Qashqai is the name of a nomadic tribe in Iran, apparently. In Europe, and certainly in South Africa, Qashqai is also the name of a top-selling SUV crossover, proudly showcased at Group 1 Nissan the Glen. In the past, I have always somewhat over-looked the Qashqai, due in part to being intimidated by it’s intricate name, but also because I had somehow assumed that a vehicle with this reputation would be unaffordable.
I was wrong.
That doesn’t happen often, but I do enjoy when it does, because it means I have learned something new. And learn something I did, when checking out the Qashqai recently: this crossover SUV is designed to take the comfort of a family car, combining it with the low-costs of a hatchback, and the practicality of an SUV. Nissan has achieved this exceedingly well.
The vehicle itself looks amazing, with sharp, sleek lines that culminate in the signature v-shaped grille that identifies a Nissan so well. Its angular headlights give it a regal bearing, and also are so designed as it increases visibility. With a lovely raised ride-height, the Qashqai has the rugged look of an SUV, whilst still touching on the elegance of a sedan. I particularly like the integrated turn signals in the mirrors, which are eye catching and modern; the standard 19-inch 5-spoke alloy wheels are also a head-turner for sure, and give a nod to the vehicles sport abilities.
As I approach the vehicle, the intelligent key system senses the key in my hand, and lets me in. It looks just as gorgeous on the inside, with quality finishes that envelope one in luxury (even in the non-leather seat variants, I may add). Seats are electronically adjustable to highlight comfort, as well as impressively scientifically designed in order to reduce fatigue by maximising blood flow. Sitting inside, the vehicle feels very large, and has ample head and leg room, as well as having incredible boot space (which you can reconfigure in numerous ways to your advantage).
On the console, the Nissan Connect infotainment system allows you to link your smartphone to the vehicle. It also provides for advanced satellite navigation, which I like, since I tend to get lost from time to time. Above the steering wheel, there is also a colour display that relays real time infographics to you regarding vehicle systems, caller ID and the like – ultimate convenience at your fingertips.
In terms of the drive, the new generation Qashqai is supremely refined, with active aerodynamics that reduces drag, increases performance and maximises efficient use of fuel. As an added bonus, the Qashqai produces low Co2 emissions (at only 139 g/km for the 1.6 litre variant) and proves to be composed and responsive in terms of handling (thanks to on-board Active Trace Control systems). The Qashqai also comes standard with Active Ride Control which allows for the wheels to be braked independently over rugged terrain, in order to smooth out bumps in the cabin. In the 4-wheel drive variant, the vehicle can automatically detect slipping on the wheels, and power-up the Nissan All-mode 4×4 iSystem to equally distribute torque between the wheels for better traction control.
Furthermore, the Qashqai makes use of cameras and sensors to more efficiently utilise active and passive safety features to prioritise the passenger’s well-being. On the whole, the Qashqai seems to be the ideal family vehicle, lending itself it practicality, functionality, safety and comfort all in one beautifully wrapped package. However, this has not touched upon my assumption that the Qashqai is out of range in affordability. Starting at only R306 900 for the 2017 DiG Turbo Visia, the Qashqai is decently priced for what it offers. Furthermore, Nissan will throw in a 6-year/150 000 kilometre warranty, and a 3-year/90 000 kilometre service plan to ensure your satisfaction. For more info on this amazing vehicle, click on Group 1 Nissan the Glen.
By Desh Pillay Bechan