This Car Review Is About: Nissan’s entry level vehicle in the Qashqai range, the ST five door small/medium SUV.What Does It Cost?: Nissan’s website indicates a driveaway price of $26,990 for the manual. The auto is $2,000 more.
Under The Bonnet Is: A 2.0L petrol engine and CVT, or Constant Variable Transmission driving the front wheels. There are 106kW and 200Nm to be found which doesn’t read as a great deal. However, the Qashqai isn’t a big or heavy car at 1,375kg (dry) and the CVT is well enough sorted that it makes a good fist of what the engine can deliver. In 60/40 urban to highway drive, economy finished on a final figure of 7.1L/100km, not far off the rated 6.9L/100km. The range estimator and driven distance combined to say there was a theoretical distance of over 800km from the 65L tank.On The Inside It’s: A not unpleasant place to be. Seats are manual for adjustment and covered in a easy to maintain fabric. Legroom for front and rear seat passengers are better than adequate, even with the fronts rolled back. Rear cargo space is rated at 430L and 1,598L with seats down, meaning it’s a family friendly vehicle.
The driver and passenger face an elegantly swept dashboard with a line that curves in and around from the doors and meets in the middle over a well laid out centre console stack. It gives a strong impression of two separate compartments without being stifling in room. The quality of the plastics in the cabin is high, with a largely charcoal hue complementing the piano black surrounds for the centre vertical section of the dash.Here also is a couple of nice additions for an entry level vehicle. A left side camera engages in Reverse to show the car’s position relative to the kerb . This minimises the alloy wheels scraping along them. It shows the same view when the front left parking sensors read another vehicle coming into range. Audio has a DAB tuner, again a nice addition, and overall sound quality was of a decent enough level. However the touchscreen has a dull, even dowdy, look to it, and that’s at odds with the otherwise pleasing look and ambience of the cabin.The driver’s pinnacle is of two analogue dials and a small LCD info screen. Nissan places the tabs for info access on the left side of the quite broad steering wheel, and it’s a natural, intuitive, layout to utilise. However, Nissan have chosen to not fit paddle shifters for manual shifting leaving that to the gear selector lever.
The wipers aren’t Auto on, nor are the headlights. Non auto wipers can be dealt with but we feel all cars should have auto headlights with no off switch, for safety reasons.On The Outside It’s: A clear indication that Nissan knows how to link its vehicles together with a corporate face. There’s the standout silver “Vee” in the grille and arrow head LED driving lights to start. In a safety sense here, the front indicators are too small and buried in the inner corner of the driving lights means they’re awkwardly placed and easy to not see.
In profile it’s an aero look, with a graceful curve from the nose back. There are even a pair of aerodynamic aids in the shape of blades in the lower extremes of the bumper that houses the front sensors. Its a sleek look overall as it heads to the rear, with the rear passenger window kicking up to balance the slope of the cargo door.
Bridgestone supply the Dueler rubber and it’s a 215/60/17 combination on five spoke alloys. Opt for any of the metallic paints to cover the stylish lines and there’s just $500 extra to find.On The Road It’s: A bit of a mixed bag. The throttle can be a bit sensitive, with a gentle push having the Qashqai ST lurch forward more than expected from a stop. Getting underway is either a leisurely progress forward or, with a harder but not excessive throttle application, quite rapid. Its noticeably on pace when the rev counter has climbed to around 3,000rpm or so, as there’s a definite change to the engine’s character.
The CVT is well sorted in how it deals with the engine, giving an impression that’s there is plenty more zip than the engine’s output figures suggest. The needle swings around easily, and the computer readily defines the drive nature during acceleration. There’s either the constant surge from the engine or a more traditional gear change feel.
It works well in downhill runs too. The transmission has preprogrammed change points and it uses these to ” engine brake” readily and effectively.
There was a minor eyebrow raiser when cruising on the highway. There was a subtle but detectable back and forth feeling, with a corresponding almost imperceptible flicker of the rev counter needle. Think a slight, slight, acceleration and off the pedal for deceleration.
Highway ride quality is up there, with the suspension coping admirably with the varying undulations, and would compress nicely without issue on road joins. However, the lower travel of the ride does bang crash harshly at slow speeds on smaller bumps, giving the feeling the ride has been tuned more for long and middle distance comfort, at the slight expense of the occasional speed bump.
The steering and brakes feel natural and comfortable. Steering lock to lock is just over four turns. The brake pedal is communicative enough to provide decent levels of feedback and hauls up the compact Qashqai readily.What About Safety? Six airbags are standard across the range. Autonomous Emergency Braking, Forward Collison Warning, and Lane Departure Warning are standard across the range also. The ST misses out on Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Warning, plus Intelligent Park Assist/Driver Alert/Lane Intervention, with only the top of the range Ti getting those.
And The Warranty Is? 5 years, with unlimited kilometres. Service intervals are every 10,000 kilometres. The first service is $226, the second is $306. $236, $435, $245, and $334 are the remaining four service costs. Roadside assistance is available for 12 months.
At the End Of the Drive. Nissan’s presence on road has come along in the proverbial leaps and bounds in the last few years. Stylish exteriors, family friendly interiors, good tech levels, driver friendly economy figures, and decent dynamics on road make for this particular Nissan, the Qashqai ST, a very appealing proposition for a new family. The Nissan website is where you can find out more.