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2018 INFINITI QX30 Premium AWD Test Drive Review

The INFINITI QX30 crossover came out as a 2017 model and blended Mercedes-Benz GLA running gear with eye-catching, curvaceous exterior styling and a luxuriously trimmed, feature-packed interior. Now in its second model year, the QX30 is available in base, Luxury, Luxury AWD, Premium, Premium AWD, and Sport trim. Under normal circumstances, I would ask INIFINITI to send me whichever type of QX30 it happened to have available in my area, spend a week driving it around the suburbs and city for a few hundred miles to find out how it rides, brakes, accelerates, etc., then share my discoveries with you here on this site.

I’m definitely going to tell you what I learned about the 2018 INFINITI QX30 Premium AWD, but aside from that, everything else about my time with it was different than usual. For starters, INFINITI loaned it to me for two whole weeks. On top of that, I drove it a lot more than I usually drive press vehicles. I timed the loan just in time to go from Austin to El Paso, Texas (and back) with my girlfriend and her cousin to celebrate a special occasion with my girlfriend’s folks. That’s right – I went on one of the most time-honored adventures in the QX30: a family road trip. The 550-mile journey to El Paso was a test of endurance, seat design, interior space, fuel economy, and cargo capacity.

2018 INFINITI QX30 Premium AWD Exterior

Based on the reaction the QX30 got while I was in El Paso, I might as well have been driving an exotic sports car. Members of my girlfriend’s family were instantly attracted to the radiance of its Liquid Copper paint. Depending on how the sun hit it, it could appear to be the color of a shiny new penny, a delicious salmon filet, or a modern art piece made out of rose gold.

Under that beautiful premium paint was a body that looked more than just manufactured by machines. The QX30 was a rolling sculpture that largely resembled the QX30 Concept that inspired it. Wave-like three-dimensional mesh flowed between the boundaries of the double-arch grille. Its chrome frame connected with the optional LED Package’s adaptive LED headlights, which were paired with standard LED daytime running lights and complemented by LED fog lights below.

Perhaps the best view of the QX30 came from standing near the driver’s side of the front bumper. From there I was able to see how the contours of the hood flowed into the A-pillars then continued into the pronounced character line through the door handles and down the length of the QX30’s sides. INFINITI’s design team wanted the QX30 to look as if its body work had been “stretched over bone and muscle.” I’d say they pulled it off. The QX30 was toned and ready to spring into action.

A variety of silver exterior accents, black wheel arch and lower body trim, and a set of two-tone 18-inch wheels with a machined finish tempered the flamboyant lines and extraordinary color of my QX30 test vehicle.

In the rear, a strip of brightwork arched over the gap between the LED taillights. A valance with a satin metallic finish separated the two rectangular exhaust outlets.

2018 INFINITI QX30 Premium AWD Interior

The QX30 aced its visual inspection without any problems. Its interior faced a tougher evaluation. My girlfriend, her cousin, and I needed to fit our luggage (three suitcases and my briefcase, tote bag, and camera bag), heavy winter coats, one large art piece, and carefully wrapped presents into the 19.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row of seats. Once I removed the rear cargo cover to free up more vertical space, we were able to jam most of our things back there. However, we had to put some stuff in the rear driver’s-side seat and even after Tetris-ing things in the back as much as possible, our luggage cut into my rearward vision.

Once we were headed west toward El Paso, we were free to enjoy the QX30’s amenities. The $1,750 Café Teak Theme Package added several features, including brown Nappa leather seats; stitched leatherette on the dashboard, center console, and door panels; real wood trim on the center stack and around the door handles; and a soft suede-like headliner that extended to the bottom of the A-pillars. INFINITI based the QX30 on Mercedes-Benz’s GLA crossover; the German vehicle’s DNA manifested itself in some of the QX30’s switchgear (as well as its engine and transmission). My test vehicle’s $1,850 Navigation Package contained what its name implied as well as INFINITI InTouch Services such as the abilities to plan a journey and send its destinations to the QX30. The panoramic moonroof made INFINITI’s smallest crossover feel larger inside than it was.

Spending more than eight hours inside of the QX30 on the way to El Paso caused me to realize a couple of things about it. As nice as the heated front seats were, the driver’s seat caused the top of my back to hurt after a while. My girlfriend also complained of not being comfortable in her seat. The second row didn’t recline and offered a limited amount of legroom, so my girlfriend’s cousin felt cramped. During short trips around El Paso and Mesilla, New Mexico, the QX30 was perfectly comfortable and in its sweet spot. It can do longer trips with four passengers, but those riding in the back should either be short adults or full-size children – who travel light – if they stand a chance of being comfortable after 500+ miles of driving.

2018 INFINITI QX30 Premium AWD Performance

Like its GLA corporate cousin, the QX30 has a turbocharged 2.0-liter I4 with 208 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque under its hood. That’s mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. Three drive modes allowed me to drive the QX30 according to my mood, whether I wanted to save fuel, zip down the road, or manually control the transmission with the shift paddles behind the steering wheel. Although the four-cylinder engine sounded coarse at times, the manual mode gear changes were satisfyingly quick.

The EPA determined the QX30 Premium AWD can go 21 city, 30 highway, or 25 combined miles on one gallon of gas.** After going to El Paso and Mesilla and back to Austin, I averaged about 27 mpg.

2018 INFINITI QX30 Premium AWD Safety

The QX30 Premium AWD comes standard with front, front knee, side-impact, and head curtain airbags in addition to an alphabet soup of safety technologies. An anti-lock braking system (ABS), Brake Assist (BA), Traction Control System (TCS), and Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) are just a few of its ingredients.

The $2,200 Technology Package upped the QX30’s level of protection with an 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.

2018 INFINITI QX30 Premium AWD Overall

Whether you plan to use it for your own road trips or just commuting to and from work, you can learn even more about the 2018 INFINITI QX30 Premium AWD at an AutoNation INFINITI dealership. Prices start at $37,700.* If you want one exactly like the one I reviewed, expect to pay $46,460.

*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.

**Based on EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.

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