When you’re in the market for a Sports Utility Vehicle, or SUV, you’re probably looking for something that’s capable of handling a range of conditions, and has enough room for road trips with family or friends. Often feeling just as comfortable meandering through the countryside as they do traversing the inner city, their versatility also plays a part in the appeal.
Nissan’s compact SUV, the Qashqai, is ticketed at a modest $40,032 when compared to some others in its class, and it comes with several features you may not expect to see in that price bracket. After taking the Nissan Qashqai N-TEC for a trip out to the charming Daylesford in Victoria, here’s how it fared:
While responsiveness on the road can sometimes lack in cars of this size, there’s a sense of reliability that you’ll notice as you take the wheel of the Qashqai N-TEC. Making our way out of Melbourne’s manic city roads reinforced both of these points; at times the Qashqai felt slightly cumbersome in those tighter laneways and intersections, yet comfortable and safe at the same time.
While the Qashqai is classed as a small SUV, it sits at the larger end of that scale. That means that whatever is under the hood needs some power to take this car from A to B. The 2.0L petrol engine does what it needs to, but you won’t break any records going from 0-100. However, heading toward Daylesford on the open roads is where the Qashqai feels right at home; the ride is smooth and the engine stayed relatively quiet at Victoria’s highest legal road speeds. By its nature, this also means fuel consumption is reasonable, especially for a car of its size.
It’s worth noting that the Nissan Qashqai is only available as two-wheel drive in Australia, so you will find some limitations taking it through tougher terrain.
The size of the Nissan Qashqai’s interior is remarkably large. The boot alone boasts a sizable 430-litre storage capacity, while leg room in the front and rear is ample. However, anyone looking at taking the Qashqai on long road trips and using that space for a little horizontal R&R will find themselves frustrated with the back seats folded down, as unfortunately, these don’t sit flush with the boot’s base. It’s by no means a deal breaker, but something that could have easily been addressed in the design process.
The seats themselves, however, are some of the comfiest you’ll find in a car that’s ticketed around $40,000. The leather trim and heated seats are something you’d normally find in European cars that sit closer to the $80-$100k mark, and the panoramic sunroof in the N-TEC model gives a truly impressive view of the sky above. It’s initially disappointing that this can’t be opened to let some extra air in, however, given the sheer size, it would probably be unsafe to have such a wide open space atop the car.
Tech and Extras
Just like the seats, the Qashqai continues to surprise us with some unexpected—yet welcome—extras. The road safety features like lane departure and blind spot warnings are a nice touch. The N-TEC model is also fited with moving object detection. It’s near impossible to test out the latter without having something hurtling toward your car. We of courseavoided this,however we’re fairly confident in its quality given how well everything else works.
The 7-inch touch screen is indeed a nice touch, supporting the easy to use sat nav. We have to commend Nissan on their attempt at smartphone integration with the NissanConnect app, too. These sorts of systems in mid-priced cars can often fall short, but this was surprisingly user-friendly.
If you’re new to driving an SUV, Nissan’s auto parking feature, officially titled Intelligent Parking Assist, will help you get your head around reverse parking a bulkier set of wheels.The touchscreen also splits in two when you’re in reverse; on the right, you’ll find the reversing camera, and the left has your peripherals covered with the 360-degree view monitor.
To top the tidy package off, Nissan has fit the Qashqai N-TEC with a set of 19-inch alloy wheels as standard.
The Wrap-Up – Nissan Qashqai 2018 Review
The Nissan Qashqai should definitely be considered if you’re looking for a little European luxury in your next car, without the European pricing. You’ll find most of what you’re after in the Qashqai N-TEC at the 40k mark. It’s not going to be the fastest option available, but you’ll be driving very comfortably with some neat extras both on the open roads and in the bustling suburbs alike.