THE INFINITI QX30 IS THE JAPANESE BRAND’S TILT AT THE PRESTIGE SMALL SUV MARKET, PUTTING IT INTO THE AWD BEAR-PIT WITH THE MERCEDES-BENZ GLA, BMW X1 AND AUDI Q3, AMONG OTHERS.
It's a fiercely fought segment and the QX30 is a 'come from behind' proposition. But it's a nice package and follows the well-received front-wheel-drive Q30 which arrived barely weeks ago. So what’s the difference?
The QX30 comes with all-wheel-drive, where the Q30 does not, that's the key difference. The bodywork and interior are otherwise identical, save for some extra body cladding, and a few minor specification changes.
Despite the slightly different names, both are variants of the same car.
Vehicle Style: Premium Compact SUV
Price: $48,900 - $56,900 (plus on-roads)
Engine/trans: 155kW/350Nm 2.0 litre 4cyl turbo petrol | 7sp automatic
Fuel Economy Claimed: 6.9 l/100km | Tested: 10.7 l/100km
With the 2017 Infiniti QX30 there are just two trim levels to choose from: GT and Premium, both powered by a 2.0 litre turbocharged petrol engine.
Somewhat strangely, the QX30 does without the diesel option that’s available on the Q30, but it does pick up a taller ride height and all-wheel-drive to help it venture slightly further off the beaten track.
Mechanically the QX30 takes its engine, transmission, and all-wheel-drive system from the Mercedes-Benz GLA 250. There are echoes of Benz in some of the interior parts too, but the body and a large part of the interior is Infiniti’s own.
To help give it some market traction the QX30 proffers a value position. Free of options, the two well-equipped versions pack in more standard kit than you’ll find in their similarly-priced Benz alter-ego versions.
FIND OUT MORE: Read TMR's first drive impressions of the Infiniti Q30 here.
- GT: Cloth seat trim, Nappa leather steering wheel, stitched dash pad, floor mats, manually adjusted front seats, auto dimming interior and driver’s mirror, single-zone manual climate control, keyless entry, piano black interior trims, cruise control with speed limiter, 18-inch alloy wheels
- Premium: Nappa leather seat trim, heated electrically adjustable front seats with memory, dual zone climate control, aluminium front door kickplates, real wood dash and door inserts, Dinamica suede-look headliner, ambient lighting package, adaptive cruise control
- Infotainment: 7.0 inch touchscreen, satellite navigation, AM/FM/CD/MP3, 2x USB inputs, Bluetooth Phone and Audio, active noise cancellation, 10-speaker Bose audio
- Cargo Volume: 430 litres, 60:40 folding rear seat
As with the exterior, the interior of the QX30 adheres closely to the template set out by the Q30. That means a clean and modern design, with quality materials in most places you look.
The entry level GT is fitted with cloth seats, piano-black trim highlights, manually adjustable seats and a fabric headliner.
Opt for the more upmarket Premium (pictured), and high-end Nappa leather covers the seats and dash padding, the front seats gain heating and electric adjustment, and the headliner is trimmed in suede-look fabric.
To the up-spec Premium model, Infiniti adds real wood trims in the dash and doors, dual-zone climate control and an ambient lighting package, making it by far the more opulent of the two models.
Prestige shoppers may also notice that much of the interior switchgear comes from Mercedes-Benz, as does the instrument cluster, however the 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system is of Infiniti’s own design.
With a focus on lifestyle rather than load capacity, the QX30 feels a little pinched for rear seat space. A feeling made worse by the small rear windows, giving the back seats a claustrophobic feel.
Up front the seating is more generous, with enough adjustability to tailor the QX30’s driving position to suit both short and tall drivers.
At 430 litres the boot is decently sized to take large items, though it may not be as deep as the car’s exterior volume suggests.
ON THE ROAD
- Engine: 155kW/350Nm 2.0 litre four cylinder turbo petrol
- Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, all wheel drive
- Suspension: MacPherson strut front, multi-link rear
- Brakes: 320mm ventilated front discs, 295mm solid rear disc, Brembo calipers
- Steering: Electrically assisted power steering, 11.4m turning circle
Without an ‘entry level’ engine, the 2.0 litre turbo four-cylinder engine of the QX30, with its healthy 155kW of power at 5500rpm and 350Nm of torque from 1200 to 4000rpm, feels more athletic than the mostly underwhelming base engines in rival premium SUVs.
And being from the Mercedes-Benz stable, the engine and its seven-speed dual clutch transmission has the right amount of polish and performance. Quick, smooth, and deserving of the prestige tag.
Across a variety of roads, from Melbourne’s city streets to the flowing twists of Victoria’s Yarra Valley, and even onto gravel, the QX30 showed that it can satisfy demanding drivers.
The suspension tune is of Infiniti’s own creation, not simply borrowed from Mercedes, and though it lacks the all-out comfort of the 30mm lower Q30 GT, the long-legged suspension travel takes large imperfections in its stride comfortably.
On smaller hits, mid-corner corrugations and troublesome surface changes, the QX30 doesn’t exhibit the same level of comfort, with a terse initial compliance that transfers a slight jitter into the cabin.
The Q30’s rather decent handling also steps down a notch in the QX30 - the effect of a high-riding suspension, especially compared to the lowered Q30 Sport (which sits 50mm lower. Though it’s not completely dulled-down, it lacks the crisp feel of the lower car.
But with a different demographic in mind, the QX30 certainly isn’t out of place or out of tune with expectations.
Importantly, the hushed wind and road noise, and minimal engine intrusion carry over from the Q30, making the QX30 well suited to open-road touring.
The added security of all-wheel-drive grip is certainly noticeable (compared to the two-wheel-drive Q30). Over loose gravel roads, the on-demand system is quick-witted and able to send power to the wheels that need it with a minimum of delay.
It also helps it point a little 'sharper' on a slippery gravel surface - something you'll appreciate on a run to the snow.
ANCAP Rating: 5-Stars - Crash test results for the Infiniti Q30 apply to the QX30 but were gleaned from data obtained by Euro NCAP in 2015.
Safety Features: All QX30 variants come standard with seven airbags (dual front, front side, curtain, and driver’s knee), pedestrian-protecting pop-up bonnet, ABS brakes, electronic stability and traction control, forward collision warning with autonomous emergency braking, tyre pressure monitoring, rear park sensors, and ISOFIX child seat mounting points.
The QX30 GT Premium also adds front parking sensors, 360-degree camera with moving object detection, automated parking assist, traffic sign recognition, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, and adaptive cruise control.
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
Warranty: Four years/100,000km
Servicing: Infiniti Assure capped price servicing sets service intervals at 25,000km or 12 months (whichever comes first), with service prices set at $415 for the first service, $592 for the second service, and $618 for the third service.
RIVALS TO CONSIDER
First on the list of QX30 competitors is the Mercedes-Benz GLA which has donated its mechanical package to the QX30, but offers the cachet of a more recognisable marque.
Similarly the BMW X1 is also more recognisable, and features one of the most versatile and spacious interiors in its class.
The Audi Q3 is one of the older segment offerings, but pairs interior quality, and punchy engines to still saty in the race. Buyers prepared to sacrifice a premium badge might also like the look and feel of something more mainstream, like a high-end versions of the Mazda CX-5, which also frees up extra interior space.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
Somehow, strangely, the taller-riding and slightly heavier QX30 loses a little of its lustre when compared with the cheaper 2WD-only but impressive Infinity Q30.
Though the QX30 provides the added security of all-wheel-drive, the fact that very few will ever venture off-road makes that feature a moot point.
The QX30 does however maintain the same quality look and feel of the Q30 on the inside (even more so thanks to the Premium’s real wood trim), and, puit it up against the more established brands and the value equation works in the Infiniti’s favour.
Combine that with eye-catching styling, and a polished and responsive drivetrain, and Infiniti has exactly the one-two combo it needs with Q30 and QX30 to make inroads into the Australian prestige market.
Each of these compact 'Q' models from Infiniti are well worth a close look.