Infiniti has taken the heart and bones of a Mercedes-Benz compact SUV and used them to make a cooler crossover. Really. If you line up the 2017 Infiniti QX30 Sport with a recently redesigned 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA, with which it shares an engine, platform, and interior, the Infiniti is the sexier SUV.
Infiniti’s curvy crossover looks especially fetching from the front. It has narrow, hooded headlights, a wide double grille, bubbly bodywork, and a gently undulating hood. In comparison, the Mercedes looks blocky and bloated — the duller sibling in an oversized tracksuit.
From behind, the Mercedes fares even worse, with bulky, trapezoidal taillights that are anything but sleek. The Infiniti offers a more graceful look, with taillights that wrap nicely around the car’s billowy hips, tapering off into a pair of ruby-red cat eyes.
There are other design flourishes, too. In profile, the Mercedes is boxy, while the QX30 zigzags aerodynamically from the roof to the chrome-tipped dual exhaust below. It’s this kind of small touch that makes the car look dynamic.
When it comes to power, however, the crossovers are neck and neck. They share the same Mercedes 2.0-liter, turbocharged, inline-four engine, which can be a bit wheezy for a vehicle that checks in at 3,364 pounds. The I-4 churns out 208 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, and it is paired to a seven-speed automatic dual-clutch transmission with paddle shifters. The QX30 is a solid ride that shines in the ever-burgeoning crossover scene, though it is a more practical vehicle for school drop-offs and mall runs than it is for anything off-road. (There’s a 4WD version in other trims.)
We snagged a Sport version to add to our Four Seasons stable. This QX30 includes all the features of the luxury and premium trims, as well as 19-inch alloy wheels, sport seats, a lower suspension, and brakes with cross-drilled front rotors. The model starts at $38,500, but we checked additional boxes on our tester’s order sheet to include the leather package ($1,500), blind-spot warning, lane-departure warning, intelligent cruise control ($1,200), and an LED pack with an active front-lighting system and ambient lighting ($1,000).
There are plenty of other niceties, too, such as a panoramic moonroof and eight-way-adjustable power sport seats in carbon with creamy white trim. And the 60/40 split-folding rear-seat layout offers 19.2 cubic feet of cargo space with them up, two more than the GLA. The driver’s seat is snug, and the Nappa leather-wrapped steering wheel feels luxe. The rest of the interior is nearly identical to the GLA’s, except for the touchscreen; Infiniti crammed its 7.0-inch InTouch display into the dash. The Mercedes’ elegant, floating screen wins out in the integration department. And this brings us to the most controversial aspect of the QX30: the color. The model is available in eight shades, and we received ours in Liquid Copper, a premium paint that adds another $500. The color selection has been the subject of some office debate. It appears coppery under most lighting conditions, but to many it recalls a throwback shade of metallic pink. (Think: ’80s valley girl lipstick.)
The new QX is already a popular ride in the office. We’ll definitely rack up significant mileage in the months ahead to determine whether this is just an average urban hauler or a good Mercedes-Benz alternative.
Our 2017 Infiniti QX30 Sport
$39,495 (base), $43,695 (as tested)
2.0L turbocharged DOHC 16-valve I-4/208 hp @ 5,500 rpm, 258 lb-ft @ 1,200-4,000 rpm
|LAYOUT||4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, FWD SUV|
|TURNING CIRCLE||37.3 ft|
|BRAKES, F/R||12.6-in vented discs/11.6-in solid discs|
|TIRES||Goodyear Efficient Grip 235/45R19|
|L X W X H||174.2 x 82.0 x 58.9 in|
|TRACK, F/R||61.9/61.9 in|
|HEADROOM, F/R||38.4/37.5 in|
|LEGROOM, F/R||41.3/33.5 in|
|SHOULDER ROOM, F/R||54.8/53.1 in|
19.2 cu ft
|WEIGHT DIST, F/R||61%/39%|
|EPA MILEAGE||24/33/27 mpg city/hwy/combined|
|FUEL CAPACITY||13.2 gal|
|EST. FUEL RANGE||356 miles|
|FUEL GRADE||Unleaded premium|
|0-60 MPH||6.3 sec|
|TOP SPEED||130 mph|
|Signature LED daytime running lights||
Panoramic moonroof with power sunshade
|Power-folding and heated outside mirrors with puddle lamps||
|Auto-dimming outside mirror (driver’s side)||
Rain-sensing front windshield wipers
|Body-colored outside mirror housings||Heated washers|
|Unique AWD front and rear lower fascias||Rear liftgate wiper|
|Extended AWD overfenders (black mold-in color)||
|LED front fog lights||Leather flat bottom steering wheel|
|Unique AWD side sill panels (black moldin color)||
Lowered Sport Suspension
|Chrome trunk finisher – S Dual chrome exhaust finishers||Dark Chrome exhaust finishers|
|Liquid Copper Paint||Forward Emergency Braking|
|Nappa leather heated seats||Intelligent Cruise Control|
|Black Dinamica headliner||LED Headlamps|
|Blind Spot Warning||
Active front Lighting System
|Lane Departure Warning|