That's a Wrap!

by Allyson Harwood on July 11, 2018

Current Odometer: 9,360 miles
Latest MPG: 20.49 mpg
Lifetime MPG: 22.81 mpg
Maintenance/Service Costs: $134.95
Days out of Service: 0

Stylish, petite and curvy, the Infiniti QX30 was an intriguing addition to Kelley Blue Book’s long-term fleet. We were interested to see what Infiniti’s take would be on its version of this subcompact SUV, which shares its underpinnings and powertrain with the Mercedes-Benz GLA250. And after 12 months with the QX30, the results were somewhat mixed.

The Good

The QX30 has some of the spirit of a smaller sporty sedan, with 208 horsepower and a responsive transmission with standard paddle shifters. Yet it has a cargo area that can carry more gear than a sport sedan’s trunk, and the second row can be folded flat to accommodate even more. The packaging is ideal for a single person or a couple, and the QX is versatile for trips to your local warehouse store. The small Infiniti is eye-catching, even when not coated in our long-termer’s Liquid Copper paint. The QX offers plenty of luxury features and amenities, including the excellent Around View Monitor, and has a better warranty – and lower starting price – than the GLA.

Over the year we spent with the QX30, fuel economy was about what we would have expected. While the EPA combined fuel economy rating for the all-wheel-drive Infiniti is 25 mpg, our long-termer spent most of its life in Southern California traffic, which brought the overall fuel economy down to just under 23 mpg, which is still better than the vehicle's city rating of 21. There were also no signs of abnormal tire or brake wear. There were no malfunctions and no one noted a single mechanical, electrical, or electronic issue with the vehicle.

Needs Improvement

When you see an exterior that’s this stylish, you would expect the interior to feel just as fresh and have the newest tech. But this is one of the places where the QX30 falls short. Its outdated navigation and Bluetooth setup, and lack of Apple CarPlay or Android Auto compatibility are things that beg to be updated. Some features are clunky, such as the not-so-smooth auto stop/start, and the need to turn the Around View Monitor back on when you pull forward while parking. (It automatically comes on when in Reverse.) And the cargo door is heavy enough that it could use a power open/shut feature.

Updates Since 2018

The QX30 received a mid-year update, which changed model names and modified how some features are packaged for the 2018.5 models. Our 2018, the Premium, is now known as the Essential. The rest of the line is now the Pure (which was Base), Luxe (previously Luxury) and Sport (that name stayed the same). Forward emergency braking is standard on all levels, and a panoramic moonroof is standard on all but the Pure.

Bottom Line

The QX30 has a lot of potential; its size and power make canyon roads more fun than you’d have in a regular SUV. However, someone who is shopping for a subcompact luxury SUV has a number of terrific vehicles to choose from, including the Audi Q3, Volvo XC40 and BMW X1, with more coming soon. With an updated interior and powertrain refinements, the QX30 can be a truly compelling choice. For now, though, the QX30 has some catching up to do.


Hidden Figures

by Allyson Harwood on June 27, 2018

Current Odometer: 8,687 miles
Latest MPG: 22.31 mpg
Lifetime MPG: 22.87 mpg
Maintenance/Service Costs: $134.95
Days out of Service: 0

In our last installment of our year-long experience with the Infiniti QX30, we took the small luxury SUV in for service, and the cost was about $135, as noted above. What we didn’t mention is that about 40 percent of the cost of the service, or $54, was for the oil. This engine, which is a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, requires synthetic oil, which costs more than regular oil. The cost of service is something you should consider for any car you’re looking at. This can sometimes be a challenge to dig up, but you might consider looking at KBB’s 5-Year Cost to Own data to get a feel for the long-term expenses associated with owning a vehicle.


Another element to keep in mind is the cost of fuel. Yes, fuel economy is one part of that, and this is where things get interesting: front-wheel-drive QX30s get a 13.2-gallon gas tank and fuel economy is 27 mpg combined (24 city, 33 highway), with a range of 356 miles. Because our long-termer has all-wheel drive, its fuel economy is lower: 25 mpg combined (21 in the city, 30 on the highway). However, AWD models get a 14.8-gallon fuel tank, so the total range goes up to 370 miles. But even though you benefit from a touch more range in the AWD QX30, you have to pay more each time you fill the tank.

Required or Recommended Fuel

The other part of the fuel equation is the required fuel. Many vehicles have a recommended or required fuel listed on the gas door. In the case of the QX30, the requirement is for premium unleaded. At the gas stations near the Kelley Blue Book offices, 91 octane fuel costs almost $4.00 per gallon, so that fuel requirement has an impact. If your car, or one you are considering buying, has a recommended fuel, it typically also lists a lower-octane fuel you can use instead. But with the QX30, there is only one listed, so we have only used 91 octane since day one.

If you are considering getting an entry-level luxury car as a way to have luxury features without spending as much money on the car itself, be aware that there are going to be some maintenance and fuel costs that are the same whether you spend $40,000 or $120,000.


At Your Service

by Allyson Harwood on June 4, 2018

Current Odometer: 8,213 miles
Latest MPG: 24.52 mpg
Lifetime MPG: 22.91 mpg
Maintenance/Service Costs: $134.95
Days out of Service: 0

One day, as I was getting ready to go home from KBB’s headquarters, I noticed an alert in the driver information center. It said that service was due (actually, overdue) on the long-term QX30. It was asking for Service A to be done. This brought up a few questions, so I began to do some research. What I found was that Infiniti doesn’t list its services by letter, so this didn’t match up with the typical Infiniti service regimen. However, the QX30 shares a lot with the Mercedes-Benz GLA, and when I looked up the Mercedes service info I found my answer. It’s a Mercedes-Benz service schedule, and it’s based on service that should be done after 10,000 miles. Yet as you can see from the odometer reading above, we hadn’t reached 10K miles. It turns out that service is recommended for the first year or 10,000 miles, and in the case of our QX30, service was due at the one-year date after it was manufactured. So happy birthday, Pinky Tuscadero! (That’s the QX30’s nickname around the office, due to its Liquid Copper [pink] paintjob; for those of you who aren’t familiar with “Happy Days,” Pinky Tuscadero was briefly the Fonz’s girlfriend.)

To celebrate Pinky’s first birthday, we took her to the local Infiniti dealership for Service A. This included replacing the oil and filter, checking fluid levels and tire pressures, and inspecting the brakes. After the service manager entered in the pertinent info about the QX30, he let us know there was a voluntary recall for the QX30. It was to install a steering column bushing and clock spring, to prevent an inadvertent airbag deployment. They had the replacement parts in stock, and estimated that the total time of service and the recall fix would take about 1-1/2 hours. Settling in and connecting to the dealership’s wi-fi, I did some work as they took care of the service. Happily, the vehicle was ready to go in less time than estimated, and the cost of the service was $134.95. If it hadn’t been drizzly that day, they would’ve washed the QX as well, but it didn’t make much sense when more threatening spring showers were on the horizon. It wasn’t cake and balloons, but Pinky was well taken care of by the local dealership on the one-year date of manufacture.


Sixteen Bags

by Allyson Harwood on May 19, 2018

Current Odometer: 7,625 miles
Latest MPG: 23.13 mpg
Lifetime MPG: 22.11 mpg
Maintenance/Service Costs: $0.00
Days out of Service: 0

It shouldn’t come as any surprise that a smaller vehicle has a smallish cargo area. The Infiniti QX30’s cargo area isn’t massive: if you keep the rear seats up, you’ll only have 19.2 cubic feet of space to work with. Put the seats down, and that number increases to 34.0 cubic feet. As a point of reference, the Mazda3 5-door hatchback offers 20.2 cubic feet of space with the seats up, and 47.1 with the second row folded. But if you have a vehicle with seats that fold, and a need to move stuff, you can make it work.

That was where I found myself on a recent sunny Saturday. Thanks to an ongoing extensive home cleaning project, I had compiled a large amount of household items and clothing to donate. Doing some visual math, I looked at the QX30, then at my pyramid of donations, then back at the petite Infiniti, and accepted that I would probably have to make two trips to the donation center.

I put down the QX’s back seats, which don’t fold completely flat (but it was close enough), and my husband and I started loading up the cargo area. Most of the goods were in kitchen-size trash bags – if you are donating a lot of clothing or soft items, this is much easier than filling a lot of boxes – and in the bags went. All 16 of them. Plus two comforters. Amazingly, everything fit into the back of the QX30 with little effort, and while I lost use of the rearview mirror for my brief drive to the center, I only had to make one trip.

My biggest gripe about the cargo area though, is not its lack of volume. Anyone on a budget who is moving to a new apartment knows you can find new and creative ways to fit a lot of stuff into a small car. My biggest gripe is the lack of a power liftgate. It’s easy enough to open, but it’s heavier than you’d expect when pulling it shut, especially if you’re trying to close it with one hand.



Throttle Response?

by Micah Muzio on April 19, 2018

Current Odometer: 7,119 miles
Latest MPG: 18.77 mpg
Lifetime MPG: 22.58 mpg
Maintenance/Service Costs: $0.00
Days out of Service: 0

The phrase “throttle response” has an overly-technical, elitist flair to it. Automotive experts and big-talking poseurs each use it to describe a vehicle’s driving character. Forget all that pomp. All you need to know is that “throttle response” describes how the car responds when you press the gas pedal. Simple.

Let’s use Kelley Blue Book’s long-term Infiniti QX30 as an example. If I press the accelerator when leaving from a stop, there is a pause before the engine’s power kicks in. We might describe that kind of throttle response as “slow” or “laggy”. After the power arrives, the car often accelerates more quickly than I expect. When there’s a difference between vehicle acceleration and the driver expectations, we call that “poor throttle response”.

The engine gets a lot of attention when analyzing a vehicle’s throttle response but there are other elements to consider. Our QX30 has an automatic engine start-stop system that saves gasoline by shutting down the engine when the vehicle is motionless. Cool, but when it’s time to move there is a delay before the engine restarts. And once it does, leaving from a stop is rarely smooth. We’ve also noticed some abrupt low-speed behavior from our car’s 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. To be clear, most of these quirks occur when the vehicle is departing from a standstill. Once up to speed, power delivery is greatly improved.

From all this throttle response talk, we can take away two key lessons. 1: Every car has its strengths and weaknesses. Our QX30’s strengths are most pronounced when it’s already in motion. 2: Automotive jargon can describe big ideas quickly but it often confounds unfamiliar car buyers. If you’re baffled by terms like “jounce”, “tumblehome” and “Ackermann steering geometry”, take heart, you’re not alone. At the very least, you can proudly remove “throttle response” from that towering jargon pile. 


Almost Helpful Alerts

by Allyson Harwood on April 12, 2018

Current Odometer: 5,588 miles
Latest MPG: 23.80 mpg
Lifetime MPG: 22.48 mpg
Days out of Service: 0

Don’t Forget Your Key

Whenever I get into or out of the Infiniti QX30, a friendly reminder appears between the gauges that you shouldn’t forget your key. It’s interesting that this reminder still exists. After all, push-button start (and the use of a smart key) have been around since the 1990s, so the odds are good that even if you’ve never owned a car with keyless entry before, you get the basic idea of how it works. Besides, many people with a smart key don’t even take it out of his/her pocket, so they wouldn’t need the reminder at all. Even if this is your first car with keyless entry, you probably wouldn’t need the warning after a while. It would be nice to have the option of shutting it off.  

Fuel Level Low

One day as I was heading home, I noticed the gas gauge was below a quarter-tank, so I switched the driver information center to display the miles remaining before empty to make it easier to determine when I’d have to stop for gas. There are a few places I’d rather not stop, unless it’s urgent and I risk getting stranded. Enter the “Fuel Level Low” light. I watched the miles to empty tick down as I drove, hoping I could make it home before having to gas up. But at about 40 miles, the display changed from showing the miles to empty to “Fuel Level Low.” I pushed the "OK" button on the steering wheel, and it returned to showing the range. Then as the fuel range got to 25 miles, it no longer showed the miles to empty; instead, the screen displayed a graphic of a gas pump and the back of a QX30. Logically, I could figure out essentially how much time I had before running out of gas, but this change causes unnecessary stress. There’s a huge difference between having 24 miles of range left and having 2 miles left. Imagine if you’re on a long bridge when this display changes, and there’s nowhere you can stop, or you’re driving in an unfamiliar area. Now you’re sweating the rest of the drive until you can find a gas station. Even if it’s just an estimate, this alert should still use a numerical value.


A Happy Reunion

by Allyson Harwood on February 15, 2018

Current Odometer: 5,305 miles
Latest MPG: 22.35 mpg
Lifetime MPG: 22.51 mpg
Days out of Service: 0

Due to a variety of circumstances, it had been a while since I last drove the Infiniti QX30. Once I got in, quick reminders of the QX’s shared DNA with Mercedes-Benz, attractive interior, and cozy cabin space instantly returned. But the best part of the reunion happened as soon as I pushed Start.

If you have been following KBB’s Premium Ownership Review on the QX30, you may notice that this crossover’s lifetime fuel economy has dropped. I take full responsibility for that. You see, the QX30 is powered by a 208-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that uses a fairly quick-shifting 7-speed dual clutch transmission. Its engine provides plenty of oomph for this small vehicle, and power delivery is linear and pleasantly predictable. Stuff that powertrain into a small, easy-to-maneuver crossover, and you have a vehicle that caters more to drivers than those buyers looking for pure utility. It’s meant to be driven – and driven with enthusiasm – so I happily obliged.

The QX30 makes it so easy to zip around town. While it won’t set records at the drag strip, it shines when you make any quick-yet-courteous maneuver around slow-moving traffic. Steering is smooth and responsive, and while the QX30’s ride isn’t glassy smooth, the Infiniti’s handling encourages you to take corners a little faster than usual. (It did for me, anyway.) It was nice that the QX30 also has some cargo space. Even though it’s not a massive cargo area, for my DINK (dual income, no kids) household, if I can have a vehicle with more than enough cargo space for a major warehouse store/home-improvement store shopping run, I’m happy. The QX30 provides that amount of space, plus it makes the daily drive entertaining.


Exterior Design

by Micah Muzio on January 24, 2018

Current Odometer: 5,004 miles
Latest MPG: 24.5 mpg
Lifetime MPG: 23.1 mpg
Maintenance/Service Costs: $0
Days out of Service: 0

Alright, let’s get the whole color thing out of the way. Kelley Blue Book’s long-term 2018 Infiniti QX30 arrived at our offices bathed in a hue dubbed “Liquid Copper”. Words do not do it justice. Nor do pictures. Liquid Copper is the kind of bold automotive color that provokes commentary, invited or otherwise.

Having spent more than a few miles piloting our Liquid Copper QX30 I’ve absorbed a shocking amount of positive praise on the car’s behalf. Adjacent drivers have screamed their approval. I’ve been stopped in multiple parking lots to receive kudos. A woman poked her head over our fence to ask my wife if the gorgeous QX30 parked out front belonged to her. The QX30’s sharply styled body might have something to do with it but the praise-givers never mention the shape. They only mention the color.

Curb appeal

From an anecdotal perspective Kelley Blue Book’s Liquid Copper QX30 has more curb appeal than some honest-to-goodness super cars. No, seriously. Only two curious souls asked me about the absurd, highlighter-yellow Lamborghini Huracán I drove last year. Further supporting Liquid Copper’s odd appeal is a completely non-scientific, yay-or-nay poll I conducted on Instagram (self-promotion goes here: @micahmuzio), which accrued 12 yays versus 2 nays. In an era where unanimity is in short supply that kind of collective positivity gives me hope.

At the same time, there is a smattering of dislike. Some unnamed folks have claimed our QX30 looks too girly. Maybe it is but, as a partially “woke” 30-something, gender-negative criticism doesn’t resonate with me. I’ve also heard negative snickering, comparing Infiniti’s Liquid Copper paint to the rose gold iPhone. Now, THAT’S the kind of criticism that resonates with me, mostly because my mom owns a rose gold iPhone. God bless my mother but I’d prefer my tastes not align with hers. Google “porcelain dandy” to understand why. Yes, even my masculinity has its limits.

As our long-termer’s most obvious trait it’s easy to fixate on the QX30’s paint job but, like humans, the personality of an automobile extends well beneath flashy facades. In that spirit consider this article the first and final observation regarding our car’s Liquid Copper paint…unless that paint somehow leads to wacky adventures. Nonetheless, let’s seize this opportunity to praise car makers who dare to dream in technicolor. They keep our world vivid and thrilling. Imagine a parallel universe where the Plum Crazy Dodge Challenger, Giallo Tenerife Lamborghini Huracán Spyder, and the Energy Green Honda Civic Si never existed. Now, be glad we live in a reality where the polarizing yet joyfully outrageous Liquid Copper QX30 can join their ranks.



Parking It

by Micah Muzio on November 22, 2017

Current Odometer: 4,152 miles
Latest MPG: 23.5 mpg
Lifetime MPG: 23.0 mpg
Maintenance/Service Costs: $0
Days out of Service: 0

In my neighborhood street sweeping occurs on Thursdays and Fridays, 8:00 a.m. until 10 a.m. Naturally, when 7:59 a.m. rolls around there is a Purge-like frenzy as normally sedate neighbors jockey to seize any car-sized vacancy on the correct side of the street. As an unplanning idiot I frequently join that lawless Purge. As of late, the vacancy I’m searching for is slightly larger than Kelley Blue Book’s long-term 2018 Infiniti QX30.

In another era parking the QX30 might’ve proved tricky. While dimensionally small the QX has some notable blind spots, specifically over the driver’s right shoulder. I guess that’s the price we pay for swishy design flourishes alá Infiniti’s energetic C-pillar treatment. Anyway, the view out might not be great but the QX30 compensates with technology. Sweet technology.

Around-View Monitor to the rescue

Infiniti was an early adopter of 360-degree camera systems. They titled their system “Around-View Monitor”. In essence these systems take imagery from multiple cameras and stitch them together to create the illusion of a bird’s eye view from above the vehicle. This magical real-time view is displayed on the car’s touchscreen offering the driver unparalleled situational awareness. If a nerf ball is hurled at your vehicle and lands adjacent to the passenger side rear wheel, you will see it.

As you’d imagine, the QX30’s Around-View Monitor system pays huge dividends in the high-stakes battle known as street sweeping day. Supreme visibility lets me, as the driver, take bigger parking risks, venturing into spaces I might not otherwise dare. Yes, the QX30’s nose is clear of that bumper. I am on the proper trajectory toward the curb. No, a loose Shetland pony has not cozied up against the rear fascia. I can divebomb the long-term QX30 into spots, confident that Around-View Monitor will support my bold and daring journey…or at least unveil my parking-related hubris before an impact.

Just one quirk

It should be noted that the Infiniti QX30’s camera system has one annoying quirk. While it automatically activates when the gear selector is placed in reverse when D-for-drive is engaged the camera system turns off. Meaning, after inching your way rearward into a modestly-sized car nook as soon as you creep forward to finalize your position the system shuts off. Ok, when that happens it’s possible to manually activate the camera but should I have to? If Around-View Monitor has been activated and immediately thereafter the QX30 is creeping forward at less than 1 mile per hour let’s just assume I’m still parking. How lovely that these are the kind of problems with which we concern ourselves!?

Aside from occasionally having to press the camera button Kelley Blue Book’s Infiniti QX30 long-term test car is a brilliantly parkable car. It’s a nearly ideal blend of size and technology that makes every parking maneuver infinitely easier. In the future my daughter will marvel that there was an era where humans were allowed to move massive automobiles without the benefit of unfettered visibility. In that moment I hope she and I can share a good laugh. But I’ll probably be gone, scouting for a car-sized vacancy. 



by Matt DeLorenzo on August 17, 2017

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.

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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