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Infiniti QX30 2016 review

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Likes

  • Attractive, unusual crossover
  • Rides and handles well
  • Comfortable interior

Dislikes

  • Really? No rear view camera at nearly $50,000?
  • Not a big back seat

Tim Robson road tests and reviews the 2016 Infiniti QX30 at its Australian launch with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.

There’s no doubt that the compact crossover segment is a vitally important place for any carmaker to be. Nissan’s luxury arm, Infiniti, is no different, and thanks to a decision from its Japanese masters, the diminutive premium brand will go from having no players on the field to having two marquee players in a matter of just a few months.

The architecturally identical front-wheel-drive Q30 launched only a month ago in three variants, and now it’s the turn of the all-wheel-drive QX30 to take to the pitch.

But is there enough of a difference between the two to actually consider them different cars? Is it adding a layer of complexity for the prospective Infiniti customer? As it turns out, the differences run more than skin deep.

Infiniti QX30 2016: GT 2.0T

Safety Rating
Engine Type Turbo 4, 2.0L
Fuel Type Premium Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency 6.9L/100km (combined)
Seating 5
Price From $14,410 - $18,920

Is there anything interesting about its design?
7 / 10

The QX30 is one of the first projects to result from a technology partnership formed between the parent company of Mercedes-Benz and the Nissan-Renault Alliance.

the QX30 feels more lively and involving, thanks to its unique spring and damper set-up.

In a sign of how worldly the car industry is becoming, the QX30 is built in Nissan’s Sunderland plant in the UK, using the German Mercedes-Benz A-Class platform and powertrains, all under Sino-French ownership via the Nissan-Renault Alliance.

On the outside, the design that first aired on the Q30 is pretty unique. It’s not a subtle car, with deep crease lines along its sides that, according to Infiniti, is an industry first in terms of manufacturing complexity.

When it comes to differences between the two vehicles, it’s minimal at best. There is a 35mm increase in height (30mm from taller springs and 5mm from roof rails), an extra 10mm in width, and extra trims affixed to the front and rear bumpers. Aside from the all-wheel-drive underpinnings, that is pretty much it for the exterior.

The same black plastic overfenders that are fitted to the Q30 are present on the QX30, with 18-inch rims on both the base model GT and the other variant, the Premium.

The dimensions of the QX30 are also an exact match for those on the Mercedes-Benz GLA, with the long front overhang acting as the main visual connection between the two cars.

How practical is the space inside?
6 / 10

The QX30 is obviously very similar to the Q30 in many respects, but the interior is slightly different, with larger, less cosseting seats up front and slightly higher seats in the rear.

The cabin is also lighter in overall appearance, thanks to a paler colour palette.

There are plenty of neat inclusions, including a pair of USB ports, plenty of door storage, a space for six bottles and a sizable glove box.

A pair of cupholders resides up front, along with a pair in the fold-down armrest in the rear.

There is no particularly logical location for the storage of smartphones, though, and the lack of Apple CarPlay or Android Auto is down to Infiniti opting for its own phone connectivity suite.

A decent 430 litres of luggage space behind the rear seats is contrasted by a cramped rear area for all but the smallest of passengers, while sharply shaped rear door apertures making getting in and out a bit of an ask.

There are two ISOFIX baby seat points and a 12-volt socket in the rear, as well.

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?
7 / 10

The QX30 will be offered in two variants; the base model GT at $48,900 plus on-road costs, while the Premium will cost $56,900.

Both come equipped with the same engine; a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine that’s sourced from Mercedes-Benz and also used on the Q30 and Merc GLA.

Eighteen-inch rims are standard on both cars, while an electronic handbrake, 10-speaker Bose audio, 7.0-inch multimedia screen and a full set of LED lamps all round are fitted across both variants as well.

Unfortunately, the QX30 GT misses out on a reversing camera all together, a fate it shares with the Q30 GT. 

Infiniti Cars Australia told us that this was an oversight at the time the cars were being specced for Australia, particularly in light of the other technologies that the car would receive, like automatic emergency braking.

The company says it’s working hard to bring a reversing camera to the GT.

The top-spec Premium gets leather trim, a powered driver’s seat, and additional safety equipment like a 360-degree camera and radar cruise with brake assist.

The only optional extra on each car is metallic paint.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?
7 / 10

Just the one engine is used across both cars; the 155kW/350Nm single-turbo 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine from the Q30 and A-Class.

It’s backed by a seven-speed transmission and wired into an all-wheel-drive system that is biased towards a front-drive configuration.

Sourced from Mercedes-Benz, up to 50 per cent of drive can be sent to the rear wheels, according to Infiniti.

How much fuel does it consume?
7 / 10

Infiniti claims a combined fuel economy figure of 8.9L/100km for the 1576kg QX30 across both the variants; this is 0.5L thirstier than the Q30 version.

Our brief test yielded a dash figure of 11.2L/100km over 150km.

What's it like to drive?
7 / 10

Again, it would be easy to think that the QX30 would feel almost identical to its lower-riding sibling – but that would be incorrect. We criticised the Q30 for being a bit too buttoned down and unresponsive, but the QX30 feels more lively and involving, thanks to its unique spring and damper set-up.

Even though it’s 30mm higher than the Q, the QX doesn’t feel it at all, with a benign, pleasant ride with good body roll control and competent steering.

Our front-seat passenger complained of feeling a little ‘hemmed in’, which is a valid point. The sides of the car are very high, and the roofline is quite low, exacerbated by the steeply raked windscreen.

The 2.0-litre four-potter is smooth and punchy, and the gearbox well suited to it, but it’s lacking in aural character. Luckily the QX30 does a terrific job of suppressing noise before it gets into the cabin, then…

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty
4 years/100,000 km warranty

ANCAP Safety Rating

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?
6 / 10

The QX30 gets seven airbags, auto emergency braking, forward collision warning and a pop-up bonnet as standard across the line.

The base GT does, however, miss out on a reversing camera.

The Premium model also offers a 360-degree camera, blind spot warning, radar cruise control and brake assist, traffic sign detection, reverse motion detection and lane departure warning.

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?
8 / 10

The Q30 is offered with a four-year, 100,000km warranty, and servicing is suggested every 12 months or 25,000km.

Infiniti offers a fixed three-year service schedule, with the GT and the Premium both costing an average of $541 over the three services provided.

Verdict

Even though it’s almost identical to the Q30, the QX30 manages to feel sufficiently different in suspension tune and cabin ambiance to be considered different.

It’s a disappointing oversight, though, by Infiniti to deny the base GT such basic safety fundamentals as a rear view camera (which Infiniti assures us is being worked on).

Would you consider the QX30 over similar rivals? Tell us what yout think in the comments below.

 

Range and Specs

Vehicle Specs Price*
GT 2.0T 2.0L, Premium Unleaded Petrol, 7 SPEED AUTO DUAL CLUTCH $14,410 - $18,920
Premium 2.0T 2.0L, Premium Unleaded Petrol, 7 SPEED AUTO DUAL CLUTCH $10,560 - $14,520
See all 2016 Infiniti QX30 in the Range
*Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price
Tim Robson
Contributing Journalist
Tim Robson has been involved in automotive journalism for almost two decades, after cutting his teeth on alternative forms of wheeled transport.  Studiously avoiding tertiary education while writing about mountain bikes in the 1990s, Tim started with Motor magazine in 2001, moving on to edit Auto Action and Motor before joining Top Gear Australia in 2010. Tim formed his own company, 032Media, in 2014, building up a freelance business that supplies leading news outlets like CarsGuide and GoAuto, as well as Evo Australia, Motor, 4x4 Australia and The Robb Report. He's also a skilled photographer, practicing videographer, presenter and editor. He’s also recently returned to his roots, currently editing Australia's oldest and most prestigious mountain bike magazine, Mountain Biking Australia. Tim lives in Wollongong, NSW, and is married with three double-digit age kids… two of who are learning to drive. One’s already learned to race, with 16-year-old Max helping Tim to build and run his only car – a track-registered Honda Civic EG. You can check out Tim’s bike collection, race car failings and more on his Insta feed or Facebook.
About Author
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