Let’s get this straight, there’s a couple of pretty average, tasteless and bland models from Nissan – see the NP300 (Hardbody), Pathfinder and Tiida.
Thankfully of late, Nissan has been bringing out some pretty awesome models such as the GT-R, 370Z , Murano and of course the Qashqai.
The Qashqai has a weird name but a pretty normal promise – It’s going to be a comfortable, good-looking, value for money leisure vehicle for those parents who are looking for something that has comfortable seating for 4 or 5, good fuel economy and raised ground clearance to give better all round visibility and value.
The Qashqai model I had on test was the 2litre petrol Acenta N-tec (A limited edition 4×2 manual with larger 18inch rims and panoramic sunroof, premium chrome finishes and leather seats). The model range is quite vast and comprises of different engine sizes (1.6, 2.0petrol and 2.0diesel) as well as 4×2 and 4×4 variants with different trim (Acenta, Visia & Limited edition n-tec). These are also available in CVT (automatic) or manual. There’s pretty much something for everyone here, so you won’t have trouble finding your fit, but the Acenta n-tec does look the best, with very unique black and silver 18inch rims, some more leather bits on the interior and some chrome accents on the exterior.
Most mommies would probably spend some time checking out the interior, and I can say it’s a specious and very nice place to be. There was quite a bit of “kit”, including the leather seats, dual zone climate control, 5-3point seatbelts with ISOFIX mountings on back row of seats. There are plug-ins for all multimedia, a half decent sound system and rain sensing windshield wipers with auto-chromatic rear-view mirror and cruise control, which came in handy on the long trips. It’s a little plasticky on the interior, but most people wouldn’t really even notice.
On the safety front, standard with the entire model range is ABS, EBD, BAS and VDC (Vehicle Dynamic Control) along with the full compliment of driver, passenger, side and curtain airbags across the range. The interior is a nice place to be; there’s also a lot of stowage space for all the crap kids gather, and the boot is a reasonable size with load-cover. Only gripe here is the bootlid that doesn’t raise high enough and I found myself smacking my head against the bootlid on opening.
The exterior is fairly exciting, without being offensive. It’s actually quite good looking, and in the right color and trim options can look pretty damn up-market! The models with hubcaps and low trim do tend to not really even catch one’s eye even if they were driving down the road flaming.
I took the Qashqai on a road-trip to Clarens for the weekend and found it a very comfortable cruiser. It’s no dynamic wonder, but who gives a shit?! This car is made to transport families in comfort, and it does that well. The panoramic sunroof really added to the overall ambiance of the interior, and has a fully automatic cloth cover that closes to keep the sun from turning the car into a little hot box. The car did really well considering the state of disrepute of the roads between Bethlehem and Clarens, meant I played “dodge the pothole and oncoming traffic” for around 60km’s. The car handled well taking the bumps and undulating surface in its stride, even when I was veering all over the road to avoid the potholes … that didn’t unsettle it.
What’s unfortunately not so great is the very lack-luster 2 litre engine. Pushing out 102kW and a very low 198Nm leaves you hunting through the gears, and this means you have to spend a lot of time changing gears. Which is a bad thing, as the gearbox feels something like stirring butter with a very long stick. It’s strange how detached the gearlever feels from the gearbox somewhere down there, notchy gearshifts and a clutch that doesn’t help the cause. My friends from ZaCarShow said I’m being a little critical and most people who buy the car would happily live with the gearbox (They are probably right)
The engine is a bit of a let down too, I could have sworn the car I had was the 1.6litre, but she was the 2litre…sadly. This also affected fuel consumption as I couldn’t get below 12l/100km, manufacturer claims 10.47l/100km which isn’t bad but isn’t great either. I would definitely like to see Nissan bring the 1.6Techna engine from the Juke to the Qashqai, and you can leave all the rest out.
There really is very little to dislike about the Qashqai for most people You can see why there are so many of them on the roads. I can’t see the point of the 4×4 model as there’s no other 4×4 qualities to the vehicle, so my pick would probably be the 2.0cdi (diesel) Acenta 4×2 instead of the petrol one I had.
You’d also be looking at the Kia Sportage, Jeep Compass and Hyundai ix35 in this company, and I can say that it’ll be a tough choice between the Kia and the Nissan, but due to Kia still have supply issues, I’d go for the Nissan.
Pricing of vehicle as tested 2litre Acenta Limited Edition with Panoramic sunroof – R300,000
Standard 3year / 90 000 km service plan and 3year / 100 000 km warranty