|The great looking Nissan Qashqai will be very successful in the Canadian SUV market. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Here’s why I think so. First, Nissan’s SUV lineup is on a roll. From the Armada, Murano and Pathfinder all the way down to the Rogue, sales are strong and in most cases gaining on competitors. Next and most importantly, the Qashqai targets the core crossover SUV market where most people shop. What do I mean? It looks good, not weird. It’s sized perfectly, not too big and not too small. And it’s priced right.
|The Qashqai is stylish from all angles, especially in top-tier SL trim. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Perfect might be too strong a word, but the Qashqai fits its target audience ideally. At 4,379 millimetres (172.4 inches) long with a 2,647-mm (104.2-inch) wheelbase, 1,836 mm (72.3 inches) wide, and 1,587 mm (62.5 inches) tall, with a 1,585-mm (62.4-inch) front and 1,580-mm (62.2-inch) rear track, it’s sized just larger than average for this class, which gives it a substantive presence, plenty of room
|Nissan’s new V-motion grille seems to work well on every car, SUV or truck they add it to. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Numbers are objective and unbiased, but styling is personal. Nissan pushed our aesthetic buttons when introducing its Cube and Juke in 2009 and 2010, the former successful elsewhere but canceled here in its fifth year after dismal sales. The
|Optional LED headlights include auto high beams for more enjoyable nighttime cruising. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
It’s pronounced cash-kai, by the way, but I’ve got a feeling the Japanese brand will soon be calling it cash cow. It looks long, sleek and stylish, with Nissan’s V-motion grille front and centre, lots of muscular body sculpting across the hood and down each side, just enough matte black cladding around the bottom to give it that go anywhere SUV look, plus tasteful splashes of chrome for premium appeal.
My tester’s Platinum package was responsible for the LED headlamps while its SL trim
|These 19-inch alloys would look fabulous on a sports car, let alone a sporty SUV. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
On that note the 2017 Qashqai comes in three trims, with the base S nicely outfitted in spite of its low entry price, its standard list including LED daytime running lights, power-adjustable heated side mirrors with integrated LED turn signals,
|LED taillights provide quicker illumination for added safety. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
|The optional Light Grey and Charcoal interior looks positively rich. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Lastly, my tester’s SL trim starts at $29,498 and, along with everything already mentioned, includes a larger 7.0-inch touchscreen display that splits the screen for a rearview camera with dynamic guidelines on one side and an Around View parking monitor with moving object detection on the other, plus navigation, voice recognition, NissanConnect mobile Apps and services, SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link,
|There’s no shortage of upscale features in the top-line SL. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Additionally, opting for SL trim allows for an upgrade to the $2,700 SL Platinum package that not only features the LED headlights mentioned earlier, but also Nissan Intelligent Safety Shield technologies including auto high beams, adaptive cruise control, NissanConnect services, autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blindspot warning with rear cross-traffic alert, plus lane departure warning and prevention. The Rogue with the same features earned the best-possible IIHS Top Safety Pick + rating for 2017, so I expect the Qashqai to do likewise once it’s fully tested. So far so good, with the IIHS giving it top “Good” crashworthiness marks for its small overlap front, moderate overlap front, and side tests.
Two features I’ve yet to mention include Nissan’s Xtronic continuously variable transmission (CVT) and its Intelligent all-wheel
|A large colour multi-info display is standard across the line. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Likewise the Qashqai’s ride was equally smooth, this brought about by a fully independent suspension comprised of struts up front and a multi-link design in back, combined with stabilizer bars at both ends. Nissan enhances this with a standard technology it calls Active Ride Control,
|This is one of the better parking cameras in the industry. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
The Qashqai isn’t all about comfort, mind you, the advanced suspension also taking to curves well thanks to an electric power steering system that features a standard Sport mode, while also included across the line is Intelligent Trace Control that actively applies braking to each wheel to minimize understeer (when the front tires brake traction and push outward) and oversteer (when the rear tires lose traction and slide sideways), or in other words it keeps the SUV ideally balanced and in its chosen lane even when pushed hard. This aids confidence, but of course every technology has a limit. Fortunately, the Qashqai provides plenty of notice when pushed
|A smooth and efficient CVT comes standard in SV and SL trims. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
It can even use Intelligent Engine Braking to do so, standard with SV and SL trims, which adds small amounts of engine resistance to assist the standard four-wheel discs, smoothing out the process and reducing brake wear, although for panic situations the regular binders are joined by the usual anti-lock, emergency brake-force distribution and brake assist technologies.
On top of all this the Rogue Sport is extremely fuel-efficient with a five-cycle estimated Transport Canada rating of 8.1 L/100km in the city and 10.0 on the highway with the manual and FWD, 7.3 city and 8.8 highway with the CVT and FWD, or 7.5 city and 9.1 highway with the CVT and AWD.
|The powered driver’s seat provides comfortable support. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Nissan doesn’t just cover the leather seats in light grey, but rather the lower half of the dash and door panels, plus the centre console, and I’m not just talking the usual subcompact grade hard shell plastic, but stitched and padded leatherette in places I didn’t expect, like each side of the centre stack and even next to the inside knee where a hard surface might otherwise chafe away at exposed summer skin
|There’s enough room in back for large adults. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
The leather seats are comfortable and feature particularly attractive stitching around their bolsters and perforated inserts, while the seat heaters work well, although I prefer three-way instead of just “HI” and “LO”. There were no such niceties in the rear quarters, but the outboard positions are easy on the back and spacious enough for large adults. Really, with the driver’s seat set for my five-foot-eight medium-build frame I still had about five inches left ahead of my knees and another four above my head, which makes it good for someone well over six feet. There’s easily enough room side-to-side for two as well, or three in a pinch, my left shoulder and hips approximately three to four inches away from the door.
|Think of all you can do with the most cargo capacity in the subcompact SUV class. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
I could go on and on, but I’ve said enough. The rest is really up to you. So let me summarize. I won’t go so far as to say the new Qashqai is the best SUV in the subcompact segment, because no single vehicle can fulfill each and every person’s specific needs or tastes, but as mentioned earlier I believe it targets the core of the mainstream volume-branded subcompact SUV segment and therefore will be very successful. Personally, I think you’re going to vote it number one with your wallets. Let’s look back in a few months and see if I’m right. Until then, I recommend you try one on for size. The new Nissan Qashqai is totally worth your time and attention.
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