio system, and a universal garage door opener.
Options include a panoramic sunroof, roof rails, a navigation system, and wood interior trim. An LED package has LED headlights, active headlights that point into turns, and LED ambient interior lighting. A Technology package offers blind-spot monitors, lane departure warning, forward collision warning with emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, parking assistants, and a surround-view camera system.
A Leather Package for the QX30 Sport comes with nappa leather upholstery and dash insert, heated front seats, and a black headliner. A Gallery White theme package for the base model features white nappa leather upholstery and dash insert, red contrast stitching, a black headliner, satin silver mirror caps, and unique 18-inch wheels with red accents. A Cafe Teak theme package for the QX30 AWD adds brown nappa leather upholstery and dash insert, a black headliner, satin silver mirror caps, and wood center stack and door handle trim.
2017 INFINITI QX30
The QX30 is relatively fuel efficient, but similar models from Mercedes-Benz manage slightly better ratings.
The 2017 Infiniti QX30 is a completely new vehicle, yet it's built with a powertrain already established in the Mercedes-Benz CLA and GLA.
We've assigned the QX30 a green score of 7. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
The QX30 comes in a little less fuel efficient than the GLA250, however: In front-wheel drive form, it is rated at 24 mpg city, 33 highway, 27 combined.
By comparison, the GLA checks in at 25/35/29 mpg, which is noticeably better.
Opt for an all-wheel drive QX30 and you'll see those figures decline to 21/30/25 mpg, per the EPA.