A decade ago, the major selling points of a compact car were fuel economy and suitability for city driving. The thought being, if it’s convenient to park and costs less at the pump, what’s left to consider?
These days, there’s a lot more, with a larger variety of compact cars—from economy to sporty to luxury—available than ever before. That makes the 2017 Infiniti QX30, which combines the aforementioned features with the additional practical benefit of a hatchback instead of a trunk, such an interesting vehicle. And at a time when sedan sales are rapidly declining, it further fuels the question: Is the death of the traditional sedan all but inevitable?
The QX30 doesn’t necessarily put that issue to rest. But our time spent testing one in Portugal—where driving is discouraged in certain towns due to the narrowness of the streets—certainly sold us on the idea of a luxury hatchback over a typical four-door sedan. And that’s the point of the new Infiniti QX30: It doesn’t compromise on any of the amenities of a luxury sedan while providing a ride and size more fitting for the city. The new Infiniti is essentially a smaller take on the brand’s crossovers, packaged in a cool compact designed to appeal to millennials, who presumably need more cargo space to haul the gear required for their active lifestyles. Think of it as a middleweight boxer who has gone through rigorous training to run in the New York City Marathon: a much smaller fighter now but one far better suited to the challenge at hand. Plus he’s a pretty sharp dresser when he’s not in the ring.
The well-appointed compact is powered by a two-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that puts out 208 horsepower: That won’t satisfy your urge to do a burnout in the parking lot, but it’s more engaging than you’d expect.
Our test model was a QX30S prototype, which, along with the entry model (expected to start at $30,000), comes equipped with a front-wheel-drive system. If given the option, though, we’d probably take the QX30 AWD for more enhanced control at the wheel. All in all, the new Infiniti is a nice balance of everything. Except a trunk