Toeing the line between hatchback and crossover sits a quickly growing breed of luxury crossovers, and one of the newest in this class is the 2018 INFINITI QX30. Introduced for the 2017 model year, the QX30 was developed as part of a collaboration between Nissan-Renault and Daimler (parent companies of INFINITI and Mercedes-Benz, respectively) making this compact crossover a restyled version of the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class.
What does it take to transform a Mercedes into an INFINITI? We snagged the keys to this beautiful 2018 INFINITI QX30 Sport to find out.
2018 INFINITI QX30 Sport Exterior
Even though the 2018 INFINITI QX30 is based on the same guts as the GLA, INFINITI managed to completely change the sheet metal to make this one of the most attractive crossovers in its segment. It still has a small hatchback look to it, but it does a better job of looking the premium part.
The 2018 INFINITI QX30 is split up into three models – the QX30, QX30 AWD and the QX30 Sport – with each getting its own distinct styling attributes. There’s the standard QX30, the QX30 AWD with some added plastic trim for a more rugged(-ish) look and then the most stylish of the bunch is the aggressive QX30 Sport. Living up to its name, the QX30 Sport gets a lowered stance, unique front and rear bumpers and a handful of blacked-out accents including the grille, door mirrors and wheel arches. This trend is also found on the dark chrome exhaust outlets and the 19-inch alloy wheels with a Gun Metallic finish.
This tester came in what is probably the QX30’s boldest color, Ink Blue, and it also had a little extra styling help from the optional ($1,000) Sport LED package, which adds active LED headlights as well as ambient lighting on the inside.
2018 INFINITI QX30 Sport Interior
While the exterior design is all INFINITI, the interior of the 2018 INFINITI QX30 is instantly recognizable as a Mercedes product. The QX30 does make some modest styling improvements like the inset infotainment screen and console shifter, but every part of the interior still looks, feels and sounds like a Mercedes. This isn’t a knock on Mercedes, but the interior lacks a true INFINITI ambiance, which is highlighted by the missing signature analog clock.
Aside from the aesthetics, this cabin has the same level of craftsmanship expected from INFINITI. The QX30 Sport has a stylish two-tone leather interior, and there is rich stitched leather found on the instrument panel, door panels and center console lid. The true nature of the QX30 Sport is apparent from the sport bucket seats with integrated headrests, black suede headliner and A-pillar trim, aluminum pedals and a flat-bottom steering wheel. As the top end of the 2018 INFINITI QX30, the Sport comes packed with all the bells and whistles including navigation, panoramic moonroof and the 10-speaker Bose audio system. The only upcharge on this tester was $465 for the illuminated kick plates.
As much premium content that INFINITI packs into the QX30 Sport, the one inherent downside of a premium small crossover is the “small” part. Taller passengers will notice the limited headroom sitting in the front, and the rear seats are even tighter. Looking at the spec sheet, the QX30’s 88.8 cubic feet of passenger volume is far less than the similarly sized BMW X1; Mercedes doesn’t list the cabin volume of the GLA-Class, but the QX30 feels even tighter.
2018 INFINITI QX30 Sport Powertrain
Unlike the closely related Mercedes GLA, the 2018 INFINITI QX30 is only available with one powertrain combination mating the 2.0-liter turbocharged and direct-injected four-cylinder to a seven-speed automatic transmission. This engine puts out 208 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, and while it is enough to make the QX30 Sport fun, the Mercedes-AMG GLA45’s 375-hp engine would have been better suited for this crossover. Keeping the standard powertrain allows all QX30 models to deliver excellent fuel economy with EPA-rated estimates of 24 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway**.
For the most part, the QX30 Sport is basically a styling package, but it does add some performance upgrades like the cross-drilled front brake rotors and Goodyear run-flat summer tires. The power steering and transmission both seemed to be tuned for a slightly sportier experience, and while we had fun with our week in this tester, some drivers might appreciate softer engagement. On the road, though, the QX30 is very quiet, and its 3,364 pounds of curb weight are evident with how much fun it is to play with in the corners. Sadly, if you’re looking for an all-wheel-drive QX30, you won’t be able to enjoy the Sport because this model is only offered in front-wheel drive.
2018 INFINITI QX30 Sport Safety
The 2018 INFINITI QX30 has yet to be tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, but this crossover packs all of the latest safety gadgets that you’d expect from a luxury automaker. On top of this, the optional ($1,200) Sport Technology Package bolsters this by adding Lane Departure Warning, Intelligent Cruise Control, Blind Spot Warning, Forward Emergency Braking and High Beam Assist.
2018 INFINITI QX30 Sport Overall
Although the 2018 INFINITI QX30 looks and feels more like a hatchback than a traditional crossover, it is just the vehicle that INFINITI needed to bolster its crossover lineup. The QX30 is the perfect starting point leading to the all-new QX50, the three-row QX60 crossover and the mammoth QX80 SUV. And speaking of starting points, the 2018 INFINITI QX30 has a starting MSRP that wiggles in at just under $30,000 – $29,950* to be exact – handily undercutting luxury rivals like the BMW X1, Audi Q3, Lexus NX and Lincoln MKC. Stepping up to the QX30 Sport bumps the price to $38,500, and this loaded-up tester came with a still-reasonable as-tested price of $43,660.
Make sure to visit your local AutoNation-affiliated INFINITI dealership and test drive the 2018 INFINITI QX30 Sport today!
*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
**Based on 2018 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.