By: IOL Motoring Staff
Johannesburg - Nissan's Qashqai has become a formidable force in the compact crossover world over the last seven years, with more than two million of them having found homes around the world and 20 000 in South Africa alone. In fact, you can probably pronounce its name by now... ok it’s 'Kash-Kai' in case you couldn't.
With the march of time its rivals have sharpened their respective games over the last few years and now it's Nissan's turn to fight back with the all-new Qashqai, launched in South Africa this week with a fresh design and new technologies.
Nissan redesigned this crossover from the ground up and the finished product is longer, wider, lower and lighter than before. We quite like the new exterior design - though it doesn't stray too far from the original's blueprint, it looks decidedly more modern and it's certainly easy on the eye.
BIGGER, BETTER CABIN
Nissan has aimed somewhat higher when it comes to interior quality, with a fuss-free layout and premium quality materials. New to the model is a Drive-Assist Display with high-definition graphics and an adaptable ambient lighting system to create that perfect mood at night.
This Qashqai features brand new seats, designed using advanced medical scanning, and as before there's space for five - its new X-Trail sibling will offer room for seven. Leg, head and shoulder room have been improved, while the boot capacity grows by 20 litres to 430 litres.
On the 'techno' front, Nissan is offering its Around View Monitor as an option on all but the base model. This gizmo uses four cameras to effectively create a 'helicopter view' of the vehicle displayed through a seven-inch LCD display - which also comes as part of the optional Techno Pack.
THREE TURBO ENGINES
For the time being, the Qashqai will be offered with one petrol and two turbodiesel engines.
That sole petrol offering is a brand new 1.2-litre direct injection turbocharged unit that develops 85kW at 4500rpm and 190Nm at 2000rpm, while sipping 6.2 litres per 100km on the combined cycle. A 110kW 1.6 turbopetrol could be added to the range at a later stage and that would certainly give Nissan some Kuga-fighting ammo.
Like the 1.2T, the improved 1.5 dCi turbodiesel sends its power to the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox. This 1.5 pushes 81kW at 4000rpm and 260Nm between 1750 and 2500rpm and its main drawcard is the claimed average consumption of 4.2 l/100km.
There is a beefier diesel option in the form of a 1.6 dCi with 96kW on tap at 4000rpm and a wholesome 320Nm from 1750. You can have it as a front-wheel drive with CVT transmission or as an all-wheel drive (All Mode 4x4-i as Nissan calls it) with a six-speed manual gearbox. Consumption is as low as 4.9 litres per 100km in the case of the CVT model.
Being modern motors, both diesel versions require 50ppm diesel or better.
The Qashqai is built around the Nissan-Renault Alliance's new modular CMF platform and unlike many crossover rivals, this vehicle features an independent multi-link rear suspension design, which allows for a better balance between ride and road holding.
MODELS & FEATURES
The range kicks off with the 1.2T Visia, packing standard features like six airbags, Vehicle Dynamic Control, hill start assistance, five-inch Drive-Assist Display, multi-function steering wheel, cruise control and air conditioning. Also standard is a five-year/90 000km service plan and six-year/150 000km warranty.
The 1.2T and 1.5 dCi Acenta models add dual-zone climate control, automatic headlights and windscreen wipers, leather steering wheel and snazzier cloth trim; on the outside it gains 17-inch alloys, electric folding mirrors and front fog lights.
For extra bling you can order the Design Pack (R12 800), for 19-inch alloys, privacy glass and silver roof rails and you can keep your inner-geek happy with the Techno Pack (R16 700), which adds the Around View Monitor and NissanConnect infotainment system with navigation.
The Design Pack's goodies are standard on the 1.6 dCi Acenta, in addition to LED headlights and keyless entry and start. Buyers will still have to pay extra for the Techno Pack, however.
1.2T Visia - R281 900
1.2T Acenta - R310 100
1.5 dCi Acenta - R330 500
1.6 dCi Acenta CVT - R382 500
1.6 dCi Acenta AWD - R383 800