Before I do anything else, I must compliment the folks at Infiniti in their selection of colors. The vehicle I tested was a stunning hue -- officially named liquid copper, which was quite frankly one of the most attractive looks I’ve seen on a vehicle. (My daughter also liked it, nicknaming it “the chocolate chip car”). Like some of the best paint schemes, it seemed to take on a whole new look in the nighttime hours.
Moving beyond the color, you’ll be instantly drawn to the exterior look of the QX30. Between its low profile, elongated hood, large windshield, and available panoramic moonroof, it quickly impresses. Add to that the vehicle’s classy curves and lines and you’re left with some of the best styling you will find in the class. Some would even argue the QX30 is more of a hatchback than a CUV, but whatever you call it, it looks great.
Moving inside, you get the usual high class interior design that you get with an Infiniti -- including Nappa leather-appointed seats. Back row is pretty tight, but that’s a problem all across this segment. Front seats are roomy and comfortable, and there’s a good mix of leather and wood in the interior design. Nothing looks or feels cheap or out of place.
The 2018 Infiniti QX30 is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, and features a seven-speed automatic dual-clutch transmission. Output is 208 horsepower, and 258 lb.-ft. of torque, and it features the option of Intelligent All-Wheel Drive, and offers Sport, Eco and Manual driving modes (paddle shifters are included). Front-wheel drive is standard on the QX30.
The QX30 offers independent front and rear suspensions, and also features an idle stop/start system (which may take some time for people to get used to).
So how does this translate to the open road?
I found the QX30’s best experience came when driven on open, windy roads. The curves are your friend in this sporty ride (a word I rarely use on SUVs), as the vehicle effortlessly flows into them -- you just have to nudge it along a bit.
I wouldn’t call the QX30 the most powerful vehicle in its class, but what it lacks in power compared to some of the competition it more than makes for it by its overall smooth and responsive driving experience, which can only be described as lots of fun.
The technology featured in the QX30 is more than adequate, and is easy to master.
In the center of it all you get the Infiniti InTouch 7-inch screen.
The QX30 also features a rearview monitor, Bose 10-speaker premium audio, Bluetooth connection, USB ports, heated front seats, rain-sensing windshield wipers and safety features like ABS, traction control and tire pressure monitoring.
Adding the technology package ($2,200) will get you: Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection (which works great, by the way); Blind Spot Warning, Lane Departure Warning, Forward Emergency Braking, Intelligent Cruise Control and Intelligent Park Assist.
You can add an LED headlamp package for $1,000, and the Navigation system ($1,850) worked well for me and adapted quickly to any detours the roads took me on.
Basically, if tech and safety options are a key consideration for you, the QX30 will have you covered.
Fuel economy numbers on the 2018 Infiniti QX30 come in at 21 city, 30 highway and 25 combined mpg. When ranked against its main competition (BMW X1, Lexus NX, Mercedes GLA-class, Range Rover Evoque, Audi Q3, Lincoln MKC), these numbers are quite impressive, topping many and ranking on par with the others.
The base price on the 2018 Infiniti QX30 starts right around $30K, which is pretty nice.
That’s more affordable at the bottom than all of its main competitors, though you can run up the price if you want to max out the technology. My test vehicle was $46,460.
When you combine its super-sharp look, plush interior and truly enjoyable driving experience, it’s not an exaggeration to say the 2018 Infiniti QX30 is in the running for the best compact luxury SUV available.
The trick for Infiniti to compete better will be if drivers who normally would stick to BMW, Lexus, Mercedes, Audi or Range Rover are willing to take the leap of faith and test out the Infiniti alternative, but if they do I can guarantee many will put some serious thought into a possible switch, as it’s hard to drive the QX30 and not enjoy yourself.
Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.