Words & Photos by: Jimmy Mak
Nissan’s lineup of SUV is one of the biggest in the industry, counting all models there’s a total of 6 including the new Kicks. This Qashqai is very similar to the bigger Rogue. In fact, it’s so similar in the US it’s called Rogue Sport, but the rest of the world it’s called the Qashqai. This subcompact crossover is one of the most spacious in its class, and it even drives surprisingly well.
Styling wise this subcompact crossover is relatively cute. It looks similar to the Rogue but smaller, up front there’s a set of distinct set of led daytime running lights and this top trim also includes a set of LED projector headlights.
Around back, the Qashqai has a European look to it. High mount taillights that wrap around the sides of the vehicle it looks great!
Inside the Qashqai, it’s very similar to other products from Nissan. Everything is simple and well laid out. Something Nissan always does well is they have a traditional approach to everything, and nothing is ever over the top. So there’s a volume knob, a switch, and button for everything that’s needed. There’s no need to dive into the menu to control the ac or anything. Simplicity is key and in this case best.
While it’s simple, there’re a few things that can be improved. The infotainment system is the same found in most modern day Nissan vehicles, and it’s in need of an update. The screen resolution is low, and it doesn’t have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. For those with bigger fingers, the volume knob similar to other Nissans where the knob itself is recessed into the dash, making it a harder to use.
Seats wise, the front buckets are very comfortable. In this SL trim, they’re lined with leather and they just work. Some may find that the driving position in the Qashqai a bit high and awkward. The steering wheel seems to come out the floor rather than the dash so the angle is a bit higher than that found in the CX-3.
Back seat passengers will be happy with the amount of headroom and legroom this subcompact has to offer. Due to the higher roof height, there’s plenty of space for passengers even as tall as 6 feet.
Even more impressive is the trunk space. At first look it doesn’t seem all that special. However, Nissan has intergrated dividers within the floor to make this space more usable.
With the divider up, groceries and whatever else may be back here will not shuffle all over the trunk space.
Fold down the rear seats and the luggage space expands even more. With the seats up there’s 20 cu. ft. and with the seats down there’s 53 cu. ft. In Comparison,when the Honda HR-V has 23 cu. ft. with the seats up and 56 cu. when. down. It’s a bit smaller than the practical HR-V, but it’s huge when comparing to the CX-3 at 14 cu. ft. and 52 cu. ft.
Behind the wheel, the Qashqai is very comfortable to drive. The ride is soft and supple soaking up all the bumps and lumps on the road. While still able to provide the driver with enough feedback to sense what’s going on. Powering the sport ute is a 2.0L inline 4 making a dismal 141hp and 147lb-ft of torque, all of this power is sent to the ground through Nissan’s xtronic CVT transmission and AWD system. Yes, at 141hp it’s not designed to break necks but rather delivery some impressive fuel consumption and it does. On average the Qashqai returned 8.6L/100km during my city week. Make no mistake, the Qashqai isn’t the fastest sport-ute, that’s the turbo powered Kona. Accelerating on the highway takes about mid 9 seconds to do so. There are slower vehicles on the market but not many, while driving around town it’s not all that noticable thanks to the CVT transmission it’s able to vary the power output when needed.
Overall, the Qashqai is a smart little SUV that works well, with the fuel prices where they’re at now it’s the perfect companion. Best yet is the price of this vehicle, comparing to the HR-V or the CX-3 the Qashqai is some 2-3000 less when similary equipped. On top of this, the Qashqai has features not offered by it’s competitors like the 360 degree camera. Nissan has pulled off a cute little sport-ute that is sure to attract a lot of buyers.