The crossover is smooth, powerful, luxurious – and priced under $30,000. Infiniti, the long-beleaguered upscale marque and Nissan sister brand, has initiated a product renaissance with hopes of catching up to its German and Japanese competitors. The diminutive, 208-horsepower QX30 is a solid place to start, as I discovered last week on a drive along the Puget Sound.
The QX30, Infiniti’s smallest and least expensive SUV, is the brand’s attempt to claim its share of the growing market for small and medium-sized crossovers in the U.S. Arriving at Infiniti dealerships next month, the sleek, entry-level hatchback could serve as a gateway to attract new customers to the marque.
There has been much discussion of late in the auto industry about the death of the car as consumers rapidly shift to utility vehicles of various shapes and sizes. Fiat Chrysler has decided to end production of its mainstream sedans, the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart in favor of expanded Jeep production. Ford has announced that it will launch four all-new global utility nameplates in the next four years. Even Bentley has introduced the Bentayga.
The GLA, which is sportier with a meaner growl, is more expensive, priced from $32,850. However, the QX30’s cushier All-wheel drive and Sport models will debut at just under $35,000 and $40,000 respectively (not including the $950 destination and handling charge). Meanwhile, the Q3 offers less space and horsepower than the QX30, and the X1 is not as plush as the Nappa leather-clad, genuine-wood trimmed Sport model I drove.