By John Ewing
The second generation of Nissan’s small cross-over vehicle, the Qashqai, went on sale here around the middle of 2014. At that time Nissan took the opportunity to ditch the Dualis name used locally on the first series car, instead anointing the newcomer with the name used globally, Qashqai.
It’s gone on to be one of the better performing models here for the brand, selling over 38,000 units to date. Now, for model year 2018, the Qashqai has been given a mild spruce up and facelift. The company states the updates are based on “consumer insights and customer feedback”.
Nissan has involved their engineering teams in the UK, Spain, and Germany in the model refresh, though it’s still built at their Sunderland plant in England’s north east. Cosmetic changes to the exterior and interior, suspension tweaks, equipment revisions including enhanced safety tech, and NVH improvements are all part of the update.
Nissan have also taken the opportunity to drop the turbo-diesel engine option from the range due to low buyer uptake, leaving the carry-over 2.0-litre petrol engine the only choice. There are now more model grades to choose from, though there have been some price rises on the two specifications that carry forward (+$500 on ST and +$3,500 on Ti).
In a world where auto transmissions are increasingly the popular choice of buyers and, consequently, manufacturers are dropping manual boxes from their vehicle lines, Nissan are still offering a six-speed manual box, albeit only in the base model. The other transmission used across the range is the Xtronic CVT auto. All models are front-wheel-drive – there’s no all-wheel-drive version.
Entry to the range is the ST with list price of $26,490 in manual form and $28,990 with CVT. There’s now a new mid-spec model, the ST-L, with list price of $32,990. At the top of the model hierarchy, with list price of $36,490, is the N-TEC. However, it’s a ‘limited edition’ from launch until the flagship Ti variant arrives around the middle of 2018. The Ti’s $1500 higher price tag of $37,990 will add Nappa leather-accented seat trims, intelligent cruise control and intelligent lane intervention over and above the N-TEC model’s standard features.
Nissan have given the Qashqai a mild facelift inside and out. There’s a new front facia, bumper, re-designed bonnet, and on all models except ST integrated fog lamps. Like it’s bigger brother, the latest Pathfinder, Qashqai also now wears Nissan’s V-Motion grille. At the rear, there’s a new bumper and LED ‘boomerang’ styled tail-lights. Alloy wheels – 17” on ST, 18” on ST-L and 19” on N-TEC and Ti – are fresh designs. Buyers can choose from seven exterior paint colours including the new Vivid Blue. Premium paint (that’s five of the seven colours) adds $495.
In the cabin, there’s some revision to trims and details such as door handles, air vents and the like, plus some upgrades to materials for a more premium feel. There’s also a new steering wheel design with flat bottom, smaller central hub and revised integrated switch gear. One-touch power window switches for all four doors is now standard on all variants. Front seats are also redesigned for a more cosseting feel on ST-L and higher grades. ST models feature revised upholstery on the existing seats design. DAB+ radio now comes standard on ST-L grade upwards.
With the diesel engine no longer on offer, the 2.0-litre direct-injection petrol engine as used in the previous model is now the only powerplant available. Claimed outputs remain unchanged at 106kW and 200NM, as does the official combined fuel consumption of 6.9 l/100km for CVT equipped models and 7.7 l/100km for the manual.
The Qashqai’s NVH refinement has been improved through a range of measures including use of thicker rear door glass, additional use of sound insulation, improved insulation materials, and revised front door seals.
Ride comfort, handling and steering have come in for improvement too. Amongst the changes to the chassis are revised spring rates, re-tuned dampers and stiffer anti-roll bars. Intelligent Trace Control to enhance cornering by applying braking to individual wheels as needed to correct and maintain a consistent line is standard.
Nissan’s Qashqai sports a five-star safety rating from independent crash testing authority, ANCAP. Nissan haven’t forgotten safety with this latest upgrade though, enhancing the standard active safety technology on board.
Intelligent emergency braking with forward collision warning is a new and worthwhile feature fitted across the range. Lane departure warning, previously only fitted to Ti, is also now standard across the range. Intelligent around-view monitor with moving object detection, a four-camera 360⁰ viewing system previously only fitted to Ti versions, becomes standard on all bar the ST model. Intelligent park-assist (a self-parking system) and blind-spot warning, both previously only fitted to Ti will be found on both the N-TEC and Ti models.
Rear cross-traffic alert, high beam assist, adaptive front lighting, and intelligent driver-alert are all new features to Qashqai and will be found standard on both N-TEC and Ti. New features only fitted to Ti include intelligent cruise control and intelligent lane intervention.