Long-Term

Our Four Seasons 2017 Infiniti QX30 Sport Takes on the 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 4MATIC

Crossover cousins face-off down by the sea port

Long-Term 2017 Infiniti QX30 Update: Fall 2017 ( 4 of 4 ) Miles to date: 11,457

SAN PEDRO, California — Our latest Four Seasons comparison has taken us to the early morning streets of the port of Los Angeles on yet another beautiful SoCal day. Local cops, security guards, and the port patrol have trailed our 2017 Infiniti QX30 Sport and the 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 we brought along with it around town since dawn, but no one has been ticketed or arrested.

We get told to scram again as production editor Eleonor Segura hops into the Infiniti with her camera gear, and we haul ass towards the marina.

Both vehicles, as we mentioned in previous updates, share platforms and turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engines that deliver 208 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The engines are both mated to seven-speed transmissions, and most interior components are shared as well.

Having driven the QX30 for several months now, we have grown accustomed to the confidence inspiring ride and decent handing of the small SUV.

Our only major gripe is directed at the aforementioned transmission. It tends to shift lethargically, especially in stop and go traffic around town. It’s fine at cruising speed on the freeway, but around town, it’s a drag.

“It’s best at highway speed or on windy roads,” says Billy Rehbock, social media editor, adding, “The transmission makes low speed driving—especially in traffic—miserable.”

For example, at city speeds of around 30 mph, our tester will linger in 5th gear for what feels like forever instead of dropping down a cog or two, whining like a preschooler on the first day of class.

Using the paddle shifters adds a smidgen of excitement to the drive, but there is still a noticeable delay when you upshift and downshift to make it interesting or fun.

“Despite this, it still wouldn’t be a bad car to live with by any means,” Rehbock concludes.

We totally agree. When you get it out of commuter traffic, it really moves us.

“It’s nimble and drives like a car, which of course it basically is, with a well-balanced, on center steering feel. Despite the pronouncements this is some sort of crossover, it’s a hatchback, plain and simple, and smaller than your average midsize sedan,” says Automobile’s esteemed editor-in-chief, Mike Floyd.

Although the GLA received a refresh for 2018, the Infiniti‘s more flowing curvy lines remain more attractive than the beefy, more masculine bulk of the GLA.

However, the AWD Mercedes offered a more engaging and sportier ride. The AMG package doesn’t hurt either. Its 7G-DCT transmission is as smooth as Japanese silk—sorry, Infiniti. Maybe it’s just a tuning issue?

Inside, the two are nearly identical. The easiest way to tell them apart is by the rectangular air vents verses the sportier round ones found in the Mercedes-Benz.

Our Jupiter Red GLA came with a choice black leather interior and features a panoramic sunroof for an extra $1,480 that opens wide, unlike the standard non-opening moonroof of the QX30—insert big sigh here.

Though the Mercedes-Benz GLA starts at $36,395, the model we tested with options came to $50,215. By comparison, the QX30 starts at $38,500 base, but our car bears a $43,695. We’d still stick with Infiniti’s version, but recommend a test drive in the AWD variant to see which flavor best suits your driving needs.

Speaking of our QX30, remember the issue we had with its power locks? It was resolved by accessing the lock control settings by scrolling through the dash options—a discovery made by daily news editor Conner Golden. The GLA’s locks opened up without having to push its unlock button first—a big plus all around.

Now if he can figure our how to permanently disable the ECO- start/stop we’ll buy him a case of bubbly water.

Also, we noticed that the temperature gauges on both crossovers ran hot on average, including on another QX30 Sport tester we had for a week up at Pebble Beach.

Graphic designer Michael Cruz-Garcia reported this issue in the past.

“The temperature gauge seems to go up and down from the mid point to three-quarters of a way up. This seems to occur more when the engine is under more stress, such as driving though canyons,” he has noted in our logbook.

We’ve been keeping an eye on it but haven’t had any overheating issues that required a visit to the shop.

In fact, aside from an oil change, plugging a flat tire, a few minor scratches, we haven’t had any problems with the Infiniti as a daily driver at all.

Our 2017 Infiniti QX30 Sport

MILES TO DATE 11,457
PRICE $43,695
ENGINE 2.0L DOHC turbocharged 16-valve I-4/208 hp @ 5,500 rpm, 258 lb-ft @ 1,200-4,000 rpm
TRANSMISSION 7-speed automatic
LAYOUT 4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, AWD SUV
EPA MILEAGE 24/33 mpg (city/hwy)
L x W x H 174.2 x 82.0 x 58.9 in
WHEELBASE 106.3 in
WEIGHT 3,373 lb
0-60 MPH 6.2 sec
TOP SPEED 130 mph

 

2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 4MATIC

ON SALE Now
PRICE $36,395 (base), $50,215 (as tested)
ENGINE 2.0L DOHC turbocharged 16-valve I-4/208 hp @ 5,500 rpm, 258 lb-ft @ 1,200-4,000 rpm
TRANSMISSION 7-speed automatic
LAYOUT 4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, AWD SUV
EPA MILEAGE 24/33 mpg (city/hwy)
L x W x H 173.9 x 79.6 x 60.0 in
WHEELBASE 106.3 in
WEIGHT 3,428 lb
0-60 MPH 6.2 sec
TOP SPEED 130 mph

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