When a car arrives, I try to guess what it costs, and then whip out the window sticker—it’s called a Monroney—to see if I was high or low. Usually I’m pretty close, but not this time. I thought, OK, this car feels like . . . 39 grand. Wrong! It stickers for $46,460. And it doesn’t even have a power tailgate or a heated steering wheel. “It” is a 2018 Infiniti QX30—a baby SUV, a subcompact crossover wagon, from Nissan’s deluxe Infiniti brand.
True, the base Infiniti QX30 does start way down at $30,000. But ours is the Premium version with AWD, which starts at 37,700, and it’s loaded. All that nice hot-chocolate-and-satin-alloy trim? That’s $1,750 extra. Then there’s the smart cruise control, a parking widget and the safety aids, like remote sensing and emergency braking. All that adds another $2,200. (Don’t you wonder why safety costs more? Shouldn’t that be standard?) Plus $4,800 more in other options, like satnav and the pretty bronze-copper paint.
But (I can hear you saying) it’s the driving that counts, no? Yes. The 4-cylinder engine puts out just 208 HP, but it feels stronger than that, thanks to a top-notch transmission, a 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox that shifts for itself, or you can do it manually with the stick or the paddles behind the steering wheel. Also, there are three driving modes to choose from—Sport, Eco and Normal. The drivetrain is a bit noisy on the highway, but it’ll give us up to 30 MPG, even without selecting Eco.
Now let’s consider this leather-lined cabin. It’s beautiful, and beautifully screwed and glued together. The onboard computer and touchscreen are standard, at least in the Premium QX30, as is the dual-view backup camera. Nothing wrong with these 8-way power seats, either—but farther back, in the rear seats and cargo bay, things get cramped. And I keep bumping my head on the doorframe when I get in.
Overall size aside, at 40 grand our QX30 Premium AWD would be really good value. But this one closer to 50 thou than 40, and at that price . . . well, I’d want to see how many of these options I could live without. Or I’d try to dicker real hard.