Subcompact SUVs are the newest and fastest growing segment of the US auto market. Infiniti hops aboard the bandwagon via a badge engineering deal with Mercedes-Benz. The result is QX30, a stylish SUV with plenty of pep, a great sounding exhaust, and a solid reliability record thus far.
Want GLA 250 for $5,000 less? Enter the Infiniti QX30. It’s a rebadged Benz with modern swooping bodywork, a plush cabin, and an affordable starting price under $30k. If you can live with the over complicated infotainment system and the sluggish 7-speed dual clutch gearbox, the QX30 is a highly refined subcompact SUV for the money.
Perhaps the pinnacle of the QX30 experience, the Mercedes power plant produces an impressive 258 lb-ft of torque at just 1,250 rpm and 208 horsepower at 5,500 rpm. That’s good for a mid to low(sport trim) six second zero to sixty time.
The turbocharged 4 cylinder creates satisfying exhaust sounds that eclipse the lack of sound dampening in the cabin. Unfortunately, the 7-speed dual clutch doesn’t provide near the level of performance the name suggests.
Even in manual mode using the paddle shifters, one can almost count to three before the transmission grabs the selected gear. The idle/stop start system further frustrates when starting from a stop, the engine coming online with a shudder.
The suspension is taut, especially in sport trimmed models, and provides excellent handling characteristics to the detriment of ride quality. The Benz it’s based on is much more comfortable and solid feeling, albeit a bit less sharp.
It’s still quite a satisfying driving experience if you’re performance inclined but there are alternatives whom do the job better, like the BMW X1 and the larger, cheaper Volkswagen Tiguan.
Regardless of trim level, the QX30’s cabin is a nice place to be. There’s everything you’d expect in a luxury sedan. The standard Fibretec appointed interior leaves little to be desired and the Nappa leather is downright divine.
The optional “Gallery White” Nappa seating with red contrast stitching may be one of the most premium interiors we’ve seen in a sub-50,000 dollar SUV. It’s described by Infiniti as an “asymmetrical design,” a fancy term for lines strewn askance about the cabin but it works quite well.
What doesn’t quite work well is the infotainment system and its accompanying controls. While the solitary control knob mimics many systems on the market, it’s in an awkward spot and too small. Many reviewers complained the Infiniti Connect interface is not intuitive, to make matters worse.
It’s a shame, because they could have probably used the Benz system, which is one of the best on the market. Models equipped with power seats receive the exact same buttons in the exact same place as the GLA, so it’s not a stretch to assume more parts could have been carried over.
The Awkward C pillars can make rearward visibility difficult. Fortunately, a rearview camera is standard. There's also an optional Around View monitoring system that uses 360 degree cameras to make parking even easier.
The only other complaint we heard is excessive road noise. Quiet cabins are the hallmark of luxury vehicles, and this one lacks that trait. The rear seat is cramped but that’s expected in a subcompact SUV. 19.2 cubic feet behind the rear row is adequate for the class and folding them provides plenty of room for a weekend getaway.
The QX30 cabin is impressive overall but be sure you can live with the infotainment system before buying.
Behold, the QX30. There isn’t a single straight line anywhere to be found on tis voluptuous SUV. A black grille embossed with the Infiniti badge is perched between, the slender eyelid shaped headlights.
Below, an aerodynamic lower bumper with a large intake lets you know this thing is sporty. The lines created by the headlights sweep over the front wheel well and meander down the side and back up over the rear wheel well to meet the tail lamps in a similar fashion.
There’s C shaped C pillars that add a distinctive appearance yet create a rather large blindspot.
The rear is the widest part of this SUV’s exterior, enhancing its athletic stance. There’s beautifully designed LED tail lamps above dual exhaust outlets. A roof spoiler finishes off the symmetrical, flamboyant design.
It’s not quite as sexy as Mercedes’ version but the QX30 is definitely one of the more attractive subcompact SUVs around. Which do you prefer? Let us know in the comments below.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hasn’t tested the QX30, nor has the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. However, we do know the latter rates Infiniti’s front crash prevention technology as “SUPERIOR,” their highest rating.
Additionally, the larger 2017 QX60 receives all “GOOD” ratings for crashworthiness and the additional designation of “Top Safety Pick.” Since many of the same safety components and technology are present in the QX30, it’s safe to extrapolate a solid safety profile for this subcompact SUV.
Unfortunately, the advanced safety technology, even blind spot warning, is only available on the top trims as an optional package. We think they should at least be available as options on other trims.
However, many luxury manufacturers do the same, in an effort to push consumers up the trim levels, so we can’t really penalize Infiniti for this practice. It’s reasonable to expect the QX30 to be a safe SUV, capable of protecting you and your passengers.
Neither Consumer Reports nor JD Power has detailed data available to construct meaningful reliability ratings. They both rely on brand reputation to offer a reliability score. Both offer 3 out of 5 predicted reliability ratings.
There are currently 2 open recalls for QX30. Both are air bag related. The passenger or side airbags may not inflate properly. Only 588 total units are affected, a relatively small amount. Run the VIN of the QX30 you’re looking at through the NHTSA website to check if the recall has been performed. If not, any Nissan dealer will resolve the problem at no cost to you.
At the time of this writing, 3 complaints have been filed with NHTSA for the QX30. An owner complains that one can only unlock the door at a stop with the vehicle running by manually unlocking the door. The owner is concerned that a panicked driver in an emergency situation may struggle to exit the vehicle.
The second complaint is that the brake and gas pedals are mounted too closely together. This a matter of personal preference more than a safety issue, but consider it when you take a test drive.
The most recent complaint is filed for the fuel lid getting stuck. All these complaints are minor when compared with typical NHTSA complaints and none affect the reliability of this SUV.
Nissan/Infiniti has issued 11 Technical Service Bulletins for the QX30, a low number when compared with the average SUV. They’re all house-keeping related, rather than known issue related.
The one problem identified is 1,938 specific 2017 QX30 models were identified as possibly possessing poorly installed body seals and instructed dealers to replace them if customers complained.
These factors indicate this subcompact SUV is more reliable than the predicted reliability ratings suggest. As far as luxury subcompact SUVs go, the QX30 is one of the more reliable choices.
The clear competitor to the QX30 is its platform mate, the Mercedes GLA 250. With the two SUVs sharing the same powertrain and many components, which one is a better buy? Sure, the base QX30 is several thousand cheaper, but you’d have to upgrade to Luxury trim to receive Nappa leather and comparable luxury touches.
At that price, the difference is just 800 dollars for 2018 models. Which is a better value? The answer is, it depends.
The Merc is more refined and includes advanced safety features like forward automatic emergency, blind spot warning, and lane departure warning that cost significantly more in the Infiniti, since they’re only available as expensive options on the Premium trim. The interior is nicer, ride quality smoother and quieter.
The downside is the added heft. The GLA 250 isn’t nearly as quick as the QX30 despite sharing the same engine and transmission. Of course, there’s the raucous GLA AMG, that will do 0-60 in 4.2 seconds, making an absurd 375 horsepower by heavily tuning the same engine. But that retails for $50,000, several thousand more than a fully loaded QX30 Sport.
For the money, the QX30 provides a more performance oriented driving experience than the GLA 250. But these same qualities may strike some prospective buyers as unrefined for the price point. For this buyer, they’ll appreciate the value added by the Mercedes brand, standard Apple CarPlay, and a hands-free power liftgate.
These convenience features are worth the extra money to some, but others may pass for purer driving dynamics. It really comes down to a matter of taste, so we recommend you test drive both before making a decision. If you do, let us know which one you liked more and why.
The base QX30 starts at $29,950, equipped with a Mercedes Benz 2.0 Liter Turbocharged inline 4 cylinder with aluminum block and heads under the hood, idle start/stop function, Double OverHead camshaft, 4 valves per cylinder with micro finished camshafts, continuously variable timing control system, 7-speed double clutch automatic transmission, front-wheel drive, electronically assisted power steering, front MacPherson strut with coil over shock absorbers, stabilizer bar, rear multi-link suspension with coil springs and shock absorbers, 12.6 inch ventilated front disc brakes, and 11.61 inch solid rear disc brake.
Outside, there’s 18 inch split aluminum alloy wheels with 235/50R18 all-season run flats, halogen headlamps with auto on/off feature, LED rear brake lights, LED center high-mounted stoplight, integrated rear spoiler, puddle lights under outside mirrors, automatic dimming driver’s side outside mirror, heated outside mirrors, chrome and body colored door handles, and rear window intermittent wiper and defroster with timer. Inside, push button start is standard, along with INFINITI Intelligent Key system, dual zone automatic climate control with rear seat vents on console, power windows with illuminated switches and one-touch auto up/down feature, power door locks with automatic locking feature, retained accessory power for windows, front sun visors with illuminated vanity mirrors, dual front and rear cup holders, front center console with armrest, outside temperature display, leatherette-appointed stitched dash inserts, front and rear carpeted floor mats, cargo net tie-down anchors in cargo area, Fibretec-appointed seating, gloss black lacquer interior accents, 8-way manual driver’s seat, 8-way manual front passenger’s seat, 4-way manual head restraints, -way driver power lumbar support, leather-wrapped steering wheel, 60/40 split folding second row seating, 6-speaker audio system, single in-dash CD player, streaming audio via Bluetooth wireless technology, 2 USB connection ports for iPod interface and other compatible devices, SiriusXM satellite radio, illuminated steering wheel-mounted audio controls, Bluetooh hands-free phone system, INFINITI InTouch Apps, INFINITI controller for interior features, INFINITI 7-inch vehicle-information display, SiriusXM Travel Link with complimentary trial access, RearView Monitor, auto-dimming inside mirror, cruise control.
To keep you safe, the QX30 includes INFINITI Advanced Air Bag SYSTEM that adjusts inflation rate depending on crash severity, driver and front-passenger seat-mounted side-impact supplemental air bags, roof mounted curtain side air bags with rollover sensors, electronic brake force distribution, brake assist, vehicle dynamic control, tire pressure monitoring, alarm system, and vehicle immobilizer.
The QX30 Luxury adds power folding outside mirrors with memory and reverse tilt down features, rear armrest and ski hatch, footwell lamps, Nappa leather-appointed seating, 8-way power driver and front passenger seats, 4-way power passenger lumbar support, dual occupant memory system for front passenger seats and mirrors that’s linked to individual intelligent keys, and heated front seats for $32,600. The Luxury AWD costs $34,400 and equips intelligent all wheel drive, 18-inch machine finished aluminum-alloy wheels, unique front and rear AWD styling, extended overfenders with unique sill panels, roof rails, raised AWD suspension, AWD steering gear, a tighter turning diameter, and black colored outside mirrors.
The $35,300 QX30 Premium provides LED front fog lights, a panoramic moonroof with electric sun shade, roof rails, rain sensing front windshield wipers, heated windshield washers, cargo area finisher, aluminum front and rear doorsill plates, a Bose 10-speaker premium audio system, and makes many more options available. An LED Package installs LED headlamps, adaptive front lighting system and enhanced LED interior ambient lighting for $1,000. The $2,200 Technology Package equips the Around View monitor with moving object detection, blind spot warning, lane departure warning, forward emergency braking, high beam assist, Intelligent Park Assist, and intelligent cruise control. The Dark Wood Package trims the dash and doors with genuine wood and adds a graphite suede-like material to the headliner and A pillars for $500. The Navigation Package costs $1,850 and installs integrated navigation and InTouch services, front and rear parking sensors, color center meter display and SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link. A Gallery White Theme Package covers the seats and dash inserts in White Nappa leather, trims the console and door with White leatherette, stitches the surfaces with red contrast stitching. Additionally, this package adds unique 18 inch aluminum-alloy wheels with red accents, a red accented key fob and floor mats, graphite suede-like headliner and A pillars, and satin silver mirror caps for $1,750. A 19-inch Wheel Package swaps out the stock wheels for 19-inch Gun Metallic aluminum alloy wheels with 235/45R19 summer run flat tires for $800.
The Premium AWD builds on the Luxury AWD by adding LED front fog lights, panoramic moonroof with electric sunshade, rain-sensing front windshield wipers, heated windshield washers, cargo area finisher, aluminum front and rear doorsill plates, Bose premium audio, and universal garage door opener for $37,700. An LED Package installs LED headlamps, adaptive front lighting system and enhanced LED interior ambient lighting for $1,000. A $2,200 Technology Package equips the Around View monitor with moving object detection, blind spot warning, lane departure warning, forward emergency braking, high beam assist, intelligent cruise control, and Intelligent Park Assist. The Dark Wood Package trims the dash and doors with genuine wood and adds a graphite suede-like material to the headliner and A pillars for $500. The Navigation Package costs $1,850 and installs integrated navigation and InTouch services, front and rear parking sensors, color center meter display and SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link. A Café Teak Theme Package wraps the seats in Brown Nappa leather; covers the console, door trim, and dash inserts in brown leatherette; stitches the surfaces with graphite contrast stitching, and adds graphite suede-like material to the headliner and A pillars. The package also adds the genuine wood center stack and door handle trim, as well as satin silver mirror caps for $1,750.
Finally, the QX30 Sport has an MSRP of $38,500 and installs lowered sport-tuned suspension, cross drilled front disc brakes with INFINITI branded calipers, 19 inch Gun Metallic Sport aluminum-alloy wheels with 235/45R19 run flat summer tires, sport front and rear lower fascias, roof rail delete, black colored outside mirrors, gloss black painted front grille, leatherette and suede-like material appointed seating, 8-way power driver and front passenger sport seats with integrated head restraints, flat bottom leather-wrapped sport steering wheel, aluminum accented pedals, aluminum accented foot rest, front and rear parking sensors, Around View monitor with moving object detection, and Intelligent Park Assist. A Sport LED Package is available for $1,000 and installs LED headlamps, an adaptive front lighting system, and enhanced LED interior ambient lighting. The $1,200 Sport Technology Package adds blind spot warning, lane departure warning, forward emergency braking, intelligent cruise control, and high beam assist. The Sport Navigation Package is now standard. The Sport Leather Package trims the sport seats in Nappa Leather and installs heated front seats, stitched leatherette dash insert, footwell lamps, and graphite suede-like headliner and A-pillars.