The automotive market has seen its fair share of new vehicles and none more popular these days than SUVs and crossovers. Among other brands, Nissan has six versions of sport utility vehicles from all shapes, sizes, and prices including the Kicks, Qashqai, Rogue, Murano, Pathfinder and the Armada. So how does the new Nissan Qashqai measure up with an impressive all-wheel-drive system?
In Canada, the Nissan Rogue is the most popular model and is easily the top seller in Canada at the moment. With the creative blend of compact SUV styling and affordability, it is not surprising which is why it just made sense for Nissan to strengthen their position even further within the segment introducing the new Qashqai AWD.
Nissan Qashqai SL AWD Specifications
While the Nissan Qashqai relies on the same platform as the Rogue, it is slightly smaller. The shorter wheelbase is 58 mm (2.3-in), 142 mm (5.6-in) lower in height and a 307 mm (12.1-in) shorter in length. It appears as if Nissan is targeting singles and young couples with the Qashqai’s smaller dimensions but it is still wide enough to comfortably seat five passengers. There is also ample cargo space of up to 1,730 litres for all the shopping, luggage or sporting equipment.
A 2.0-litre DOHC 16-valve four-cylinder engine powers all Nissan Qashqai models pushing out 141 bhp and delivering 199 Nm of torque. The Qashqai performs at its best in light-to-moderate driving conditions where it’s smooth and quiet but even when opening up the throttle, the engine doesn’t sound or feel like it’s being overworked or struggling to keep up.
The lower trim models come standard with a six-speed manual gearbox and the high-end Qashqai gets an Xtronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission). It is also available as an optional extra for the standard models. Unlike conventional transmissions that use sets of fixed gears, the Xtronic CVT offers programmed, smooth “stepless” gear changes resulting in easier upshifting when accelerating.
The CVT essentially avoids the gear changing-shock and delivers a smoother driving experience which makes it an incredibly effective transmission solution. In addition to seamless acceleration, it also improves fuel economy (9.0/7.5L/100km). In fact, Nissan was the first automaker to offer CVTs for engines as large as 3.5 litres.
The Nissan Qashqai also benefits from ABS, EPS, a fully independent suspension and several standards or optional driver-assist technologies. These include vehicle dynamic control, active ride control, blind spot warning, and rear cross-traffic alert among others. The SL model gets even more with the optional Platinum Package which adds Intelligent Emergency Braking (IEB) with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Warning, Intelligent Lane Intervention, LED headlamps along with High Beam Assist, NissanConnect navigation, and infotainment.
Nissan’s Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system delivers power to the front and rear wheels which means superior traction from the start. It is able to react to changing conditions on the whim while adapting based on how you drive. The system is also able to automatically recognise and respond accordingly in terms of dry and wet road conditions and when drivers are cruising or turning. In terms of safety, the Qashqai is safe as houses with dual front airbags, roof-mounted curtain, and side impact airbags.
All the technology comes gift-wrapped in an exterior that certainly looks the part with sunroof, rear spoiler, roof rack, and body colour mirrors and door handles. It shows sharp lines and edges with an aggressive stance thanks to the increased ride-height and 19-inch alloy wheels. The front grille with shapely LED headlights, daytime running lights, and boomerang tail lights add even further flair. The Qashqai almost has a youthful styling appeal and makes a real statement emphasised by a selection of funky colours including Gun Metallic, Magnetic Black, Monarch Orange and Nitro Lime.
On the inside, the Nissan Qashqai SL AWD looks modern and stylish with leather seats, leather-wrapped gear level and heated multi-function steering wheel. The interior includes body-coloured trim, front heated seats, 60/40 rear split folding bench, and a driver assist display. A 7-inch colour touchscreen display includes navigation, mobile apps, and other services along with the NissanConnect system and Intelligent Around View Monitor camera systems.
According to Nissan Canada, they have plans to add the ProPILOT lane-centering and intelligent cruise control system to the upcoming 2019 Qashqai models. Nissan has always impressed with their innovations and their vision of motoring in the future. We can expect to see more from them as time goes by as they continue to make waves in a sector that is steadily becoming more and more competitive.
While there has been no confirmation whether the South African market will see the Nissan Qashqai SL AWD, we will keep you updated on any developments. Keep an eye on our blog or follow us Facebook and be the first to know.