Nissan Qashqai Review and First Drive

by under Review on 17 Jul 2014 10:36:58 PM17 Jul 2014
Price Range
$NaN - $NaN
Fuel Consumption
NaNL - NaNL/100km

Beautifully made in England; lots of kit; spacious inside; value


Not the sharpest driving dynamics in class

Nissan has completed a thorough overhaul of its SUV range with the launch of the all-new Qashqai. Designed and manufactured in England, the Qashqai joins the funky Juke, all-new X-TRAIL, all-new Pathfinder and the venerable Patrol in a comprehensive lineup.

Qashqai replaces the Dualis model (Dualis was always called Qashqai in most markets) but unlike its predecessor is exclusively a front-wheel-drive five-seater. Already an award-winner in Europe, the latest Nissan Qashqai has impressive wheeltracks to follow – the nameplate has racked up more than 2.0-million sales globally since its debut in 2007.
Nissan Australia has launched the all-new Qashqai complete with a six-year/120,000kms capped price service package which means your annual regular service bill during that period will be no more than $503 for a petrol model or $705 for a diesel. That’s super-competitive and provides real peace-of-mind.

Nissan Qashqai Overview

Although officially classed as a ‘Small SUV’, the all-new Nissan Qashqai is one of the larger models in this classification – sized similarly to the Subaru XV for example. It comfortably accommodates five adults and offers great cargo space (a claim some in this league can’t make).
Nissan has launched the Qashqai in both petrol and diesel models. Petrol versions are available in entry-grade ST and up-scale Ti with either a six-speed manual transmission or Nissan’s excellent six-step Xtronic CVT automatic. Diesel variants are TS (equivalent to ST) and TL (equivalent to Ti) and they drive exclusively via the CVT auto.
Equipment levels in all models are impressive and, pleasingly a reversing camera and cruise control are standard across the range. Ti and TL models add a suite of technology and comfort upgrades including satellite navigation, leather seats (fronts heated and electronic adjustment for the driver), Intelligent Park Assist, front and rear parking sensors, lane departure warning, blind spot warning, moving object warning and a clever around-view 360-degree camera system.  
The all-new Nissan Qashqai has earned the maximum five-star safety rating from ANCAP
The full lineup is:
ST 2.0-l6-speed manual$25,850
ST 2.0lXtronic$28,490
Ti 2.0l6-speed manual$32,490
Ti 2.0lXtronic$34,990
TS 1.6lXtronic$33,200
TS 1.6lXtronic$37,990

Nissan Qashqai Engine

Petrol-powered Qashqais employ Nissan’s MR20 2.0-litre, four-cylinder naturally-aspirated powerplant. Maximum power is 106kW at 6000rpm and peak torque of 200Nm is delivered at 4400rpm.
Diesel power comes from Nissan’s R9M 1.6-litre, four-cylinder turbo-diesel. Maximum power is 96kW at 4000rpm and peak torque of 320Nm is delivered from as low as 1750rpm.
The turbo-diesel comes from Nissan’s alliance partner Renault and features idle stop/start for enhanced fuel consumption and a cold-loop, low-pressure exhaust gas recirculation system (recycles the exhaust gas at a lower temperature to reduce exhaust emissions. As you’d expect from the latest European turbo-diesel, the Renault-Nissan R9M is impressively quiet at all speeds.
Combined-cycle fuel consumption for the petrol engine is 7.7l/100kms (manual) or 6.9l/100kms (automatic) while the diesel rates at 4.9l/100kms.

Exclusively front-wheel-drive, the all-new Nissan Qashqai is available with either a six-speed manual (petrol versions only) or CVT automatic. Nissan’s latest-generation CVT automatic is one of the better ones – it’s a CVT alright but under hard acceleration imitates a conventional automatic and you feel stepped changes through the ratios (no steering wheel paddle-shifters however).

Nissan Qashqai The Interior

There’s a high-quality European look and feel inside the Qashqai which boasts a contemporary design and up-market materials in all models. You sit high like most SUVs for a commanding driving position and the high waistline brings extra security.

Seats (cloth trim in ST and TS or leather in Ti and TL) are large and comfortable with six-way electronic adjustment for the driver in Ti and TL models. Tilt and telescopic adjustment for the nicely-sized leather-wrapped steering wheel provides a good driving environment.
Instrumentation is conventional and the contemporary style is certainly a step up from the previous model. To the left is the colour monitor (five-inch in ST and TS, seven-inch in Ti and TL) which doubles as the satellite navigation screen /reversing camera and around-view monitor (cameras in the front grille, rear tailgate and both side mirrors).

Rear seat accommodation is comfortable and certainly more spacious than some rivals.
Cargo space is impressive at 430-litres with the rear seat in-place - which is 20-litres more than the previous model - and the rear door opens 230mm higher for easier access. As well, TS, Ti and TL models come with a smart dual floor system with two panels which can be raised or lowered to provide 16 configurations for various load requirements including an under-floor bay to keep important items out of sight.

Nissan Qashqai Exterior & Styling

All-new Nissan Qashqai is 47mm longer and a smidge lower and wider than its predecessor and shares a family resemblance with Nissan’s new X-TRAIL and Pathfinder models (but not the edgy Juke). Nissan says the DNA common to the three SUVs is ‘Athletic Agility’ and there’s no doubt they do all look sportier and more contemporary than the vehicles they replaced.

However the all-new Nissan Qashqai stands-out from the others with a very dynamic look for the front-end. Headlights are sophisticated and there’s a complex blend between them and the raised bonnet which lends an upscale look stretching beyond the Qashqai’s price tag.
The side sees black protective covers under the sills and around the wheel-arches, some nice character lines and a steeply-raising glasshouse for the rear doors and rear three-quarter windows.

At the rear, Nissan’s designers have again adopted a complex look akin to the front-end with all-new Qashqai delivering very stylish rear lights, sloping tailgate glass and a roof spoiler.
ST and TS models ride on 17-inch alloy wheels while Ti and TL score 19-inch alloys. 

Nissan Qashqai On The Road

All-new Nissan Qashqai boasts significant step-ups in technology and driver aids over the previous generation –not the least of which is Nissan’s CMF-C/D modular chassis architecture. Standard across the range are ‘Active Trace Control’ (brakes individual wheels to reduce understeer in cornering) and ‘Active Ride Control (smoothes out the ride and reduces body roll).
Suspension is a McPherson strut front/multi-link rear with double-piston shock absorbers – a conventional channel handles rough road low-frequency bumps and an additional channel manages high-frequency smooth road bumps. drove petrol and diesel-powered Nissan Qashqais over a variety of roads north of Brisbane and there’s no doubt Nissan’s newcomer delivers a noticeably softer ride than the sportier suspension calibration found in European models and the Mazda CX-5. That’s not to say its marshmallow or rolls too much – it’s just more ‘comfort’ than ‘sport’ and may be preferred by family buyers who sometimes find the Euros too firm.
All-new Nissan Qashqai comes with adjustable steering and we definitely found the ‘Sport’ setting was an ally in the twisty stuff. In fact Nissan re-tuned the electric power steering and the ratio is 5.0-per-cent more direct than the previous generation Qashqai.

Both the petrol and diesel engines and the CVT automatic are nicely matched to the chassis with good response at all speeds. If pressed we did slightly prefer the turbo-diesel which was impressively refined even when pushed hard.
Nissan set-up some interesting exercises on a closed road at the Port Of Brisbane. Here we sampled both the Intelligent Parking Assist system and Around View Monitor.
Nissan’s Intelligent Parking Assist system is state-of-the-art and self-parks in both parking bays and parallel parking. As we found in the test it does seem to be easier to operate than others we’ve tried – instructions are communicated on-screen so you know what to do next.
For the Around View Monitor, Nissan equipped a Qashqai with blacked-out windows and asked us to navigate a course and reverse park using just the camera images displayed on the centre dashboard screen. Very foreign at first driving a car with no outside view, but we did it easily which shows how comprehensive Nissan’s system is.

Nissan Qashqai Verdict

As fans of the previous generation, we were keen to sample the all-new Qashqai, and we came away very impressed. Given its importance in Europe, it’s no surprise Nissan ticked all the boxes to make sure the Qashqai is a winner.
There’s no doubt the Qashqai boasts a very impressive arsenal of high-tech goodies and this really rams home its great value-for-money to face-off against some impressive segment rivals.
Combine that with nice, modern looks, slick petrol or diesel engines and that practical cargo area and family buyers will find the all-new Nissan Qashqai an alluring proposition.

Nissan Qashqai Issues

On the limit dynamics not as sharp as the previous model.

Nissan Qashqai The Competition

Hyundai’s hot-selling ix35 is now looking a tad pricey (starting at $26,990). Not the newest design on the block, the ix35 does offer a massive range of two-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive variants, 2.0-litre and 2.4-litre petrol engines and an excellent 2.0-litre turbo-diesel.
Kia Sportage still turns heads, has lots of kit and sharp prices (from $24,490). You can choose from 2.0-litre petrol or turbo-diesel powerplants but won’t be able to carry as much cargo as the Qashqai.
Subaru’s exclusively all-wheel-drive XV looks the business but carries a price premium (starting at $28,490). Fabulous 110kW/196Nm Boxer petrol engine is a plus; no diesel and a small cargo area are negatives.

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