The SUV segment is highly competitive and you have to consistently improve yourself to keep up with the herd. Things get slightly tougher if you started the urban crossover segment, and continue to lead it, as is the case with the Nissan Qashqai. Nonetheless, Nissan think they have what it takes to stay ahead of the curve with the latest version of the Qashqai.
What usually sets apart the best from the rest is a solid interior and the Qashqai’s interior has gotten even better. Nissan has graced the Qashqai with the new D-shaped steering wheel, which has a horizontal base to make getting in and out of the Qashqai easier. We also saw this in the Nissan X-Trail and liked it then. This is a good move by Nissan. The Qashqai is a family vehicle and accessibility should be simple. The steering wheel also gains four-way controllers which makes operating the car easy. Checking your fuel consumption, changing radio stations and operating your cruise control is just a click away. In a further attempt to emphasise the statement about quality, the interior door handles and air vents are now finished in higher-quality materials with new stitching being added to the centre console armrest. In addition, One-touch power window switches are now available across the range and all windows can now be opened and closed remotely via the key fob. Families will enjoy the 430-litre boot which increases to 680 litres when the 60:40 split back seats are folded flat. Another stand out feature that will get top marks from young families is the sublime all-new seven-speaker BOSE Premium sound system with tweeters, woofers and a digital amplifier, available as a standard feature in the 1.5 dCI Tekna model.
On one of our stops, a previous generation Qashqai parked next to our test Qashqai. Comparing the two, it is evident that quite some work has gone into the front of the new Qashqai. There’s an integrated new front bumper and face with the latest incarnation of Nissan’s “V-motion” grille. On the halogen lights, the “boomerang” Daytime Running Lamp signature is new and consists of nine LEDs. The clam-shell bonnet and rear bumper have also been redesigned. There is new 17-inch and 19-inch alloy wheels which make the Qashqai look even sportier.
Nissan’s safety technologies dubbed Nissan Intelligent Mobility (NIM) make it to the Qashqai. These NIM features include:
- Intelligent Blind Spot Warning: which alerts the driver of a vehicle in the adjacent lane during lane changes;
- Intelligent Emergency Braking: which helps avoid collisions by detecting the distance of the preceding vehicle and activating the brakes, if necessary;
- Intelligent Forward Collision Warning: includes sensors which analyse the relative velocity of the preceding vehicle as well as the vehicle in front of the preceding one. If the system detects potential risks, it alerts the driver to slow down with visual and audible alerts and will also tighten the seat belt;
- Around View Monitor: by using five cameras positioned around the vehicle, this technology provides a 360-degree view of your surroundings;
- Intelligent Cross Traffic Alert: when backing out of a parking space, this feature can detect and warn the driver of vehicles that are approaching behind the car; and
- Moving Object Detection: this feature is linked to the Around View Monitor, the system analyses video signals in an image-processing unit from the cameras attached to the front, rear and both side-view mirrors of the vehicle. It is then able to detect certain moving objects around the vehicle in real time.
Engines and Drive
The new Qashqai is offered with a 1.2-litre turbopetrol engine (85 kW/190Nm) or a 1.5-litre turbodiesel engine (81kW/260Nm). The 1.2 turbopetrol is offered in manual and automatic whereas the 1.5 litre turbodiesel engine is offered only in manual only. At launch, we drove the Qashqai in and around Johannesburg, starting from the city centre. The Qashqai is at home in the city as it is on the national highways. The ride is comfortable, handling is decent and the steering is precise. Power delivery is satisfactory, especially on the diesel model. The added torque does make a difference.
After the launch, we had the opportunity to take the Nissan Qashqai 1.5 dCI Tekna on a 1,000 km drive from Johannesburg to Port Elizabeth. The redesigned front seats are comfortable and offer a lot of support. The drive is comfortable and the car feels very stable and confident when taking on corners and overtaking. The clarity of the BOSE sound system is crisp. The most impressive aspect is the fuel consumption. Nissan claims a fuel consumption of 4.2l/100 km and we achieved an impressive 5.1l/100 km. Not near the claimed figures but this is still good and will please a lot of owners.
The new Nissan Qashqai range is priced as follows:
1.2 T Visia R334,900
1.2 T Visia + Alloys R346,700
1.2 T Acenta R367,000
1.2 T Acenta CVT R381,000
1.2 T Acenta Plus CVT R394,000
1.5 dCI Acenta R394,000
1.5 dCI Acenta Plus R407,000
1.5 dCI Tekna R434,000
Prices include 24-hour roadside assistance, a 6-year/150,000km warranty, and a 3-year/90,000km service plan.
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