With its flowing body lines the new Infiniti QX30 Sport subcompact crossover is one smooth customer.

The QX30 Sport may share a chassis, engine and transmission with the new Mercedes-Benz GLA crossover, but it's unmistakably an Infiniti in design. While it has crossover traits, the QX30 Sport (a slightly lowered version of the QX30 all-wheel-drive model) is really an urban hatchback. As such, it may be more similar in performance to, say, a Volkswagen GTI than a BMW X1.

The true stature of the QX30 Sport becomes apparent when you stand beside the car. With a curb weight of 3,407 pounds and an overall length of just 174 inches, the Sport is a crossover clearly meant for short hops from your apartment to the yoga studio or Whole Foods. In fact, the QX30 Sport might be just the vehicle for Chattanooga's emerging downtown culture, leaving big SUVs to patrol the subdivisions of suburbia in places such as Ooltewah and East Brainerd.

A quick audit of Infiniti of Chattanooga's inventory shows about 12 QX30s on the ground there, or in the pipeline, including a couple of Sport models like our tester. Prices in the QX30 line range from $29,950 for a base model up to $42,100 for a fully-equipped Sport. Our Ink Blue tester bottom-lines for $43,735.

Richard Maddox, new car sales manager at Infiniti of Chattanooga, says the QX30 is a good fit for customers looking for a fun, comfortable crossover with a performance edge. The QX30 checks all those boxes, and it also comes with an all-wheel-drive option. Sales incentives are available, too, Maddox said.

STYLING AND FEATURES
The QX30 Sport is the smallest Infiniti in the showroom these days, but it has a clear family resemblance to the bigger crossovers in the fleet. Like the others — notably the QX60 and QX80 — the QX30s feature body lines derived from ocean swells. The front design, meanwhile, combines a double-arch grille and focused-eye headlamps.

Our tester is shown in Ink Blue, which has a luminescent, almost purple, tint. That may sound radical but it's actually in keeping with the QX30 Sport's fun vibe. There are very few flat surfaces on the sheet metal, which keeps things visually interesting.

As you'd expect from a luxury brand, the QX30 has loads of standard content. Before the first penny's worth of options is added, the QX30 Sport comes equipped with sports seats, a flat-bottom steering wheel, run-flat tires, aluminum pedal finishers, a lowered sport suspension, navigation, 10 speaker Bose audio system and SiriusXM Satellite radio.

Our tester also includes about $4,000 in options, such as Napa leather seating surfaces ($1,500), a package of safety-tech features ($1,200) and an array of LED lights ($1,000) and illuminated kick plates.

The black interior on our tester car is broken up by cream colored stitching and seat inserts. This result is a buttoned down look that's ready for a night on the town.

The cockpit requires a little orientation to find the parking brake (to the left of the steering wheel under the dash) and the power seat controls (mounted on the top right of the door panel). The headlight control also requires a bit of practice to find the right setting.

DRIVING IMPRESSIONS
The QX30 Sport (as all QX30s) is powered by a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine mated to a seven-speed automatic, dual-clutch transmission. A turbocharger boosts torque to 258 pound feet; enough to propel the QX30 Sport zero-to-60 miles per hour in under seven seconds.

Simply put: It's a hot hatch with enough power to make driving an adventure. Our tester is configured in front-wheel-drive, and 19-inch aluminum alloy wheels add an aggressive stance.

BOTTOM LINE
As more and more Americans consider cross-over vehicles the default mode of personal transportation, more niches are being created to meet demand. A vehicle with Mercedes-Benz mechanicals and Infiniti design gets the best of two worlds.

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