2017 Infiniti QX30

2017 Infiniti QX30

Episode 3613 , Episode 3632
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

It looks like the lines between hatchback “car” and crossover “utility vehicle” have finally been obliterated entirely. As proof we present the Infiniti QX30, the latest addition to the growing compact luxury CUV market here in the U.S., but basically the same vehicle is also known as the Q30 hatchback in Europe. And that’s just the beginning of the blurred lines for this this dynamic little 5-door hatchback…sorry…crossover. 

Yes, this 2017 Infiniti QX30 is many things to many people. But what really matters here, is that it arrives at a perfect time; when Americans can’t seem to get enough small luxury crossovers. 

Oh, and for those of you who have been bemoaning the fact that you can’t buy a Mercedes-Benz A-class hatchback here; well, now you can, because that’s what’s under the QX30’s way more dynamic bodywork. 

Yes, this is the first vehicle to emerge from the Renault/Nissan/Daimler partnership announced last year. And though the overall stance and silhouette are very similar to the Mercedes-Benz GLA crossover; it’s much better looking, if you speak Infiniti’s design language like we do, we’d pick this one over the GLA. 

There’s a decent 8.0-inches of ground clearance, same as the GLA. Unless of course you opt for front-wheel-drive only Sport trim. Which to confuse things further, really is the Q30 also known as  the A-Class hatchback, with its hard parts just 6.1–inches above the pavement. It also comes with some minor unique exterior elements. 

Infiniti engineers had their way with the suspension of course, so it rides nothing like the GLA. It felt stiffer initially, but better the more time we spent with it; no suspension altering drive modes to be found here.

It drives lively, not economy car-like at all; straddling the comfort/capability line almost perfectly. Leaning slightly more towards the tougher end than some other “sporty crossovers”, which is no longer a weird thing to say. Yet it remains exceptionally quiet.

There’s good pick-up from the standard 2.0-liter turbo I4 and 7-speed DCT transmission, both of which come from Mercedes; as does the key to get things started. Software for managing all of it, however, comes from Nissan, still the overall feel is very Benz, and ratings are the same at 208-horsepower and 258 lb-ft. of torque. 

The Intelligent all-wheel-drive system is also a version of Benz’s 4MATIC, which can send as much as 50% of torque to the rear wheels when slip is detected.  

There was noticeable turbo-lag, and an overall softer launch than when we had the GLA, but the resulting 0-60 time was still not bad at 6.8-seconds.

As is usually the case, if you’re looking for the best outcome, just leave it in auto, as manual shifting was slow to respond. Still, there was a nice whoosh of sound coming from the turbo-4 as it powered us to the end of the ¼-mile in 15.1-seconds at 92 miles-per-hour. 

Through the cones, there’s a playful nature; with minimal amounts of both under and oversteer. Suspension feels taut, and it remained very flat. 

Infiniti also tweaked the steering to their liking, but they did it no favors as far as we’re concerned. It’s loose feeling on-center, and there’s an awkward heft when making inputs.

A 110-foot stopping average from 60 is very good, and stops were both smooth and stable. But after about 4-runs, fatigue set in and brakes started to fade. 

Inside the QX30’s cabin is where things depart most from its Mercedes-Benz roots. There are still some GLA controls on the dash, but things appear much more inviting. Material quality is quite good. 

Infiniti owners who aren’t familiar with the GLA will enjoy the refreshing new take on layout, as well as find the fit-and finish they are used to. The most obvious Benz element is the door mounted seat control; but they work so well, we’re glad Infiniti left them alone. 

Both central controller and shifter are unique, with a nice obvious Park button.

There’s a comfortable seating position for the driver; but visibility is very poor, with thick pillars in back as well as a very small rear window. 

Government Fuel Economy Ratings for all-wheel-drive are 21-City, 30-Highway, and 25-Combined; so our 30.7 miles-per-gallon of Premium average was excellent. 

Still there’s only an average Energy Impact Score of 13.2-barrels of annual oil consumption with CO2 emissions of 6.0-tons. 

With many different QX30s to choose from, $30,945 to start seems reasonable, considering it’s about 2-grand cheaper than a GLA. 

So, while the Mercedes-Benz GLA came to market earlier, don’t think of this 2017 Infiniti QX30 as a re-badged Benz, but a cooperative effort along the lines of Toyota and Subaru with the 86 and BRZ. It is highly competitive with the current influx of cute utes, as well as a perfect step up for open-minded hatchback buyers. We predict this international coalition will be quite successful.

Specifications

  • Engine: 2.0 liter
  • Horsepower: 208
  • Torque: 258 lb-ft.
  • 0-60 mph: 6.8 seconds
  • 1/4 mile: 15.1 seconds @ 92 mph
  • EPA: 21 mpg city / 30 mpg highway
  • Energy Impact: 13.2 barrels of oil/yr
  • CO2 Emissions: 6.0 tons/yr
2024 Lexus GX550

2024 Lexus GX550

It’s A Land Cruiser With A Lexus Badge

Episode 4344
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

When most people think of Lexus SUVs, they tend to think of the RX, and for good reason. The RX was a key player in popularizing the luxury SUV market as we know it today. But, the Lexus SUV world is much bigger than that, of course, including something for adventurous, rugged, off-road types.

We’re not about to claim that there’s some kind of body-on-frame SUV resurgence happening, but it’s clear that car-like crossovers haven’t fully taken over the SUV world just yet; and more than any other brand, Toyota seems on a mission to make SUVs truly great again. Even when it comes to their Lexus brand with this new 2024 Lexus GX550.

When the first gen GX arrived for 2003, it seemed to go out of its way to disguise its substantial off-road capabilities behind some very soft-roader sheet-metal, but those that knew… knew that underneath, the GX was based on the rugged J120 Land Cruiser. Fast forward to this third-gen GX, and it looks like Lexus is fully embracing that Land Cruiser kinship going boxier and bolder than ever before. Square lines, chunky fenders, wide track, short overhangs, highly vertical windshield; all hallmarks of serious off-roaders.

The GX is also the first Lexus to benefit from their Overtrail Project which encourages Lexus owners to get out of their comfort zones and experience what their luxo-ute is actually capable of. So, Overtrail models are outfitted with 33-inch all-terrain tires on 18-inch wheels, a locking rear diff, and an Electronic Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System that can independently unlock both front and rear stabilizer bars for more wheel articulation.

2024 Lexus GX550 3/4 Front
2024 Lexus GX550 3
2024 Lexus GX550 Profile
2024 Lexus GX550 5
2024 Lexus GX550 3/4 Rear
2024 Lexus GX550 Wheel
2024 Lexus GX550 Badge
2024 Lexus GX550 Grille
2024 Lexus GX550 3/4 Front2024 Lexus GX550 32024 Lexus GX550 Profile2024 Lexus GX550 52024 Lexus GX550 3/4 Rear2024 Lexus GX550 Wheel2024 Lexus GX550 Badge2024 Lexus GX550 Grille

Just like the recently released Toyota J250 Land Cruiser, the GX is built on Toyota’s Tundra truck frame, but instead of a four-cylinder turbo-hybrid, it’s launching with a 3.4-liter twin-turbo V6 with 349-horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque. That’s 48-horsepower and 150 lb-ft over the previous GX’s V8. Max tow rating shoots up from 6,500 to 9,096-lbs. The GX works exclusively with a 10-speed automatic transmission, with full-time four-wheel-drive and a two-speed transfer case standard. Lexus says a hybrid option will be available later, but no word on if it’s the Land Cruiser’s 2.4-liter I4 hybrid or the V6 hybrid that’s currently available in the Tundra pickup.

It doesn’t take much time behind the wheel to appreciate the high seating position and great visibility of the GX; as rugged as it looks outside, it still feels plenty luxurious inside, and is highly functional too. There’s a big control center in front of the dash with a high-mounted 14-inch touchscreen, and dedicated knobs for temperature and volume just below. A third row of seating is available in most trims, providing space for six or seven passengers. But if you go Overtrail, Lexus assumes you’re not the big family type and would rather have the space for packing adventure gear, so it’s the only trim that is five-passenger only.

As rugged as it looks outside, it still feels plenty luxurious inside, and is highly functional too.

While the double-wishbone front and rear multi-link suspension of this Overtrail is clearly off-road inspired, it held up well enough in our Mason Dixon Dragway handling course. Slow and steady definitely won the race here, as the GX felt big and heavy, with notable weight shifting on transitions through the cones, and light steering. Stability systems were eager to kick in well before things could get out of sorts.

Buyers can add Lexus’ Adaptive Variable Suspension for smoothing things out on the highways without sacrificing off-road capabilities. It launched quite aggressively off the line in acceleration runs; again, sturdy and truck-like, with all four wheels biting into the pavement and propelling us forward harder than we were expecting, hitting 60 in 6.5 seconds.

2024 Lexus GX550 Dashboard
2024 Lexus GX550 Steering Wheel
2024 Lexus GX550 Infotainment
2024 Lexus GX550 Shifter
2024 Lexus GX550 Front Seat
2024 Lexus GX550 Second Row Seats
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2024 Lexus GX550 Seats Down Trunk
2024 Lexus GX550 Trunk
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Lots of grip and no drama, as this turbo-six puts plenty of power down instantly. It sounds good too; powerful, with a nice throaty exhaust note that was more of a V8 rumble than V6 trumpet. Quarter-mile completed in 14.9-seconds at 94 mph.

Braking runs were a little inconsistent, with the off-road tires seemingly gripping and pulling us in different directions. But stops averaged a great 114-feet from 60 mph, so we’ll accept the slightly unsettled feel.

Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 15-City, 21-Highway, and 17-Combined; we averaged a respectable 20.1 mpg of Premium. But it garners a worse than average Energy Impact Score of 17.5-barrels of yearly oil use, with 8.3-tons of CO2 emissions.

Pricing starts with Premium grade at $64,250, ranging to Luxury at $77,250, with Overtrail in between at $69,250. All trims can be plus sized for additional features.

The 2024 Lexus GX550 is clearly not just another luxury saturated soft-roader. It’s a real deal Land Cruiser with a Lexus moniker, and this Overtrail is the most off-road capable Lexus ever. That not only makes it appealing to traditional Lexus buyers, but to a whole “range” of new conquests as well.

Specifications

  • Engine: 3.4-liter twin-turbo V6
  • Transmission: 10-speed automatic
  • Horsepower: 349
  • Torque: 479 lb-ft
  • EPA: 15 City | 21 Highway | 17 Combined
  • 0-60 mph: 6.5 seconds
  • 1/4 Mile: 14.9 seconds at 94 mph
  • 60-0 Braking (avg): 114 feet
  • MW Fuel Economy: 20.1 mpg (Premium)
  • Max Tow Rating: 9,096-lbs