Nissan’s new value-packed SUV
The Nissan Qashqai is an oddly named compact SUV that competes with vehicles such as the Mitsubishi ASX and Mazda CX-3. While it isn't the strongest selling vehicle in its class, there is a lot to like about the little family-hauler. Here is everything you need to know about the Nissan Qashqai N-Sport.
1. People call it the 'cash cow'
While that's not an attractive nickname for Nissan's compact SUV, it does acknowledge the success of an important car. The Qashqai has been Britain's favourite SUV for a decade, making it one of the nation's best-selling cars. That appeal hasn't quite translated to Australia, where it was 15th in the SUV sales charts and third on Nissan's hit list behind the bigger X-Trail and Navara ute last year. Nevertheless, the Qashqai is an international success story as it ticks important boxes for buyers around the world.
2. Nissan calls this the N-Sport
A new addition to the Qashqai range limited to 600 examples in Australia, the Qashqai N-Sport brings body-coloured trim (in lieu of matt black plastic), plus handsome 19-inch wheels with slightly wider rubber. Black interior headlining adds to the sporty theme, as do silver door mirrors. Normally priced from $35,000 plus on-road costs - but on sale now from a sharp $35,990 drive-away - the N-Sport has a 7-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, along with smart keys, a reversing camera and heated seats. Safety gear includes autonomous emergency braking and blind-spot monitoring, but not pedestrian detection or active cruise control.
3. It's the right size
Positioned between the baby Nissan Juke and family-friendly X-Trail, the Qashqai is the right size for many buyers who don't want a big car. More like a high-riding hatchback than a hulking four-wheel-drive, the Qashqai has a roomy back seat with air vents. The boot is reasonably spacious, too. Vision out of the front or back seats is clear - unlike rivals such as the Toyota C-HR - and the Nissan's driver ergonomics work well.
4. Pragmatic, not ecstatic
The Qashqai plays it safe on the road with tame handling, predictable responses and a fuss-free demeanour. Its 2.0-litre engine brings 106kW/200Nm outputs that make it one of the slower cars in its class, though the smooth CVT transmission is hard to fault. Claimed 6.9L/ 100km fuel is closer to 9L/100km in the real world. It rides well, and body roll is kept to a minimum. There's no all-wheel-drive option, so adventurers might want to look elsewhere.
5. A new one is around the corner
Limited-edition badges on cars are like discount stickers supermarkets use to sell day-old bread. Nissan's line-up is a little stale at the moment, which is why most of its range has worn badges such as "N-Sport" in the past year. A wholesale rejuvenation starts with a new Juke arriving in showrooms this month, joined by a fresh X-Trail and all-new Qashqai in 2021. Expect the next car to bring a quiet and punchy turbo engine, updated safety kit and a new interior with improved space and connectivity. It could be enough to become Nissan Australia's cash cow.
Originally published as Nissan's new value-packed SUV