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  • 2017 Infiniti QX30 Sport

    Posted on July 12th, 2017 ninarussin

    Compact crossover is a wolf in sheep’s clothing

    By Nina Russin

    Infiniti QX30

    Infiniti QX30

    Infiniti is known for using racing technology in its passenger cars, giving those vehicles a level of performance that sets them apart from the pack. The QX30 compact crossover that competes against the Audi Q3 and Lexus NX is a case in point: a sports car in a five-door package.

    Available in front or all-wheel drive configurations, the “baby” QX is a surprisingly affordable luxury car, with the base model priced below $30,000. The front-wheel drive Sport variant tested starts at $38,500, powered by a 208-horsepower two-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and seven-speed dual clutch automatic transmission.

    The Sport model rides on 19-inch alloy rims with summer run-flat performance tires. Cross-drilled front brake rotors enable the QX to stop as fast as it accelerates. Standard convenience features include leatherette upholstery, eight-way power driver’s seat with memory, a tilt-and-telescoping flat bottom steering wheel with Formula-style paddle shifters, aluminum pedals, sport suspension, 60/40, fold-flat rear seats, Bose audio system, Bluetooth phone and streaming audio, satellite radio, around-view monitor with moving object detection and intelligent park assist.

    Options on the test car include Nappa leather seating and heated seats, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, forward emergency braking, high beam assist, LED headlamps with active front lighting, navigation, panoramic moonroof and illuminated kick plates. Final MSRP is $43,735.

    Test drive in Phoenix, Arizona

    Infiniti QX30

    Infiniti QX30

    Over the past week I drove the QX30 around the Phoenix, Arizona metropolitan area as well as the east valley and sections of the Gila River Indian Community south of town. The QX proved itself an appealing partner throughout the test drive, thanks to its peppy engine, smooth-shifting transmission, solid steering response and well-tuned suspension.

    The engine develops up to 258 pound-feet of peak torque at engine speeds as low as 1200 rpm and maintains it up to 4000 rpm. The long, flat torque curve translates to excellent acceleration off the line and good climbing power. Turbocharged engines have the advantage over naturally aspirated blocks of very little parasitic power loss at altitude, since air is forced into the engine by an exhaust-driven blower versus being drawn in by vacuum.

    Infiniti QX30

    Infiniti QX30

    The dual-clutch automatic transmission offers the precise feel of a manual gearbox without the inconvenience of a clutch. An automatic shut-off feature shuts off the engine at idle to boost fuel economy. Unlike many of these systems, the Infiniti version doesn’t wait for the car to get boiling on before re-firing the ignition and restarting the compressor: quite a relief since I was driving the car at the height of Phoenix, Arizona’s summer heat, with temperatures reaching 116.

    Both the engine block and heads are aluminum, shaving weight off the car’s front end. For a front-wheel drive chassis, the QX30 feels surprisingly well balanced. Those who want more traction in back can opt for the all-wheel drive variant that automatically sends engine torque to the wheels with the best traction.

    Electric power assist steering is very well tuned both in terms of low-speed assist and on-center response. On-center response isn’t quite as aggressive as some of the car’s German competitors, but the wheels move appropriately according-to driver inputs.

    Infiniti QX30

    Infiniti QX30

    A MacPherson front and multi-link rear suspension includes stabilizer bars on both axles to keep the chassis flat while cornering. If you want to take a decreasing radius corner quickly, the QX30 will not hold you back.

    Engineers did an excellent job of creating a quiet cabin devoid of engine, wind and road noise. There are some blind spots around the car’s perimeter due to its high beltline, narrow greenhouse and large rear pillars. I found the optional blind spot monitoring system a big help when weaving through dense highway traffic.

    At night, the optional LED headlamps project long, bright beams that are close to daylight in intensity, yet with minimal drain on the battery. Headlamps swivel in the direction of steering inputs to light dark corners of rural or sparsely-lit suburban roads.

    Upscale interior

    Infiniti QX30

    Infiniti QX30

    The optional Nappa leather seats give the QX30 the appearance of a high-luxury car, sans the high-luxury price tag. Driver’s seat adjustments enabled me to get a clear forward view with ample lower lumbar support. I found both climate and infotainment controls easy to reach and intuitive to operate. Graphics on the center stack screen are bright and easy to read, both in bright sunlight and after dark.

    Access and egress to both rows of seating is quite good: essentially the same as a passenger car. The fold-flat rear seats extend the cargo floor for bicycles and other large items.

    A low lift-over height makes the QX30 easy to load up in back, with plenty of room behind the second-row seats for luggage, groceries, golf bags and modest-size camping equipment.

    Standard safety

    The Infiniti QX30 comes with six airbags, antilock brakes, traction control, stability control, rearview camera with parking sensors, tire pressure monitoring and hill start assist.

    Infiniti’s factory warranty includes roadside assistance with complimentary service loaner cars.

    Like: A stylish premium crossover vehicle with excellent power, steering response, ride and handling.

    Dislike: Blind spots toward the rear of the car make it hard to see vehicles approaching in adjacent lanes, making it necessary to add optional blind spot monitoring.

    Quick facts:

    Make: Infiniti
    Model: QX30 FWD Sport
    Year: 2017
    Base price: $38,500
    As tested: $43,735
    Horsepower: 208 HP @ 5500 rpm
    Torque: 258 lbs.-ft. @ 1200 rpm
    Zero-to-sixty: N/A
    Antilock brakes: Standard
    Side curtain airbags: Standard
    First aid kit: N/A
    Bicycle friendly: Yes
    Off-road: No
    Towing: No
    Fuel economy: 24/33 MPG City/Highway
    Comment: The manufacturer requires the use of 91-octane premium unleaded gasoline.

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