Say hello to the new Nissan Qashqai, same as the old Nissan Qashqai.
Well, it’s not exactly the same – the design has been subtly revamped, and now the car comes with valuable safety features. But the crux of the matter, the fact that the Qashqai delivers plenty of tango for the cash, is the same.
As covered in our launch story, the visual tweaks are standard: new lights, front fascia, new colours – one of which is vivid blue, shown here. Nissan’s new V-Motion styling (as seen on the Nissan Pulsar hatch) has been put into place with decent results, plus a little more visual aggro with the front and rear undersides (air flow generators and silver ‘bash’ plates) since the Qashqai remains one of the archetypes of what a modern crosser should bear, visually.
Finding an older Qashqai in Singapore was easy peasy. New vs old, spot the differences
The biggest change inside is the new steering wheel, which is flat bottomed (‘D-shaped’ Nissan says), while the basic infotainment system and instruments with an active display remain. This model, the 2.0 Premium, is the most expensive variant and comes with the optional ‘Premium Plum’ interior, that is, higher-grade leather upholstery in a shade of mauve/purple.
Both are a nice touch, but the basic Qashqai essence remains – there’s plenty of space to stow the family thanks to generous leg and headroom, while boot space remains a thoroughly utile 430-litres.
Nissan has reorganised its active dynamics features, basically advanced and extended ESP (or to use Nissan’s term, Vehicle Dynamics Management) functions that use individual wheel braking to help smoothen out and tighten up the Qashqai’s ride and handling – they’re named Intelligent Trace Control, Intelligent Engine Brake, Intelligent Ride Control.
The Qashqai still drives well, especially for a crossover costing less than $130,000 with COE. Standard on the Premium model are new 19-inch wheels (other models gets 17-inchers) that look the business, but contribute to a slightly more unsettled ride than before. It’s not a big issue, since this sort of behaviour remains common amongst modern crossovers, and to the Qashqai’s credit, it’s not the sort of jiggling that will drive you mad on a Malaysian holiday.
What’s more enjoyable is that the sound dynamics remain the same. Despite the CVT gearbox, the drivetrain builds revs and speed in a lively fashion, and a keen driver will find that hustling the Qashqai doesn’t fold and cash out when you demand more from it. Sure, it’s not the pointiest thing around, but there many crossovers that simply evaporate the urge for any sort of engaged driving.
So far, so facelift, really but that’s not what makes the Qashqai impressive value for money.
The 2.0 Premium model is the most expensive, being $19k more than the Premium Turbo 1.2. The difference gets you roof rails, a fixed panoramic sunroof, nicer leather, powered front seats, front parking sensors and auto hold.
Of course those who want better mileage should plump for the 1.2, with start-stop and turbo tech it returns 5.6L/100km, though it does have a torsion beam rear suspension unlike the 2.0’s presumably more capable multi-link units. The fact that the Qashqai packs six airbag – across all variants – bolsters its safety credentials to segment leading levels.
But what’s really impressive about the Premium 2.0 model are the active safety features: this includes blind spot monitors, lane keeping assist, attention assist, rear cross traffic alerts and autonomous forward braking. Also particularly useful is a 360-degree camera (a rarity in this price range) that can detect moving objects for added safety while parking.
Japanese SUVs have done the same recently, like the Toyota Harrier And Mazda CX 5, but those cars are notably more expensive – how Nissan has managed to cram these features into the Qashqai and still keep it below $130k is laudable.
Accordingly, the Qashqai feels more built to cost at times, such as in certain plastic buttons and trim pieces, but to most buyers the sheer amount of car you get for your qash, I mean, cash, is the reasons it’s Nissan’s best-selling car here.
Nissan Qashqai 2.0 Premium
Engine 1,997cc, 16V, inline 4
Power 144bhp at 6000rpm
Torque 200Nm at 4400rpm
Top Speed 185km/h (estimate)
0-100km/h 10.1 seconds (estimate)
Fuel efficiency 6.9L/100km
Price $127,300 with COE
Agent Tan Chong Motor Sales
Also Consider: Kia Sportage, Honda HR-V