Nissan’s Qashqai continues where Dualis left off, and is Nissan’s small SUV contender in a segment that is rapidly expanding in 2018.
Last year, SUV sales were up 10.9% and with new players coming in all the time, especially among the compact crossover brigade, it is vital that you have a top-shelf offering.
Nissan has been at the forefront of the SUV revolution and the Qashqai is one of the best of the small SUV bunch.
There are three models in the Qashqai range, ST, ST-L and N-TEC, I had the keys to the mid-spec ST-L.
The recently updated for 2018 Nissan Qashqai retains the chunky SUV shape of the old model, while adding features to keep the range fresh.
The exterior gets halogen headlights, LED DTRLs (daytime running lights), and LED tail lights. There is a new range of wheels, with the ST-L having 18” in a double-5-spoke design.
The side profile has a coupe-like look, with the waist line kicking up over the muscular rear quarter. Back seat and cargo area windows are darkened for privacy in a style you’d expect in a posh limo.
Lights wrap generously around front and rear to illuminate the car from the side for safety.
Ground clearance is a modest 186mm, so this small SUV is restricted to road duties only.
Body-coloured door handles have external locking pads for the smart entry/start system. Front doors can be locked and unlocked without having to use the key fob.
The Nissan Qashqai cabin is spacious, and feels light and airy. Most of the plastic is good quality, with soft feel material used on light wear areas.
The centre stack houses a 7” touch screen, and manual air conditioning controls, surrounded by a neat piano black bezel.
The design is crisp and uncluttered with most of the function split between the infotainment system, and setting controls on the steering wheel.
Some of the trim is metalised plastic, which like the piano black, will scratch easily, but since all manufacturers are doing that look.
The steering wheel in the Nissan SUV has a “sporty” flat bottom and auxiliary controls for infotainment and cruise control.
The simple layout makes them easy to use, with each button being raised of sloped. You need not take your eyes off the road once you know the layout.
Vents are well placed to direct air exactly where desired.
The start button is on the dash behind the wheel, and all buttons and controls are easily reached without having to strain.
All 4 doors have automatic function for the windows.
Seats have new upholstery, with a mix of fabric and leather on the ST-L. Padding is not quite as sumptuous as in X-Trail, but manages to be fairly comfortable none the less.
I was able to get the perfect driving position with enough adjustment on both seat and wheel to be high enough, but close enough to the controls so as to be easy to use.
There are no automatic wipers or lights on ST-L, nor is there Apple Carplay/Android Auto.
Music streaming is by conventional USB and Bluetooth. Pairing is very easy with the system guiding you through the simple process.
Move it in or out so that when you lay your wrists on the top of the wheel, your shoulders are on the seat back. It will be right every time.
- 7” colour touch screen
- Satellite Navigation
- Fog lights
- Tilt and Reach Steering Adjust
- Advanced Driver’s Instrument Display
- Smart entry/start
- 360° view camera with selectable modes and moving object detection
- Reverse camera with predictive path
- Flexible cargo system
- Powered driver’s seat
- Digital Radio
- Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB)
- Forward Collision Warning
Drive and Engine
All three variants of the 2018 Nissan Qashqai come with exactly the same engine/transmission combo – a 2.0 litre petrol and CVT.
Producing 106kW/200Nm, the engine is nippy enough to be perfect for city work, but the CVT tends to make the engine scream for mercy with even moderate stressing of the go peddle.
The ride is smooth and the power is delivered to the front-wheels only so don’t expect to venture too far from the asphalt in a Qashqai.
The Nissan Qashqai range comes with a maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating.
Safety gear in the ST-L includes front, side and rear (bird’s eye) 360 degree camera system, AEB and Lane Departure Warning.
- 360° camera
- Quick responding infotainment
Not So Good Bits
- Some plastics feel too hard
- No Blind Spot/Auto headlights/Auto wipers
- No Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
The 2018 Nissan Qashqai ST-L is a good mix of inclusions versus price, but the driver aids should be range-wide with tech such as auto parking reserved for the top model.
In a tough battle ground like the small SUV segment, I’d have hoped for a cabin brimming with goodies. The omission of Apple CarPlay/Android Auto feels a little careless.
I was told on the down-low that Apple and Android integration is coming, but not soon enough.
Even with those few foibles, Qashqai makes a good argument to buyers spoilt for choice.
Facts and Figures: 2018 Nissan Qashqai ST-L
- Engine: 2.0 litre petrol producing 106kw/200Nm
- Transmission: CVT automatic
- Safety: Five stars
- Warranty: 3yrs/100,000km
- Origin: United Kingdom
- Price: from $26,490, ST-L from $32,990