December last year I wrote one of the most enjoyable reviews thus far – the review for the Nissan Qashqai. Having had an opportunity this past week to spend some more time looking at the Qashqai in-depth, I felt compelled to add on to my previous review whilst still maintaining the essence of what I had originally conveyed, which was a review I felt really strongly about.

Francois, New Car Sales Executive at Group 1 Nissan the Glen, released the Qashqai to me with great enthusiasm, noting that his impression and feel for the vehicle is that it is most suited to the professional, or the executive, as the Qashqai steeps you in great luxury and comfort. Although I fervently agree with this, I also feel that there is a sporty, edgy element to the Qashqai that shouldn’t go unnoticed.

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, and wrapped it in a very good-looking package. With sharp, sleek lines that culminate in the signature v-shaped grille that identifies a Nissan so well, it has angular headlights that 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 sporty-character I mentioned earlier.

As before, the intelligent key system senses the key in my hand, and unlocks the doors. On the inside, the cabin is kitted out 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 – and on this particular day, was headed to Arcadia (a rather sizeable first trip in the Qashqai). 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. Saying that it has all the bells and whistles seems a little understated, to be honest, because it feels like there is really so much more to it than just bells and whistles!

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 stunning combination.

Reaching back to my previous review, I do want to reiterate how wrong my initial assessment was regarding the affordability of this vehicle. Starting at only R306 900 for the 2017 DiG Turbo Visia, the Qashqai is decently priced for what it offers, and has cemented itself in my list of favourite vehicles thus far. For more info on this amazing vehicle, click on Group 1 Nissan the Glen


By Desh Bechan