Don’t call this a hatchback comparo… even though that’s what it is, essentially. Sure, they sit a little taller, but today’s crossovers are the direct descedents of a nasty little word (in the U.S., anyway)… hatchbacks. We got our hands on a couple of entry-level luxury crossovers: the diminutive but fun Infiniti QX30 and the well-balanced Lexus NX 300h (the ‘h’ is for hybrid) and put them up against each other.
2017 Infiniti QX30 Premium AWD
Our tester arrived in preproduction form, which is manufacturer speak for saying they’re still getting the quality up to snuff. It’s also their way of telling us not to gripe about the little details, as its presumably going to improve before it hits dealerships. Things like panel gaps, a rattle here or there, or even a malfunctioning infotainment system are supposed to be overlooked. Not that this car had any, but I won’t be talking about fit and finish here.
I can talk about the drivetrain, though. It’s a 2.0L turbo that came right from Mercedes-Benz, and it feels like it. That is to say, it’s good. Mated to a 7-speed automatic, it puts out 208 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. Wind the engine up a bit and it makes for a fun little highway commuter that can dart around traffic at will. The problem is the car’s interior volume. Proportioned very much like the M-B GLA, the QX30 barely has enough headroom for a driver over 6 feet tall. The backseats are really only suitable for children or the otherwise vertically challenged. While it’s a good-looking car, you’ll want to evaluate who your passenger(s) will be before signing on the dotted line.
As-tested price: $43,745 including destination.
2016 Lexus NX 300h
With more usable space than the Infiniti QX30, the Lexus is the more mature ride of the two. Its chassis is well-balanced and power is decent for a hybrid. The interior is comfortable and well finished per Lexus’s standard method of operation. Power comes from a 2.5L gasoline engine that feeds the front wheels. An electric motor kicks in when needed to provide torque to the rear wheels, making this an AWD vehicle. Total combined system output is 194 hp.
More important in the narrow segment of small hybrid crossovers is how it makes the driver feel. Nathan has stated on and off the record that he really enjoys driving this NX. Its interior volume is superior to that of the Infiniti and driving dynamics are also pleasant to live with. The EPA rates it at 33 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. Combined it gets 32. The Infiniti is not yet rated by the EPA.
As-tested price: $47,818 including destination.
Watch the video at the top of the page to get Roman and Nathan’s opinions on the two hatchbacks in this classic TFL mashup.