Is There Enough To Separate An Infiniti QX30 From The Q30?

The new Q30 and the QX30 that launched Wednesday at the LA Auto Show are the first Infinitis to have a power seat switch on the door since the original 1990 Q45.

It’s a fun fact for seat-adjuster enthusiasts because Mercedes-Benz told Infiniti to stop putting the switch there because they had a patent. And guess where the Q30 and QX30 get their switches from? 

Every time you grope around the side of the seat trying to move it forward, you’re reminded this Infiniti is a Mercedes product. Beyond the buttons and knobs on the doors, the whole package feels like a Mercedes-Benz GLA. And that’s even before you start up the 2.0-liter turbo models mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission that’s ripped straight out of the A/CLA/GLA Mercedes cars.

But forget about that for a moment and ponder this: is there really enough differentiation between the Q30 hatchback and the QX30 “crossover”?

In many respects, telling the Q30 and QX30 apart is just as difficult as telling a Mercedes A-Class apart from a GLA, the main difference being Americans don’t have that problem since we don’t get the A-Class at all.

From the outside, the QX30 doesn’t look like a crossover so much as a “Cross Country” or “Allroad” version of the Q30. And calling jacked-up hatches or wagons “SUVs” didn’t really work. Even among these new compact crossovers, the QX30 looks positively diminutive against a BMW X1 or Audi Q3, or even a Fiat 500X. From the driver’s seat, it doesn’t feel that much higher up than the Q30. If anything, it manages to feel less sporting than the surprisingly fun-to-drive Infiniti QX50 “crossover” I drove a couple months ago.

The enthusiast in me is somewhat drawn to the Q30. Shown in sporty “S” form, the Q doesn’t look as awkwardly lifted as the QX, helped by nicer wheels, too. I’ve grown used to the shape, although I’m unsure how well it’ll age.

It’s a nicer fit inside, too, with the more sporting one-piece seats and a hemmed-in feel, rather than the just-plain-snug QX30. Having said that, the QX30 feels less claustrophobic in the back and you don’t have the issue where rear passengers stare at nothing but the back of the seat, as they do in the Q30.

Still, it’s going to be a flip of a coin whether you get a Q30 over a QX30, unless you’re passionate about all-wheel drive. I’m not sure how either of these Infinitis are going to differentiate themselves enough from their corresponding Mercedes donor, or any other compact hatch (ahem… VW Golf GTI?), but there’s enough to like here to watch what happens.

Tape a three-pointed star on the steering wheel, tell the seat switch patent story and your passengers may never know the difference.

Photos: Zac Estrada/Carscoops

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