We test drive Nissan’s city slicker Qashqai

2018-06-27 06:01
The Qashqai now sports a new front bumper and face with the latest version of Nissan’s iconic ‘V-motion’ grille.                                          Photo: Supplied

The Qashqai now sports a new front bumper and face with the latest version of Nissan’s iconic ‘V-motion’ grille. Photo: Supplied

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NISSAN announced at the beginning of this year that its best-selling urban crossover in Europe, the Qashqai, have been significantly upgraded inside and outside and equipped with new smart technology for the South Africa market.

One of the biggest upgrades is the fact that Nissan Intelligent Mobility technology, which is aimed at making their vehicles smarter and safer, is now also available in Nissan’s Qashqai.

Express on Wheels spent a week test driving a beautiful, new metallic blue Nissan Qashqai on the mom’s taxi route.

The Qashqai is a true city slicker which is squarely aimed at the very competitive crossover market catering for drivers, especially women, wanting a high ride in a safe, SUV-type vehicle with good performance and economy in the urban jungle as well as on the open road – without wanting 4x4 and other off-road features.

And slick is certainly a good way to describe the Qashqai’s looks both inside and out.

While the aesthetic enhancements, especially the leather clad and high-tech interior, certainly gave one a sense of driving a luxury car, it was the smart technology that impressed me the most during the test drive.

One of the features that stood out most as part of the Intelligent Mobility technology that the Qashqai is fitted with, is the Intelligent Around View Monitor with moving object detection.

Using five, yes FIVE, cameras positioned around the vehicle, you have a 360-degree view of your surroundings. At the press of a button you get a bird’seye view of your vehicle and its surroundings from above.

I found this extremely helpful in checking that I have parked between the lines in parking areas as well as while driving out of a cluttered garage. Gone are the days of having to open your door to check where the line is or that you don’t ride over the spare microwave oven on the garage floor.

Very helpful as well, especially on the school run, is the Intelligent Cross Traffic Alert which warns the driver of vehicles that are approaching when backing out of a parking space.

The moving object detection, which is linked to the Around View Monitor, analyses video signals from the cameras in the front, rear and both side-view mirrors to detect moving objects around the vehicle.

Other NIM features include Intelligent Blind Spot Warning, Intelligent Emergency Braking and Intelligent Forward Collision Warning. If potential risks are detected, the driver is alerted with visual and audible alerts and it will also tighten the seat belt.

Interior enhancements

The interior and exterior upgrades give the Qashqai the look and feel of a premium vehicle. Nissan says their interior upgrades are more driver-oriented and start with a sporty new D-shaped steering wheel, which has a horizontal base to make entering and exiting the Qashqai easier.

The four-way controls on the steering are new and ensure less “eyes off the road” time for drivers.

Apart from the high-tech touchscreen on the dashboard, the first thing one notices when getting into the Qashqai is the leather interior. New stitching added to the centre console armrest are small touches adding to the premium feel.

This console armrest doesn’t just look good, but offers a lot of practicality for, among others, storing your phone when charging as well as other odds and ends you may need in the car.

One-touch power window switches are now available across the range and all windows can be opened and closed remotely with the key.

Despite looking like a compact crossover from outside, the Qashqai has a very roomy feel inside and the backseat passengers also have plenty of moving room. They also have a foldaway armrest.

As far as luggage space is concerned, the Qashqai has plenty to offer with the 430-litre boot increasing to 680 litres when the 60:40 split rear seats are folded flat.

Exterior upgrades

The exterior upgrades result in an increased overall length of the vehicle, while the width and height remain unchanged.

The Qashqai now sports a new front bumper and face with the latest version of Nissan’s iconic “V-motion” grille.

The Daytime Running Lamp signature is new and consists of nine LEDs. The bonnet and rear bumper have also been redesigned.

It has new 17-inch and 19-inch alloy wheels.

Ride

Nissan has made improvements to the Qashqai’s ride, handling and steering as well as noise, vibration and harshness levels.

The Qashqai is available in petrol or diesel, manual or CVT automatic models.

The Qashqai offers a powerful and smooth ride with good road holding. It’s one of those cars that will simply keep a smile on your face while driving. I found the visual alerts for vehicles approaching from the side in the blind spot very helpful and not distracting.

I am from the old school that still checks and rechecks with neck-turning when crossing lanes, but the Qashqai’s blind spot warning system has certainly converted me to trusting technology to do the looking for you.


Pricing

1.2 T Visia R339 900

1.2 T Acenta R372 500

1.2 T Acenta CVT R390 900

1.2 T Acenta Plus CVT R404 500

1.5 dCI Acenta R404 500

1.5 dCI Acenta Plus R417 900

1.5 dCI Tekna R445 500

(Prices as per www.algoanissan.co.za website in June, 2018)

The Qashqai is backed up by Nissan Assured, including 24-hour roadside assistance and has a class-leading six-year/150 000km warranty and a comprehensive three-year/90 000km service plan.

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