2017 Infiniti QX30 & QX50 Review & Comparison
These two Infinitis represent the past and future of the crossover vehicle. The company was actually one of the first to this SUV/car combo party with the butch FX35 and svelte, carlike EX35—the machine that the QX50 started as. The QX30 began life as the Mercedes GLA250 and has become something distinctively desirable since being thoroughly gone combed through by the Japanese company.
A Spring skiing trip via QX50 made it easy to remember why I found it was so compelling to drive in the first place: it is basically a wagon version of the G37 sports sedan, with terrific steering, controlled, compelling handling and excellent ride quality. It is also beautifully made in the take-no-beancounters-prisoner way of luxury cars of the late 20th Century. While things like the infotainment interface haven’t aged well, and it still isn’t that space efficient (despite the wheelbase stretch of a year ago), it is just so rewarding to drive hard. The 325hp, 3.7-liter V6’s former upper-end harshness has been tamed to large degree, and the 7-speed automatic’s shift programming has become much more intuitive. It flies up mountain roads, both secure and interactive. It is quiet, refined and relaxing as well. Fold the seats down and there is all the room needed for two people to go to the slopes. Driving it, I’m reminded of how many firsts Infiniti chalked up, such as the around-view composite camera and many of the active safety systems we now see spreading through the ranks of all kinds of cars.
The QX30 represents the future of the company: a platform shared with a corporate partner, turbocharged power, and a front-drive based architecture. It looks expensive, and it too is fun to drive hard, with surging performance once on boost, quick shifts in Sport mode from the twinclutch gearbox and tidy handling. Its interior is likewise well styled and very nicely finished, showing Infiniti still know how to build a quality-feeling machine. Its interface is a German/Japanese hybrid that actually works quite well, and the QX30’s compact dimension actually disguise a decent amount of interior space for people and objects. Probably the most annoying thing about it is that when not run in Sport mode, the tranny is lethargic, blunting reactions to traffic’s normal lurches and surges.
Objectively, the newer QX30 is the better fit for more people; next-level electronics, strong performance thanks to its 2-liter turbo having almost the same torque (258lb-ft against the QX50’s 267lb-ft), better fuel economy and good space utilization see to that. It also is excellent value, especially when leased. But I will miss the driving rewards of the less pedestrian, rear-based QX50, as it gets ready to make way for an all new machine of the same name next year.
EPA ratings: QX30: 21/30mpg; QX50: 17/24mpg
0-60mph: QX30: 6.6sec; QX50: 5.8sec
Price as tested: QX30: $46,035; QX50: $45,535
QX30 (4 / 5)
QX50 (3.5 / 5)
Contact Isaac Bouchard for help saving time, money and hassle when buying or leasing one at email@example.com