The 2017 Infiniti QX30 is one of the newest competitors in a market niche that didn't even exist until recently — subcompact luxury crossovers.
It is also one of the most striking looking, with a powerful stance and sharply creased body lines that look great from any angle.
And, although it is brand new, the QX30 entered the field with a pedigree. It is largely based on the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class, sharing that subcompact crossover's underpinnings and drivetrain. Like the exterior, Infiniti furnished the entire interior, however, including the infotainment system.
Like the GLA-Class, the QX30 comes with one engine and transmission — a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline four mated to a seven-speed dual clutch automatic. It is available either front- or all-wheel-drive, however, with FWD reserved for a Sport version that also features a lowered, firmer suspension.
Although the engine pumps out 208 horsepower and 256 foot-pounds of torque, our AWD-equipped QX30 was not particularly fast off the line. That's probably because of the additional weight of the AWD components. But it was very responsive once it got up to speed, especially when set in the Sport as opposed to the Eco mode. A Manual mode is also available for those who like to shift for themselves.
Although some might consider the ride firm, we found it fitting for a crossover that looks as sporty as the QX30. Buyers won't be expecting a soft suspension on a vehicle that looks fast standing still. We did not find that potholes upset it too much, either.
Front seat room was good for a subcompact crossover, although the rear seat was a little confining and the cargo space was reduced by the wonderfully slanted rear hatch. But anyone shopping for a subcompact car or crossover knows that some sacrifices need to be made for easy around town driving and parking.
And the luxury features in our Premium test version more than made up for any inconveniences. They included wide, supportive leather front bucket seats, a dazzling Bose stereo, a panoramic moonroof, and a Cafe Teak Theme Package that included genuine wood trim throughout the interior and appropriately dark brown leather trim.
It also came with a blind spot monitoring system with the warning lights on top of the stereo speakers at the bottom of the front window pillars, where they are easier to see than on the outside mirrors. That's good thinking, since the otherwise attractive styling reduces rear visibility a bit.
There are now a lot of subcompact or fairly small compacts on the market, including those that can be outfitted with leather and other premium touches for less money. But the difference in quality and refinement is obvious in the QX30, which is designed to more directly against such established genuine luxury brands from Germany.
Anyone interested in a small, agile and sophisticated subcompact crossover has to put the new Infiniti near the top of their shopping list.
2017 Infiniti QX30
Base price: $29,950
Price as tested: $46,035
Type: Subcompact luxury crossover
Engine: Turbocharged 2.0-liter (208 hp, 256 lbs-ft)
Transmission: 7-speed dual clutch automatic
EPA estimated mileage: 21/30
Overall length: 174.2 inches
Curb weight: 3,341 pounds
Final assembly: Sunderland, U.K