1996 Infiniti J30

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1996 Infiniti J30
Available in 1 styles:  J30 4dr Sedan shown
Asking Price Range
$3,750
Estimated MPG

18 city / 23 hwy

Expert Reviews

By 

The Morning Call and Mcall.com

If you're among the crowd that thinks all cars look alike, I'd like to direct your attention to the Infiniti J30.

Its elegant Art Deco design was a reaction against the tyranny of the wedge -- design talk for all those cars with big, bland backsides. Nope, the J30's deck slopes. (If you doubt its influence on design, take a look at Ford's Taurus and Sable.)

But the styling doesn't just reside out back. The car's Jaguar-esque stance -- and Jag-style wheel arches -- give this sedan a sporty air.

It also give it a schizophrenic feel: This is one sedan that thinks it's a coupe.

This is especially true of the J30t model tested here. The "t" stands for "touring package." This $2,000 option ruins the car's sumptuous backside with an aptly named spoiler, but adds goodies such as alloy wheels, performance tires and recalibrated springs and stabilizer bars. As a result, this sedan has a tighter, sportier feel than its less-expensive sibling. It leans towards the firm, communicative side of the driving equation. You'll definitely feel those frost heaves and potholes, but in return you'll get a sedan with little body lean through the twisties. The tail can get twitchy, but that can be an advantage as much as a drawback to the driving enthusiast.

You'll want the extra margin of handling -- underneath the hood lurks the heart of the late, lamented 300ZX: a fire-breathing, growling 3.0-liter, dual overhead cam, 24-valve V-6. Producing 210 horsepower through the rear wheels, the power plant rewards aggressive driving with an 8.3-second 0-60. The transmission shifts quickly and cleanly when driving fast, yet can seem undecided at about which gear to be in at moderate speeds. Despite all the speed and sportiness, the drive train is as refined as its wrapper.

True to its schizo nature, this luxo-sedan thinks it's a Z-car. That's true when you get inside as well. The most striking thing is the beautiful round analog clock nestled in the center of the dash.

The clock's extravagant look points out the relatively stark feel of the rest the cabin. Trimmed out in hard plastic and leather of average quality, the first impression is not one of opulence, especially when decked out in charcoal gray. The seats are firm and comfortable, and come with adjustable lumbar support and heaters. Their firmness is more striking than their exquisite leather trim. The rear seat and trunk are tight, just like in a sports coupe. Traction control isn't even offered -- unusual among rear-drive sports coupes, er, sedans.

The AM-FM cassette CD system might look like the one offered in lesser Nissan automobiles, but it sounds great, pumping out the Prokofiev without missing a beat. Dual airbags are standard, as are anti-lock brakes.

There are luxury cars that have more features for the same money, but what the J30t has is a character that seems lacking in many Japanese luxury sedans. This one doesn't think i t's a sedan at all. With its impressive speed and handling; influential, distinctive styling, and tight trunk and back seat, you'll swear it's a car going through a mid-life crisis -- it wants to be a coupe.

Infiniti J30t Standard: 3.0-liter double overhead cam V-6; four-speed automatic transmission; speed-sensitive power steering; four-wheel independent suspension; four-wheel power disc brakes with anti-lock; limited-slip differential; dual airbags; anti-theft system; 215/60R15 tires; power sunroof; heated remote outside mirrors; in-glass cellular phone antenna; heated leather seats; wood accents; cup holder; floor mats; power lumbar support; CFC-free air-conditioning; automatic climate control; 200-watt Bose audio system with cassette-CD; automatic anti-glare mirror; cruise control; variable intermittent wipers. Optional: Touring package (alloy wheels, performance suspension, deck lid spoiler, J30t badge) Base price: $39,920 As tested: $4 ,400 EPA mileage: 18 mpg city, 23 mpg highway Test mileage: 18.9 mpg Warranty: Four years/60,000 miles


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