The 2017 QX30, Infiniti's 5-door and 5-seat compact premium luxury crossover utility vehicle, lands in North America bearing a Teutonic pedigree and a curvy-sleek package design.
Through Infiniti's collaboration with Mercedes-Benz of Germany, the QX30 shares a platform and turbo-boosted powertrain with the Mercedes GLA250 CUV. Exterior styling and the plush cabin content come from Infiniti, which produces the QX30 at a new plant in Sunderland, UK.
Stretching almost 15 feet long and decorated with a rippled and raked face flashing a chrome-ringed double arch grille and speed-strafed projector-type headlamps on front corners plus curvaceous fender blisters bulging over massive multi-spoke alloy wheels, Infiniti's newest CUV functions as a rider-hauling wagon yet drives and handles more like a pavement-hugging sporty car.
Reflecting Infiniti's model nomenclature (badges of passenger cars get an alphanumeric name beginning with the letter "Q" as wagons use the letters "QX"), the 2017 QX30 is the smallest of Infiniti's four CUVs, with a 106.3-inch wheelbase length and cabin volume of 108 cubic feet.
For propulsion, the Mercedes-built 2.0-liter 4-in-line engine -- with intercooled turbocharging and gasoline direct injection -- produces 208 hp at 5500 rpm and SAE net torque of 258 at 1500 rpm as translated through a 7-speed dual clutch automatic transmission.
Infiniti track tests reveal the 2017 QX30 will zip to 60 mph in about seven seconds.
Fuel economy estimates for the turbo-4 engine tally to 24/33 mpg (city/highway).
The QX30 is available with either FWD (front-wheel-drive) traction or an intelligent AWD (all-wheel-drive) system which can channel up to 50 percent of the engine's power and torque to the rear axle to maintain traction when front wheels skid on slippery surfaces.
The suspension -- front struts and rear multi-link -- is independent and tightly tuned to deliver sporty ride characteristics.
Steering, through a quick-to-respond rack and pinion mechanism, feels firm despite the assist from a vehicle-speed-sensitive power boost.
A disc brake stands at every wheel and all tie by computerized links to the ABS (anti-lock brake system) with ESC (electronic stability control) and TCS (traction control system).
Infiniti adds Intelligent Cruise Control and the Around View Monitor with moving object detection plus Intelligent Parking Assist.
Climb aboard the QX30, and you'll find an asymmetric cabin design focused on the driver but with plush appointments for passengers.
Up front, bucket seats flank a floor-mounted console. On the second row, a bench seats two comfortably but can hold three riders if necessary. The rear seatback splits 60/40 and folds to expand the rear-accessed cargo area.
High-quality black cloth upholstery is standard on the QX30 base edition, while optional Nappa leather is available up the model ladder.
* QX30: The price-leading entry issue with 18-inch wheels, a sculpted athletic exterior, and asymmetric cabin design comes with FWD traction.
* QX30S: The sport-tuned top model has a lower stance, aggressive front and rear fascia, cross-drilled front brake rotors, 19-inch wheels and performance tires.
* QX30 AWD: The rugged edition with slightly elevated ride height and off-road inspired front and rear valence panels, stocks an intelligent AWD system.
And here's the estimated price chart for all 2017 QX30 issues:
$29,950 -- QX30/FWD/Base
$32,600 -- QX30/FWD/Luxury
$35,300 -- QX30/FWD/Premium
$38,500 -- QX30/FWD/Sport
$34,400 -- QX30/AWD/Base
$37,700 -- QX30/AWD/Premium