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.


  • 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 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 3/4 Front

2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35

Goldilocks Approved: It Does Everything Just Right

Episode 4332
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

These days, you don’t have to spend a ridiculous amount of money to get some real-deal AMG performance from Mercedes-Benz, as they’ve spread their high-performance love throughout their lineup. So, let’s go for some high-speed bargain hunting in the Mercedes-AMG CLA 35.

You may think of big cars and bigger horsepower when you hear AMG, but this updated 2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 4-door Coupe is certainly not a big car, yet there’s no doubt it packs a serious performance punch. The CLA is not the least expensive Mercedes you can currently buy in the U.S., but it is their lowest priced car, and it feels more right-size than small-size behind the wheel.

It’s a fun, enjoyable ride that lets you know what you’re in for right away with a nice raspy exhaust note at start up. Standard engine in the base CLA 250 is of course a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo, but it is ‘Benz’s latest with mild-hybrid assistance and a rating of 221-horsepower.

This CLA 35 is one of two AMG versions which cranks the turbo up to boost output to 302 horsepower and 295 lb-ft. of torque; the CLA 45 S, goes even further with a full rebuild to crank it up to 416 horsepower and 369 lb-ft. of torque. The CLA is front-wheel-drive based but is sending power to all four wheels by the time it leaves the AMG shop with performance-tuned AMG 4MATIC.

2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Dead Front
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Grille
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 3/4 Front
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Profile
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Wheel
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Dead Rear
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 3/4 Rear
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Badge
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Badge 2
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Dead Front2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Grille2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 3/4 Front2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Profile2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Wheel2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Dead Rear2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 3/4 Rear2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Badge2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Badge 2

AMG has done serious suspension tuning as well, and the great feedback that it provides through the AMG Performance steering wheel is a big part of this car’s fun-factor. But our test car came equipped with winter tires, which did hold us back a little bit through the cones at our Mason Dixon test track. Still, it felt both agile and fun and body roll was minimal. Not until we pushed hard could we really feel the lack of dry pavement grip from those tires. On the other hand, a few days after track day, we actually did have some winter weather to drive through and then we were very appreciative of the grip those winter tires provided.

With some assistance from AMG’s sweet launch control, which not only allowed us to launch at 3500 RPM with no wheel slip at all, but made sure the turbos were feeding full power, as we felt no turbo lag whatsoever on our quick 4.5-second trip to 60. AMG’s Speedshift eight-speed DCT lived up to its name, delivering quick and hard hits throughout the 13.1-second, 104 mph quarter-mile.

It’s a fun, enjoyable ride that lets you know what you’re in for right away with a nice raspy exhaust note at start up.

When it came time to remove speed in a hurry in our panic runs from 60 mph, those winter tires again played a factor, as the brakes felt very strong and there was very little nosedive but stops took a longer than expected 125 feet.

Now this 2nd generation CLA arrived for 2020, and for ’24 gets a subtle restyling at both ends. At the front, the grille has been redesigned, AMGs getting their own unique version with big vertical slats, prominent Mercedes star and subtle AMG badge. LED headlights are new, now labeled as High-Performance headlights, joined by upgraded rear taillights and a very aggressive looking AMG diffuser with big exhaust outlets. The back-up camera is smoothly hidden in a flip-out Mercedes badge. Multiple new wheel designs are available with sizes up to 19-inches.

2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Passenger Side Front
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Dashboard
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Center Display 2
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Rear Seat
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Trunk
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Engine
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Passenger Side Front2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Dashboard2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Center Display 22024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Rear Seat2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Trunk2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Engine

Inside the CLA’s cabin, additional standard content includes a leather steering wheel and 10-inch media display. Both of which were already part of the AMG transformation, though AMG Line buyers can now add some heat elements to their sport steering wheel.

As we’ve seen with most Mercedes updates, both the virtual gauge cluster and the central touchscreen reside in a single housing mounted on top of the dash, upgraded with the latest MBUX software.

Pricing for the CLA 35 starts at $56,100, with the more powerful 45 S coming in at $66,550.

Bottom line, the folks in Stuttgart have given us a 2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 that’s clearly better without messing it up. That’s certainly good news to us, as these days we seem to be getting less and paying more for just about everything. So, while you might not think the new CLA 35 sounds like a bargain, there is no better gateway into the amazing world of AMG performance.


  • Engine: 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo
  • Horsepower: 416
  • 0-60 mph: 4.5 seconds
  • 60-0 Braking: 125 feet (avg)
  • MW Fuel Economy: 28.2 MPG (Premium)
  • Transmission: 8-speed dual-clutch automatic
  • Torque: 369 lb-ft.
  • 1/4 Mile: 13.1 seconds at 104 mph
  • EPA: 22 City / 29 Highway / 25 Combined