The name is naff but doesn’t stop people from buying Nissan’s Qashqai small SUV. It’s been around for yonks, initially as the Dualis in 2WD and 4WD, petrol and diesel.
Now the latest Nissan Qashqai has cut right to the chase and is only available in front wheel drive 2.0 litre petrol catering precisely to the people who like the look of an SUV and don’t want the expense of 4WD.
A minor refresh was implemented late last year but the revised Qashqai looks the same although some details are different with a focus on the bumpers, grille and lights at the front, the wheels and the tail lights and rear bumper.
It gives Qashqai more of a Renault look which is not surprising given Nissan is owned by Renault and a fair bit of cross pollination would go on.
It’s a handsome, chunky looking small SUV that seems to be a tad front heavy but looks good on the road. The imposing front has real presence accentuated by the new lights on the ST-L test model.
The stumpy rear end hides a decent size load space accessible at a handy height.
Those 18″ wheels are generic in style but look good on new Qashqai. Other detail changes have been brought in like the shark fin antenna and other bibs and bobs.
Inside is modestly changed with a new wheel and control switches, remote operation to all four windows and an upholstery upgrade across the board.
It looks smart and functional and is easy to live with.
Surprisingly, there’s a soft feel dash featuring two deck levels along with an array of textures and colours to set off its internal appearance.
Functional too with decent size and well-shaped seats for five along with a good size load space.
The ST-L scores a generous amount of advanced safety equipment along with plenty of other goodies like cruise control, 7″ touch screen controller, sat-nav and pretty good audio.
The seats have partial leather which is a smart compromise on full leather.
DAB radio (only relevant in big metro areas), D-cut steering wheel and other cool stuff makes the ST-L possibly the best buy in the Qashqai range.
Drive and Engine
Though I’m not a fan at all of CVT autos, this one is actually not bad, a bit slurry at times but often functioning like a proper auto as in kick-down for quicker acceleration.
The 2.0-litre petrol four cylinder engine is an old stager that’s seen duty in many Nissan and Renault products for a few years.
Though rated at an average sounding 106kW and 200Nm, it actually propels Qashqai with some intent. You certainly won’t be left waiting when you put your foot down, even away from a standstill.
Nissan changed the suspension’s spring rates with this refresh for a sportier feel and flatter cornering. It’s quieter too thanks to additional sound deadening material throughout the body and thicker rear glass.
The overall drive feel of Qashqai is incrementally improved with this latest effort. It’s a good thing to drive unlike some of the competition.
Fuel economy hovers around the 7.0-litres/100km mark when you try hard.
With the addition of Nissan Intelligent Mobility into Qashqai comes a big up shift in safety.
Only the top of the range versions get the full suite of driver assist kit but even the low and mid-spec models including the ST-L have plenty…unlike some competitors on which this level of safety is reserved for the top of the range version alone.
It’s called ‘democratisation of safety’ and Nissan is to be applauded for its efforts here. Qashqai scores a five star crash test rating across the entire range.
- Handsome to look at
- Good engine performance
- Sporty dynamics
- Roomy interior
- Generous standard equipment
Not So Good Bits
- Can be a touch thirsty
- No all-wheel drive model
- You’ll need to fork out for the higher grades for full array of active driver assist tech
- Don’t like the name (subjective)
Qashqai and X-Trail are the local saviours of Nissan and when you drive either, it’s easy to see why. The Qashqai is as good as anything in the class and looks classy on the road or parked in the drive.
It has a quality feel to the interior and drives smoothly and quietly. I was pleasantly surprised by its overall competence. Makes you think, that’s for sure.
FACTS AND FIGURES: 2018 Nissan Qashqai ST-L
- Engine: 2.0-litre petrol four cylinder 106kW/200Nm
- Transmission: CVT `automatic’
- Safety: 5-Star
- Origin: UK
- Warranty: 3 years/100,000km
- Price: $32,990