Test Drive Notes Library
- Good combination of attributes. It’s a practical, sporty, and very slightly luxurious small car. It’s somewhere between a four-door hatchback and a small crossover. Both of those body styles offer great versatility. The QX30 is based on the Mercedes GLA, which you’ll notice is exactly the same size and shape as the QX30, and has the same engine and transmission. Infiniti added its own styling touches, and tuned the ride and transmission to the better, in our opinion.
- Unusual looks. Like it or hate it, it’s got an interesting design. We like it, a little more than the Mercedes GLA it was built from.
- Fun car to drive. The QX30 handles well, and the dual-clutch, seven-speed automatic makes the most of the 208 horsepower, four-cylinder Mercedes turbo-charged engine. It has paddle shifters and a manual mode for when there’s no one else in the car to annoy. Skip it when you have passengers. Cornering is flat and secure.
- Leave it in E. There are three transmission modes. There’s manual mode, for when you’re playing with the paddle shifters. Then there’s E for Economy, and S for Sport. We found the Economy setting just right—and not overly economical. In Sport mode, the car was too edgy, and we quickly tired of it.
- Luxurious materials inside. Infiniti did a nice job on the interior. The Sport model we tested ($43,735), with the optional Sports Leather Package added a leather-stitched-looking dashboard and a bunch of good quality materials all around. The front seats are very comfortable, if not terribly wide.
- Ride is not bad. You’d expect a small sporty car to be harsh. OK, it’s a little harsh, but not too bad. The ride, while not luxurious, is reasonable. And the road noise wasn’t bad either. The engine noise comes through, but tire and wind noises were damped.
- Available Safety. The Sports Technology package, for a reasonable $1,200 on this model, added forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, and adaptive cruise control. Our tester also had a helpful surround-view camera. All-wheel drive is also available, and comes with an increased ground clearance of about two inches, so it may handle differently.
Test Drive Notes Library
- Turbo lag. The engine seems to start off slowly, and then catch up. While the dual-clutch transmission is quick, it can also feel a bit notchy. This is not the car you want if you’re looking for a silky powertrain.
- Tight interior. Get in and the first thing you notice is that your head is pretty close to the roof, and that you’re looking at the top of the windshield. Shorter folks may have better luck. The windshield is not particularly large, thanks to the sleek exterior styling. It feels tight inside, particularly in the back, where there's low head clearance. And the styling makes visibility a challenge in all directions. Even to the side—when seated in the driver's seat in a comfortable position, our head was right next to the B pillar (the pillar that the front door closes into). Turn sideways to check the lane next to you and all you see is…B pillar. Rear visibility is also squashed, in deference to rear styling. The surround-view camera helps while parking, but not while driving.
- Automatic start-stop is definitely noticeable. We turned it off sometimes, when it got annoying.
- Let me out! Maybe there’s a way to do it, but we couldn’t find a way to set the QX30 to unlock the doors after a drive. It automatically locks the doors when you put it in gear (fair enough). But unlike most cars, when you put it back in Park, it leaves all the doors locked. That sets up a Three Stooges routine where you pull the door level, throw your left shoulder into the door to get out, and knock yourself silly. Infiniti…correct us if we missed the setting for unlock, but we looked.
- Infotainment is a little slow. We never really warmed up to the infotainment system. It does the job, but there are several screens to scroll through for most things. Even though you can control it by touch, or with the mouse/knob between the seats, the smallish screen and levels of menus made it feel like work to find what we wanted.
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