To Infiniti with Rob and Miranda

Separated by thousands of kilometres and a Y-chromosome, Rob and Miranda combine their thoughts on the QX30 after each spending a week behind the wheel of Infiniti’s baby CUV.

Rob: The QX30 is small, and very much Mercedes-Benz-like. In fact, it was co-developed with Daimler – parent company of Mercedes-Benz – and is really Infiniti’s interpretation of the Mercedes-Benz GLA. That’s not a bad start to life.

The chassis and drivetrain are Mercedes-Benz, but retuned by Infiniti to fit within their family dynamics. Heck, even the key is Mercedes-Benz, which by the way must be inserted into the slot and twisted to start the car. And herein Miranda lies my first complaint.

My as-equipped tester rang in at $46,640 before taxes and delivery. For that kind of dough, I expect to see a button on the dash that reads: Start. But here’s the even weirder thing. My tester had keyless entry and locking. Great. No need to hunt for the key with groceries in-hand to unlock the car. But take a seat, and suddenly you’re trying to awkwardly pull the key from a pocket to start the QX30.

The keyless entry feature is a tease; you still need the blasted key to drive.

While on the subject of doors and keys, I should mention the irritation I felt fruitlessly pulling on the door handle to exit the QX30. As you no doubt discovered Miranda, one must push the unlock button before the door can be opened, even after the transmission is placed into Park and the engine switched off. Why? Miranda, please help me to understand this enigma.

Miranda: First off, fabulous intro from esteemed colleague from across the country. Much thanks on that one. Kilometres and chromosomes aside, we can agree on the foible of the keyless/key enigma that is the otherwise technologically advanced Infiniti QX30.

I too was flummoxed by the vehicles ability to let me unlock (and lock) the doors with only my hand, only to then realize I needed the key to start the damn thing (a key that was, undoubtedly, never in my pocket or anywhere near me but instead buried in the bottom of a purse or laptop bag, or being held by my ever helpful backseat driver).

I have no issue with using a key to start a vehicle, after all, I am madly in love with the bare-bones Nissan Micra and have never hid that fact. However, the combination of keyless/key is the annoyance here.

And, you have no idea how many times that need to unlock the door before exiting the car (even when park is engaged) annoyed me to no end. I believe it’s a Nissan/Infiniti foible as I recall complaining about this feature on multiple occasions, wishing very much for a BMW-style exit strategy in which one interior handle pull unlocks, a second opens the door. Simple solution, no?

Rob: Despite my key-and-lock rant, the QX30 brings a lot of talent to the showroom. Its small size will certainly please many buyers wanting the benefits of an all-wheel-drive SUV without the typical bulk and heft. This is where the QX30 shines for me. It’s quick to respond, nimble, and relatively sporty feeling.

I found its 2.0L turbocharged I-4 engine to be more than enough to give the QX30 some serious kick. With 208 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque (at just 1200 RPM), the diminutive Infiniti is more than competent on the hills and in the passing lane; this thanks in part to its 7-speed automatic dual-clutch gearbox.

Miranda: Definitely agree with Rob on this one (see how similar we really are?! Not sure if that’s a bonus or not for Rob… but I digress). The QX30’s small stature is what really sold me on the vehicle from the get-go. I adore compact, small cars that offer usable interior space to boot.

I’m a rather small person in stature, so I tend to gravitate towards things that are equally compact and small. The QX30 is what I’d call Miranda-sized, and I love its shape and lines. Of course, it is essentially a Mercedes-GLA dressed in Infiniti badges; the rear is different enough to set you apart from the German brand. The front end’s also been given Infiniti’s much more fluid and less aggressive look in comparison with the GLA.

Now, about that interior space. With a rather large 5-year-old in the back on his child seat, there’s really not much more room for more than one adult alongside. Stick an adult back there (an adult not much larger than yours truly) and the headroom is rather lacking as she found herself very nearly touching the roof. However, again, as someone who does not own a dog or coach soccer or camp regularly, the QX30 is more than capable for my day-to-day activities, and is an absolute breeze to park in tighter urban settings (thanks to the 360-degree birds-eye view camera system Infiniti’s made so famous).

As Rob’s already pointed out the engine stats and figures I’ll simply offer my take on the performance: I wish I liked it more than I did. While it was quick to respond once it got going, it’s the getting going where my QX30 seemed to struggle. Jerky gear changes from 1-3 when the vehicle first got going were off-putting to say the least. Otherwise, the Merciniti handled winter terrain like a pro, as well as open clear tarmac. Handling feels like that of a car not an SUV thanks to its smaller size, and suspension could be softer, but then that would take away some of the vehicle’s sportiness.

Rob: While the QX30’s performance impressed, its fuel-economy was ok, but not great. I averaged 10.3L/100km around town. Not sure of your results Miranda, but knowing how happy your right-foot can be, I’d bet your number is even worse.

Miranda: Ah, here’s where we differed. I did quite a bit of both, around town and highway/country driving and while I’m not entirely sure what my final fuel rating was (because I completely forgot to check as I admittedly have about a million things running through my brain at any given moment on any given day and …. Squirrel!), but I will say this: My QX30 achieved fantastic gas mileage for a car that travelled well over 350km in one week, and didn’t even drain the tank (I had well over a quarter tank left after seven days of driving). While premium is required, considering I didn’t have to fill the tank at the end of the week, spending $45 on refilling just under 50 litres of gas wasn’t such a hard pill to swallow. Also, of note, I was travelling on studded winter rubber as well, which would undoubtedly murder the gas mileage a bit …

Rob: It probably sounds as though there’s more darkness than light in my life, but in fairness to our readers, I need to mention a couple of other shortcomings with my tester. Firstly, the low roofline and narrow windows impede visibility; this is no Volkswagen Golf when it comes to open sightlines.

Next, I was taken aback by a vibration-induced creaky low-intensity rattle that was coming from somewhere near the roof or top of the doors on the passenger side. Let me repeat: $46,640?

Miranda: Someone clearly needs more coffee and/or Vitamin D in their life… Rob?

At the risk of sounding just as grumpy, I will agree with the poor sight-lines on the QX30. While the rear makes the vehicle a real looker, it makes it impossible to actually look out. There is a massive blind-spot back there, however, with blind-spot detection activated, you can at least rest assured that the nannies will help out a bit there (see, silver lining to ever cloud, Rob!).

Other than that, I found very little “wrong” with the compact crossover, save for #firstworldproblems of having to turn keys in ignitions and actually press unlock buttons to exit the vehicle.

Rob: So Miranda, while I think that there are many attributes to be gained from small-sized CUVs equipped with all-wheel-drive, the QX30 missed the mark in several areas for me. It’s good, but most certainly could have been much better, and that’s unusual for Infiniti.

Miranda: Ooh, this makes for a good read after all: I somewhat disagree with you. I think Infiniti’s done a very good job at bringing a compact crossover that offers just enough of a touch of luxury to set it aside from the norm.

Here’s where I think things will get really interesting and perhaps tip in the favour of Infiniti over Merc. The two (QX30/GLA) are very, very similarly priced. Only the dealer’s finance ratings will make a difference in payments really. So, it will come down to this: Do you want a slightly lower-grade quality Mercedes simply to own the badge in your driveway or will you opt for the Infiniti that offers just the right amount of quality and luxury for the price with a design that (in my opinion) is much more slick and appealing than that of the German?

Personally, I think there’s more to a product than the logo branded on the side, so I’d go home with the Infiniti (because at its heart it really is a Mercedes anyways…).

Rob: Why is it that so many women disagree with me? Miranda, I concede that your glass is half full, I just wonder with what! (Red or white?) While you make some very good points, which brighten my world, I’m not persuaded that the QX30 justifies its mid $40K price tag. And for that reason, I’ll continue to ruminate in my sunless world.

2017 Infiniti QX30
Trim level: AWD
Price as tested (before taxes): $46,640.00
Freight: $1,995.00
Configuration: front engine, all-wheel-drive
Engine/transmission: 2.0L turbocharged I-4 / 7-speed DCT automatic
Power/torque: 208 hp / 258 lb-ft
Fuel-economy ratings (L/100km): city 10.6, highway 8.0
Observed fuel-economy (L/100km): 10.3
Warranty (basic): 4 years / 100,000 km
Competitors: Audi Q3, BMW X1, Lexus NX, Lincoln MKC, Mercedes-Benz GLA, Range Rover Evoque

Related links:
Infiniti Canada
CAR (Canadian Auto Review)

He Said, She Said: 2017 Infiniti QX30 AWD
Styling 75%
  • Nimble, responsive handling
  • Compact dimensions, great exterior design
  • Torquey turbocharged performance
  • No keyless start feature
  • Abrupt restart feature, annoying rattle
  • Lack of headroom in the rear for actual adults
81%Overall Score
Reader Rating: (0 Votes)

About The Author

Rob Rothwell has been involved in automotive journalism since 2002, writing for multiple online and print publications. He lives on the West Coast and is a member of the AJAC (Automotive Journalist Association of Canada). Rob’s passions include long drives on country roads in his convertible sports car, as well as cycling, skiing, kayaking, and sailing. Rob can often be found at the beach with his classic 80s Rainbow Laser, or tinkering in his workshop on his latest project.

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