NISSAN ADDS TO CHOICES
COMPACT QASHQAI IS ONE TO LIKE
IF you’re thinking of buying an SUV, you could have quite a job on your hands: there are 90 different models to choose from.
Yes, really. From the smallest to the biggest, budget to super-luxury, 90 of them.
One of the newest is Nissan’s Qashqai, a compact model perched between the quirky Juke and XTrail and already popular in Australia.
It's the top-selling one in its class in Europe and the frontwheel drive vehicle, available in petrol and diesel, manual and automatic, takes over from the Dualis.
Our steed was the range-topping TL 1.6L turbo-diesel with Xtronic CVT, priced from $37,990.
It also comes in TS spec for about $5000 less, and there is a choice of 2.0litre petrol models in ST and Ti grades, from $25,850 to $34,990.
The TL is a premium level car, with leather interior and pianoblack, chrome and alloy trim high- lights, a big colour touch-screen, satnav with traffic monitoring, a reversing camera, six-speaker audio system and cruise control.
Plus electric folding mirrors, privacy glass, foglights, daytime running lights, auto-on headlights and wipers and push-button stop/start with a smart key. And dual-zone climate control, a vast glass “moon” roof and a roof spoiler.
Seating is good and there’s enough bolstering to provide body support in the (heated) front seats and the 60/40 split back ones can be folded flat to liberate a generous 1585litres of cargo space. If you have passengers in the back, boot space is still OK at 430litres.
Head, shoulder and legroom are more than adequate and there’s a lot of onboard storage and cup holders front and rear.
It drives very well - even the steering can be changed from normal to sport - and the smallish diesel at 96kW has enough power and torque (360Nm) for brisk motoring and great economy.
It has an official stat of 4.9litres/100km.
It's a fine powertrain, ex Renault, that gives a smooth, quiet ride with lots of zip in reserve.
It has all-independent suspension, all the airbags and electronic safety stuff of the moment and that camera gives a bird’s-eye view of the front, back and sides when parking.
The Qashqai rides on 19-inch alloys with 225/45 radials to enhance its sportiness and road cred.
Verdict: The Qashqai TL is a classy, fully featured and beautifully built SUV. We liked it even more than Blake liked Sam. Before he ran off with Louise.