Nis­san Qashqai

New Zealand Company Vehicle - - Contents -

A new top-line model re­freshes the high-rid­ing Nis­san Qashqai, and Damien O’Car­roll reck­ons it hits the tar­get.

The Nis­san Qashqai has been with us for a while now, hav­ing been orig­i­nally launched in 2007, al­though we didn’t get it in New Zealand un­til two years later. A quick facelift in 2010 kept things fresh, and now Nis­san NZ has added a new model to the line-up in the form of the top-spec Ti-L.

On the out­side the Qashqai still boasts hand­some looks, with a par­tic­u­larly strong front end with a hint of ag­gres­sion, while still re­main­ing un­threat­en­ing. It has enough black plas­tic body cladding to make it look func­tional, with­out go­ing silly and promis­ing any form of off-road ca­pa­bil­ity. Which it has never had in NZ, al­though AWD mod­els are of­fered in over­seas mar­kets.

In­side, qual­ity ma­te­ri­als and good build qual­ity give the Qashqai Ti-L a pre­mium feel, with com­fort­able seats, and an ex­cel­lent con­trol lay­out with nice, big chunky but­tons and knobs. A com­mand­ing ride height is ac­tu­ally a lit­tle too com­mand­ing for taller driv­ers, as the seats can’t be low­ered enough.

The in­clu­sion of the Around View cam­era sys­tem ( pre­vi­ously seen in the X-Trail) in the Qashqai is a wel­come ad­di­tion, giv­ing a re­al­time bird’s eye view of sur­round­ings, as well as the tra­di­tional re­vers­ing cam­era view. But there are a few prob­lems with it.

While the po­si­tion­ing of the cam­eras is great, the res­o­lu­tion of the cam­eras and the size of the screen are not, mean­ing you are usu­ally left strain­ing to see ex­actly what it is on the screen, es­pe­cially the from-above view. That’s dur­ing the day in fine weather. At night or in rain it is al­most im­pos­si­ble to see any­thing.

The pre­mium air of the in­te­rior matches the Qashqai’s ex­tremely hand­some ex­te­rior nicely, es­pe­cially with the Ti-L’s al­loy wheels. Around town the Ti-L makes for a great look­ing, supremely com­fort­able, flex­i­ble and func­tional mode of trans­port.

Out on the open road though, things fall apart. The en­gine de­vel­ops its peak power and torque rel­a­tively high up in the revs, mean­ing that the CVT rock­ets up to around 6,000rpm and sits there, thrash­ing the en­gine nois­ily. And, de­spite 106kW and 198Nm, it still isn’t par­tic­u­larly quick. Ride and han­dling still hold up okay though, and the Qashqai still makes a fine cruiser - just don’t ex­pect to be do­ing a lot of over­tak­ing.

At $ 45,200 the Ti-L rep­re­sents a $ 4,400 pre­mium over the Ti model, but still man­ages to be a more-than con­vinc­ing step up in terms of equip­ment. The Qashqai Ti-L takes a good stab at be­ing a budget-priced lux­ury cruiser and hits the tar­get on many fronts. It’s just the same old drive train that lets things down some­what.

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