As the latest addition to the Kelley Blue Book long term fleet, the 2018 Infiniti QX30 not only represents one of the industry’s fastest growing segments (small luxury crossover SUVs), but also shares more than a few bits with a pedigreed German rival, the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class. To Infiniti’s credit, their distinctive exterior styling does much to differentiate it from the GLA—the latter is less swoopy than the curvaceous QX even though both vehicles share the same footprint.

There is certainly more flash here, due in part to its $500 extra cost Liquid Copper paint scheme, an effective deployment of brightwork around the glass area and an upscale feel to the interior thanks to the $1,750 Café Teak Theme package that includes Nappa leather seats and genuine teak accents on the center stack and door trim. And the Infiniti has suspension tuning and steering feel specific to the brand. This is a driver’s crossover, with quick steering and composed road manners. Where you see some similarities with the Mercedes in this U.K.-built QX is in the engine department, as both models share a 208-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine and 7-speed dual clutch transmission.

There’s also shared switchgear including the use of Mercedes’ door-mounted power seat adjustment controls as well as the center console shifter which is toggled back and forth to select gears and has a separate Park button. Even the rotary control for the center 7.0-inch display screen is the same.

Relative value

There is more to the Infiniti QX30, though, that makes it stand on its own. In addition to the look and dynamics, the QX30 is also pitched as a value proposition when compared to more expensive German competitors beyond its Mercedes GLA 250 sibling, vehicles like the Audi Q3 and BMW X1. Base price on a front-drive QX30 starts at just over $30,000. Prices ramp up quickly through the six models in the range with the Sport model topping out at $38,500 plus destination. We opted for the next trim down, a Premium AWD, which lists at $37,700.

But to add the sort of creature comforts (such as the Café Teak package) and functional bits like navigation and Infiniti’s excellent all-around view camera, the price took off from there, adding nearly $10,000 to top out at $47,105 including delivery. The priciest element is the Technology Package that for $2,200 includes the around-view camera, blind spot warning, lane departure warning, forward emergency braking, intelligent cruise control, park assist and high beam assist. A note on these various warnings is that they are suitably subtle to grab your attention without scaring the wits out of you.

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Other options we ticked include the $1,850 navigation package which comes with front and rear parking sensors, a $1,000 LED package for the headlamps and interior ambient lighting and $465 for radiant illuminated kick plates. While that may seem a bit over the top, it does remind you at night how high the step-in on this vehicle is. Which is odd, because the ride height, though taller than the front-drive QX30 is not quite the same level as other crossover SUVs in its class. While some people may prefer a more command of the road seating position, the slightly lower hip-point in the QX30 contributes to a more hunkered down feel that says this is more of a sporty handler than a boxy hauler.

So far we’ve put just over 2,000 miles on the QX30 and it’s returned an average of 23.5 mpg in both city and highway driving, a bit lower than the combined 25 mpg EPA rating. Still, it’s in the ballpark for a vehicle of this size and capability. Check back for more on this stylish crossover as our long term test continues.

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