High riding and compact, this small compact crossover is nimble and fully equipped, embracing the driver technology and cramming every bit of gadget anyone might ever need.
The Test Drive
Strong, enduring and resilient is how one could describe the Qashqai, a nomadic group of people from the mountainous regions of Southwestern Iran. The same might not be as prominent in the compact crossover that replaces the previous capable off-roader Terrano. The Qashqai is built upon the hardy X-Trail platform with European influences being designed in London. With high wheel arches, generous ground clearance and a replacement to previous 4WD pedigree it has the makings of something good. But the new Nissan Qashqai only comes in 2WD and is setup purely for around town cruising and car parks, you won’t be seeing this in the national parks and coastline trails this summer.
Dream possibilities aside, the new 2014 Qashqai Ti is a step above the previous first gen model. Sporting more aggressive sharper lines and bringing the sunken dated shapes back into the modern era of European angles. Ours was in Truffle brown, which actually sat quite well with me. The finish to the paint was deep and rich with a clear pearl coat making the brown look delightful.
The vehicle is relatively swift and point-n-shoot with electronic steering with a great turning circle. I found the steering wheel slightly uncomfortable, mainly with the thumb grips too small and placed low on the steering wheel, which meant they were constantly in an uncomfortable place under my hand while driving. The 2.0 petrol engine was fantastically quiet to a point that when parking you can only hear the scrub of the wheels on the concrete when turning. Drawing out a simple 106kW and 200Nm it wasn’t a rocket ship by any means, but when in manual mode with the CVT Xtronic shifting, the smooth but exact gearing helped bring a little life into the driving experience. The brakes were sensitive and smooth and acceleration responsive and constant. The cruise control was simple and great that it had the option to choose the speed before engaging it, you can set a target speed down to one kilometre increments instead of reaching the desired speed. This target speed feature is a much better way to set cruise control as once you hit the motorway you can just set it to the target speed and let the computer and engine do its thing. The one kilometre increments were also most impressive, a display of good precision.
Features such as blind spot warnings, lane departure, moving object detection and driver attention support are all useful features. The most interesting new function that is only available on the Ti is the intelligent parking assist that utilises Nissans safety shield camera system. Pull up next to a empty parking spot, turn the system on, and it steers you perfectly into it. The only thing you are required to do is control the acceleration and braking. A great and effective aid for drivers who are maybe not confident in parking their own cars. The only negative was the time required to set it up, and in a high pressure situation with impatient traffic waiting behind you, you may want to find a park elsewhere.
Some other great attributes were very fast demisting of the front windows, never have I seen fogged up windows clear so fast. One problem with the over zealous sensors was the activating of proximity beeping when stopping at intersections, which may just be a setup issue with the settings? And indicators hanging after completing a corner, requiring me to manually disengage them. A small problem, but these things all add up.
Lately I’ve had an infatuation with sun roofs, and the Qashqai didn’t disappoint here. With a full front to rear “panoramic” glass roof the amount of natural light let in was fantastic. Built upon the X-Trail platform, some similarities are expected between the two vehicles. But looking inside of the Qashqai it’s as if the design team literally copied and pasted the interior over. Everything is exactly the same, the only difference between them was the gear shifter base. The materials used are subtle and not overly glamorous. Bit of glossy black plastics act as trimmings around the matte brushed silver and leather with a touch of chrome. 7”LCD touch screen is responsive and the camera quality on it is top notch. Another handy feature about this vehicle is its most practical boot, with multiple shelving configurations – divide-n-hide. The panels are removable and can be laid side by side on differing heights, and also to create staggered shelving. It is very easy to change and highly functional, such a simple idea that is highly adaptable for many different purposes- a great feature to have.
What it’s up against.
|Brand / Model||Engine||Power||Fuel L/100km||Luggage Capacity (rear seats up)||Price (Highest to Lowest)|
|Hyundai IX35 S2 Elite||2.0 litre InLine 4, Petrol||122kW/ 205Nm||8.4L/100km||465 Litres||$43,990|
|Nissan Qashqai Ti||2.0 litre InLine 4, Petrol||106kw / 200 Nm||6.9 L/100km||430 litres||$43,990|
|Toyota RAV4 GXL||2.0 litre InLine 4, Petrol||107kW/ 187Nm||7.4L/100km||506 Litres||$42,340|
|Mazda CX-5 GSX||2.0 litre InLine 4, Petrol||114 kw / 200 Nm||6.4 L/100km||403 Litres||$41,495|
|Honda CRV SN||2.0 litre InLine 4, Petrol||110 kw / 191 Nm||6.9 L/100km||589 Litres||$39,900|
What do we think ?
Not a bad little car for the average around town driving, smaller families or compactness. You get the small package of a hatchback but the higher seating position of a SUV. Which is great for road visibility and safety. I’m slightly disappointed that no 4WD versions are offered, even a soft roader AWD would’ve been sufficient.
Rating – Chevron rating 3.5 out of 5
Nissan Qashqai Ti
|Vehicle Type||Compact SUV|
|Engine||MR20 2.0L petrol engine|
|Transmission||Next Generation Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)|
|Length x Width x Height (mm)||4377 x 1806 x 1595|
|Cargo Capacity||430 Litres with rear seats up|
|Fuel Tank||65 Litres|
|ANCAP Safety Ratings||5 Stars out of 5|