New Car/Review

Infiniti

1999 Infiniti I30 Standard

By Matt and Bob Hagin

Infiniti Full Line Video footage (4:38) 28.8, 56k, or 200k
SPECIFICATIONS

     Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price              $ 28,900
     Price As Tested                                    $ 30,695
     Engine Type          VVT DOHC 24-valve 3.0 Liter V6 w/SMFI*
     Engine Size                                 182 cid/2988 cc
     Horsepower                                   190 @ 5600 RPM
     Torque (lb-ft)                               205 @ 4000 RPM
     Wheelbase/Width/Length                  106.3"/69.7"/189.6"
     Transmission                           Four-speed automatic
     Curb Weight                                     3194 pounds
     Fuel Capacity                                  18.5 gallons
     Tires  (F/R)                          P205/65R15 all-season
     Brakes (F/R)                          Disc (ABS)/disc (ABS)
     Drive Train                  Front-engine/front-wheel-drive
     Vehicle Type                       Five-passenger/four-door
     Domestic Content                               Five-percent
     Coefficient of Drag (Cd.)                              0.32

PERFORMANCE

     EPA Economy, miles per gallon          *
        city/highway/average                            21/28/25          
     0-60 MPH                                        8.0 seconds
     1/4 (E.T.)                            16.5 seconds @ 86 mph
     Top speed                                           125 mph

     * Sequential multi-point fuel injection

(The Infiniti I30 is an example of upscale rebadging, says Matt Hagin, and it enables Nissan Maxima buyers to climb a bit up the luxury ladder while still residing in the Nissan camp. Bob Hagin likes the Standard version because it represents an alternative to the current trend towards "sportiness" in all things automotive.)

BOB - Matt, the automotive world has gone hot-rod mad with European sedans that ride like Formula One race cars and have a top speed that is three times the legal speed limit everywhere except in Nevada. That's why I prefer this Standard version of the Infiniti I30 but it will still go 125 MPH and doesn't have to step aside as traffic lights turn from red to green. But the suspension doesn't pick up every imperfection on the street and transmit them to your kidneys. A performance car is okay, but it shouldn't be disguised in the form of a conventional family car.

MATT - You're right, Dad. It's pure ego that drives a buyer to go for the performance model of a car that's more than capable in its standard form. This I30 model sports a 190 horsepower V6 engine that moves the car along very smartly. The unit utilizes a variable valve timing system which produces good torque at low engine speeds without sacrificing top end power. Unfortunately for cost-conscious buyers, premium fuel is required. The four-speed automatic transmission is characteristically smooth and seamless in its shifting and is the only choice for the Standard trim. A five-speed stick-shift is available on the Touring Model only. The I30 is obviously built for family use since four adults on board seems to produce the smoothest ride.

BOB - The suspension system on both ends is pretty conventional with MacPherson struts up front and a simple multi-link beam axle in back. There's anti-sway bars in back and front and the only concession I'd give to increased performance would be to increase the size of these bars a bit to stiffen up its tendency to heel-over on turns. The braking is outstanding with disc brakes at all four corners and an anti-lock brake system is standard equipment.

MATT - It's minor cost-cutting items like the simple suspension that allows Infiniti to provide standard luxury items in the I30 and still keep the price within striking distance of the average person, Dad. The interior has enough high-class polished wood to keep a crew of hungry termites busy for a month, unless the driver turns up the power on the 200-watt Bose six-speaker sound system at which time they would be ejected out the optional power-operated sunroof. The front seats are adjustable enough to satisfy everyone except King Kong although the tilt steering might even allow him to slip behind the wheel. The interior temperature is automatically controlled to allow the driver to go from almost freezing to transforming the I30 into a steam bath.

BOB - The sunroof comes as part of the Leather and Convenience Package, which has leather trim on the upholstery and the Homelink system which would let us control almost everything in the house except the defrost setting on the refrigerator. There's an optional traction control system available on the I30 and a family car of this caliber and packing this kind of engine power through the front wheels should have one for foul-weather duty, even though it adds a few bucks to the contract. It's only available with the automatic, however. I30 isn't a small car by any means and although three adults in the back won't be able to play volleyball, an extended trip for the three would still leave them speaking to each other at the end of the line.

MATT - It's pre-wired for an Infiniti cell phone as standard equipment and it's got all the available safety equipment including an ignition immobilizing system in case some bad guy decides to go for an unauthorized ride.

BOB - The only exterior item that I have trouble with is the jewel-type headlamps. They just don't look like they should be able to light up the road.

MATT - Dad, I think you're still just getting used to sealed-beam headlamps that became mandatory equipment in the U.S. in 1940.

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