2017 Infiniti QX30: Subaru’s Recipe

Published on November 18, 2015 in Los Angeles by Alain Morin

For many years now, Subaru has been selling a model called the Outback, which is basically a Legacy wagon with higher ground clearance. The Outback has been very profitable for Subaru and didn’t cost much to develop, since they pretty much engineered two cars for the price of one. Recently, the little Japanese brand pulled the same trick with the XV Crosstrek, which is a high-riding Impreza.

Infiniti seems to have been inspired by Subaru when they created the QX30, heavily derived from the Q30 that was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The differences between the two vehicles are pretty light. The QX30 does in fact ride higher off the ground than the Q30 and is fitted with roof rails for a more robust look. There are some distinctions here and there, but nothing to write home about.

Twin horses

Even under the hood, it’s a copy/paste operation. That means a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder engine that develops 208 horsepower. Peak torque hasn’t been announced, but I’ll bet it will be rated at 258 lb-ft. Well, that’s how much torque is found in the Q30… and in the Mercedes-Benz GLA. Nothing surprising here, as they are all based on the same platform and share the same powertrain.

We can also mention that the Q30 is, according to a complex marketing study, an adversary for the Mercedes-Benz CLA, the Audi A3 and the BMW 2 Series. The QX30, at the doorstep of the Infiniti brand, will face compact luxury SUVs such as the Mercedes-Benz GLA, the Audi Q3 and the BMW X1.

Q30 + AWD = QX30

Again, nothing surprising about the transmission choice. It’s a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic that was already seen in… guess which product? The Q30 is a front-drive vehicle, while the QX30 is AWD, hence the “X” in the vehicle’s name. It’s essentially a front-drive platform, but when wheel slippage occurs, 50% of engine torque can be transferred to the rear wheels. If the system detects that only one wheel is slipping, it will apply the brakes on it and reassign torque to the wheel with the most grip. While Infiniti tries to convince us that the QX30 is a no-holds-barred off-roader, I wouldn’t go very far off the cottage trail with it.

Safety-wise, Infiniti didn’t pull any stops. Thanks to the Around View Monitor, the driver benefits from a peripheral view and the slightest movement around the vehicle will be detected, undoubtedly through an impressive variety of beeps, buzzes and alerts.

When the QX30 – which will be built alongside the Q30 in Sunderland, UK– arrives in dealerships in mid-2016 as a 2017 model, consumers will be able to easily distinguish it. The Q30 is front-wheel drive, the QX30 is AWD. In some markets, notably in Europe, it will be possible to order a Q30 AWD. Thankfully, it’s much simpler in Canada.

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