As is often the case with a redesign, many features that were previously optional with the 2020 Rogue are now standard for 2021, such as LED headlights that replace the old halogen lamps, 17-inch alloy wheels instead of identically-sized steel wheels with covers, a new heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel rim joining heatable front seats that were already standard, new standard steering wheel paddle-shifters for the continuously variable transmission (CVT) that’s once again the only transmission on offer, proximity-sensing Intelligent Key access, a six-way adjustable driver’s seat that now gets standard powered lumbar support, and much more for a new base price that’s a reasonable $1,000 higher than the outgoing 2020 model, at $28,498 plus freight and fees.
A redesigned set of LED taillights continues Nissan’s focus on safety, with some of the advanced driver assistive systems carried forward on all trims including Intelligent Emergency Braking, Intelligent Blind Spot Warning, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert, plus a host of new ones that were previously optional as part of the Nissan Safety Shield 360 suite of technologies, such as Pedestrian Detection being added to the Intelligent Emergency Braking system, Lane Departure Warning included as part of the side alert system, High Beam Assist making nighttime travel easier, and Rear Intelligent Emergency Braking improving safety when backing up.
The new Rogue also keeps last year’s standard Rear Door Alert system that upon arriving at a destination informs the driver if something or someone was placed in the rear seating area prior to leaving, while a new Intelligent Driver Alertness system also gets added to the base model. Lastly, the new Rogue includes 10 standard airbags.
Once again, tech features like NissanConnect with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard in the 2021 Rogue, as does a backup camera and SiriusXM satellite radio, but the centre touchscreen that all these features get displayed on grows from 7.0 to 8.0 inches diagonally in the base model, with the upgrade adding another inch for a larger, more premium interface. Nissan adds another powered USB port to the standard mix too, the new total being two, while the new base model also gets Siri Eyes Free, Bluetooth wireless phone connectivity with streaming audio, a hands-free text messaging assistant, pushbutton ignition, and more.
Along with the aforementioned CVT, the 2021 Rogue pushes forward with the same 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine making an identical 170 horsepower and 175 lb-ft or torque, plus if the base model is enhanced with Nissan’s Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system, a $2,300 upgrade to $30,798, it also boasts a drive mode selector with Terrain, Snow, Normal, Eco and Sport modes. With the Eco mode engaged, Nissan is claiming the AWD version will achieve an estimated fuel economy rating of 9.6 L/100km in the city, 7.5 on the highway and 8.7 combined, while the base FWD model is rated at 9.1 L/100km city, 7.1 highway and 8.2 combined.
Nissan is once again offering the Rogue in three trim lines, albeit mid-range SV trim can be had with an SV Premium Package. Before delving into options, however, for $31,998 with FWD or $34,298 with AWD, the regular Rogue SV builds on S trim with 18-inch alloy wheels, body-coloured door handles, roof rails, remote engine start, proximity-sensing keyless entry added to the rear doors, UV-reducing solar glass, an Intelligent AroundView Monitor, Intelligent Cruise Control, Intelligent Blind Spot intervention, Intelligent Lane Intervention, ProPilot Assist semi-self-driving technology, an eight-way powered driver seat, two additional stereo speakers for a total of six, a powered panoramic glass sunroof, two rear USB ports, a Wi-Fi Hotspot, and a security system. If you want more you can opt for the just-noted SV Premium Package that, while only available with the AWD model, adds Prima-Tex leatherette-appointed seats, rear door sunshades, heatable rear outboard seats, and a powered rear liftgate.
Most of the above items come standard in the $39,998 Rogue Platinum, except the 18-inch rims are upgraded to 19s, the dual-zone automatic climate control is expanded to a tri-zone system, the powered driver’s seat features memory, the leatherette upholstery has been swapped out for particularly rich looking quilted semi- aniline leather, the powered liftgate now includes motion activation, the centre touchscreen grows to 9.0 inches and includes Nissan’s “Door-to-Door” navigation system, ProPilot Assist includes Navi-link, and the audio system comes from Bose and gains four more speakers for a total of 10.
The Rogue Platinum also includes LED fog lamps, front parking sensors, an auto-dimming centre mirror, tilt-reversing side mirrors, an advanced 12.3-inch “Digital Dashboard” gauge cluster, a 10.8-inch head-up display, Traffic Sign Recognition, a wireless charging pad, a four-way powered passenger seat, a remote folding rear seat, interior ambient lighting, a driver seat-mounted front-centre supplemental airbag, and a redesigned Divide-n-Hide system in the cargo compartment.
Nissan has taken a cue from Toyota’s best-selling RAV4 by toughening up the look of its Rogue for 2021, and if recent sales trends are indicative of things to come, most would-be buyers should find its sharper angles and more rugged appearance appealing.
Like Toyota, Nissan has built decades worth of respect for its 4×4-capable SUVs and pickup trucks, so pulling a number of styling cues from its full-size Armada down to the more affordable, economical and car-like compact class certainly doesn’t hurt the new Rogue’s image.
To a lesser extent Honda did likewise with its CR-V, but other than ATVs and motorcycles the second-most popular compact sport utility’s maker doesn’t have any serious off-road heritage to pull from, giving Nissan and Toyota, not to mention Chevrolet, Dodge/Ram, Ford, GMC, Jeep, Kia and Mitsubishi, which also currently produce or have produced off-road-oriented trucks and SUVs, a unique advantage while the SUV sector continues to take over the entire automotive landscape.
While the word aggressive is probably not applicable, the new 2021 Rogue looks more assertive than its predecessor. Nissan is quick to point this out in its press release, using words such as “edgy” and “adventurous” to describe the overall “spirit of the vehicle,” and expanding on that theme with phrases like “commanding presence,” “athletic strength,” and “adventure-ready exterior.”
While we all love creative marketing-speak, the expected Nissan design cues are clearly evident, including its new squared off V-motion grille up front and blackened D pillars at back, the latter creating the appearance of a “floating roof,” this now enhanced when choosing new two-tone exterior colour combos that allow for an all-black roof. Rugged looking lower body cladding beefs up appearances further, accentuated via a new “U-shape” bodyside design, while the attractive set of LED taillights don’t depart quite as much from their forebears as the new multi-level LED headlights do up front.
In a market that always seems to expand outer dimensions, a compact SUV that shrinks 1.5 inches from nose to tail and shaves 0.2 inches from its height is a welcome addition. While its shortened and lowered stance won’t be felt inside, these slight dimensional changes contribute to the crossover’s blunter more traditional SUV-like appearance without making it look too tall and boxy.
Unlike the RAV4, Nissan has yet to offer the new 2021 Rogue with an off-road trim line, the competitive Toyota having provided a more rugged looking and somewhat more 4×4-capable Trail version since its 2019 redesign, which can be upgraded with an even more empowering TRD Off Road Package for 2020, but that’s not to say the Rogue’s hardy new image is only skin deep.
In models equipped with Nissan’s Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system, it starts with a centre console-mounted Drive Mode Selector that incorporates an “Off-road” setting for tackling more treacherous terrain, or at least it can help overcome unruly rocks and other reasonably sized obstacles poking up from the dirt on the way to the summer cottage. A “Snow” mode does likewise for slippery conditions, while the Drive Mode Selector also incorporates Standard, Eco and Sport settings when weather patterns are less extreme, these final three the sole settings available in front-wheel drive trims.
Enhancing traction further, the new Rogue gets an entirely new Vehicle Motion Control System that Chris Reed, Senior Vice President of Research and Development at the Nissan Technical Centre North America, claims to do “what a human can’t.”
“The all-new Vehicle Motion Control predicts what the driver is trying to do by monitoring steering, acceleration and braking,” adds Reed. “It can then step in and help to smooth things out.”
Basically, Vehicle Motion Control joins the all-wheel drive system and Drive Mode Selector to provide individual four-wheel control, improving line traceability in order to smooth out corners via the braking system, and even applying an individual brake pad to do so. The system, which features a chassis control module that “monitors and adjusts engine, transmission, Vehicle Dynamic Control, all-wheel drive and steering functions” is especially helpful when “driving on snowy slopes, deep snow, snow flat turning and off-road driving (such as beach or dirt trails),” said Nissan in its press release, although it’s always on and therefore assists in all situations.
As for the Rogue’s all-wheel drive system, it now incorporates a new electro-hydraulic controlled clutch that distributes torque quicker and more accurately thanks to an ability to predict front-wheel slippage, thus allowing for better rear torque distribution along with greater traction and responsiveness overall.
Speaking of responsiveness, a new quicker-ratio rack-electric power steering setup should result in more immediate turn-in, while a rigid six-position front suspension mounting and redesigned multi-link rear suspension will no doubt help to flatten out the curves.
This is important, as the new Rogue with be quicker thanks to an updated direct-injection 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine that makes 11 more horsepower and 6 additional lb-ft of torque, the new total being a nice even (or odd) 181 units apiece. In order to achieve this gain in performance, Nissan uses its GT-R-proven mirror bore coating technique to reduce friction and therefore enhance efficiency, while also adding a variable displacement oil pump, an integrated exhaust manifold and an e-VTC intake valve along with other improvements.
Yes, Nissan has been a technology leader as of late, so prepare yourself for some serious digital wizardry along with a bigger safety kit filled with new gear like Intelligent Driver Alertness that monitors steering patterns and if detecting drowsiness warns to take a break with a chime and coffee cup icon, Rear Door Alert that signals if you’ve left something or someone in the back seat when exiting, and Easy Fill Tire Alert that lets you know when a tire needs more air.
The brand’s Safety Shield 360 suite of advanced driver assistive systems is included as standard too, with features like Intelligent Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Blind Spot Warning, Lane Departure Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and High Beam Assist, while an unusual yet welcome addition is standard Rear Intelligent Emergency Braking, which will automatically stop the Rogue if backing into an obstacle or worse, out into oncoming traffic.
Of note, Traffic Sign Recognition, Blind Spot Intervention and Intelligent Cruise Control with improved stop-and-go are optional, the latter integrated with an even more advanced version of Nissan’s semi-self-driving ProPilot Assist system. Safety improvements continue with 10 standard airbags instead of the six found in the outgoing Rogue, and extended crumple zones in case of impact. Additional options include a new four-door Intelligent Key system that allows the driver and passengers to open all four doors, this part of the Rogue’s new “Family Hub” combination that also includes tri-zone automatic climate control with two independent temperature zones up front and one in the rear.
Even more noticeable, the Rogue’s upper-crust trim gets a fully customizable 12.3-inch “Digital Dashboard” gauge cluster that completely replaces the conventional instruments with a colourful TFT display, although the base model’s regular primary gauge package is still advanced thanks to a 2.0-inch larger 7.0-inch multi-information display at centre, which is also capable of full personalization.
On top of this, literally, a supersized 10.8-inch head-up display unit projects key information onto the windshield where it’s easiest to see, while the standard 8.0-inch centre touchscreen display (already large for the class) gets increased to 9.0 inches for those willing to spend a bit more. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay come standard across the line, with Google Maps and Waze (with voice recognition) integration available.
It all comes in a cabin that looks wholly improved over its predecessor, with many more soft-touch surfaces plus richer optional Prima-Tex leatherette or quilted semi-aniline leather upholsteries in Graphite, Grey or Tan, as well as nicer wood grains and metallic trims, while Nissan’s NASA-influenced Zero Gravity seats offer comfortable support along with standard front warming. The steering wheel rim is heatable in base trim too, a smart nod of respect to Rogue owners of all means, while rear outboard seat heaters are optional, as is two-way driver’s memory. Other options include a surround parking camera system Nissan calls Intelligent Around View Monitor, this combined with the aforementioned rear driver assistive systems.
A smart electronic shift lever is shorter and positioned closer to the driver, and due to not needing any mechanical hardware underneath, allows for a raised centre console with plenty of what-have-you space on a shelf below.
The Rogue still doesn’t provide a centre pass-through in the second row or better yet, the 40/20/40-split rear seatbacks provided by some competitors, which allow owners to lay longer items like skis down the middle while rear passengers enjoy the more comfortable, optionally heated rear window seats, but Nissan does include a one-touch automated folding mechanism with “an available remote fold feature” for convenience. The Japanese brand’s useful Divide-n-Hide cargo system is once again available too, plus a powered and Motion Activated Liftgate that lets you open the rear hatch by kicking your foot under the back bumper.
Once again available in S, SV and Platinum trim levels, the 2021 Rogue will be available this fall, with pricing expected closer to its launch date. If all this sounds like it’s worth waiting for, stay tuned for more updates, but if you’d rather take advantage of some pretty incredible savings available on the current model, check out CarCostCanada’s 2020 Nissan Rogue Canada Prices page that was showing up to $5,000 in additional incentives at the time of writing. All you’ll need in order to learn about available manufacturer rebates, financing and leasing deals, plus otherwise hard to find dealer invoice pricing is an inexpensive CarCostCanada membership. Find out how it works now and while you’re at it, download the free CarCostCanada mobile app from the Apple Store or Google Play Store.
Story credits: Trevor Hofmann
Photo credits: Nissan
How do factory leasing and financing rates from zero percent sound to you? That’s what Nissan is offering in order to entice you into a new 2019 Versa Note. Yes, I know the Versa Note was recently discontinued,…
How do factory leasing and financing rates from zero percent sound to you? That’s what Nissan is offering in order to entice you into a new 2019 Versa Note.
Yes, I know the Versa Note was recently discontinued, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good car. In fact, Nissan’s second-smallest hatchback is a great little runabout that provides more interior room than most subcompact competitors. It’s just passed its best-before date, and is therefore being replaced by an all-new subcompact sedan for 2020.
If you haven’t seen the new four-door Versa yet (and you may not have as it’s only being offered in the U.S. so far), imagine a shrunken 2020 Sentra or a smaller version of the recent Altima crossed with Nissan’s newest Leaf. If you’re not sure what the Altima looks like, Nissan’s mid-size family car was recently redesigned to look like a smaller, less dramatic Maxima sedan, the latter being Nissan’s ultimately stylish flagship four-door (it really is a nice looking car), while the current second-generation Leaf was recently normalized in order to appeal to a larger audience (the first one was a bit whacky). All in all the new Versa sedan looks fresh and modern, and the outgoing Versa Note doesn’t.
While not the latest, greatest Nissan on the block, this final Versa Note nevertheless incorporates most of the brand’s newest frontal design trends for much more attractive styling than the original version sold here, which was in fact the second-generation sold elsewhere. That car ended up replacing the even blander Versa sedan as well as the unorthodox (but brilliantly cool) Cube crossover, and actually did rather well on the sales charts when first arriving on the scene in late 2013.
To be clear, the 12,297 Versas sold in 2013 and 13,314 delivered in 2014 were a combination of the Note hatchback and Versa sedan, the latter cancelled in Canada after the 2014 model year. Thus calendar year 2015 resulted in just 9,120 Versa Note unit sales, which by hindsight should have been celebrated as a banner 12 months being that Canadian sales slipped to 7,417 units the following year and only climbed up to 7,865 in 2017, before dropping all the way down to 5,385 examples in 2018 and only 2,369 last year.
Despite losing favour with the buying public as the years continued, which was partially due to the extremely well received Micra city car that arrived in 2014, and also because of Canadian consumers’ continued purge of cars for crossover SUVs (Nissan currently leading the market’s small SUV charge with its popular Kicks and Qashqai subcompacts and Rogue compact), the Versa Note is a well-designed four-door hatchback that delivers big in space and comfort.
The Note offers loftier occupants an incredible amount of headroom thanks to a tall overall design that makes it feel more like a subcompact SUV or a mini-minivan than an economy car. The seats are especially comfortable too, thanks to memory foam that really cushions and supports the backside, and the upholstery is attractive as well, with a nice blue fleck on black cloth. The driver even gets a folding armrest attached to the right-side bolster for added comfort.
Other nice details include a leather-wrapped steering wheel with tilt function, and some attractive satin-silver detailing on its spokes. The silver treatment circles around each HVAC vent too, plus it adorns the centre stack and surrounds the shift lever. What’s more, the gauge cluster is particularly impressive, with backlit dials and some great looking digital displays. In fact, it’s so nice that it makes the infotainment touchscreen seem dated by comparison. The truth is that the centre display does look a bit behind graphically, especially when compared to interfaces in Nissan’s newer more recently updated models, but it’s nevertheless plenty functional and easy to use, plus at 7.0 inches in diameter it’s quite large, which works well for the backup camera.
Due to the lack of telescopic steering, the Versa may not fit your body type ideally however, my long legs and short torso necessitating a seat position that was closer to the pedals than I would’ve liked, causing me to compromise with a more upright backrest than normal. I managed to get reasonably comfortable after spending some time setting it up, after which it also provided an adequate driving position for decent control.
On the positive, the rear seating area is spacious with more legroom than average for this class (Natural Resources Canada actually classifies the Versa Note as a mid-size car), so like I mentioned a moment ago, this little car (with a long wheelbase) is perfect for large people on a budget. A flip-down rear centre armrest gets filled with dual cupholders, plus there are two cupholders on the backside of the front console that are easy to access for rear passengers, while a magazine holder gets added to the backside of the front passenger’s seat.
The Versa Note is good for those that haul a lot of cargo as well. It includes 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks, which is normal in this class, but unusually welcome is the fancy Divide-N-Hide adjustable cargo floor that moves up and down as needed. It’s good for stowing tall cargo when left at the bottom, or when lifted allows for a totally flat loading area once the seats are lowered. The Note’s dedicated cargo volume measures 532 litres (18.8 cubic feet) behind the rear seats, while laying the seatbacks flat results in a really generous 1,084 litres (38.3 cu ft) of maximum space.
All of that spacious interior volume comes well stocked with features, but of course its content will depend on which trim you choose. Take note, Nissan dropped the model’s sportiest SR trim for 2019 and its most luxurious SL trim for 2018, but they introduced the $700 SV Special Edition package for the model’s final incarnation, which adds fog lamps, a rear rooftop spoiler and Special Edition badging to the exterior, plus proximity-sensing keyless access to get you inside and a pushbutton ignition system to turn on the engine, while the cabin includes upgraded NissanConnect infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as SiriusXM satellite radio.
One glance at my tester’s lack of fog lamps and it’s easy to see that it’s not an SV Special Edition, but instead its 15-inch alloy wheels make its regular $18,398 SV designation clear (the base Note S comes with wheel covers over 15-inch steel rims). The SV also adds the impressive instrument cluster and leather-wrapped steering wheel I mentioned earlier, plus power door locks with remote keyless entry, powered windows, a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) as standard equipment, cruise control, a six-way manual driver’s seat (that now includes height adjustment), heatable front seats, a cargo cover, and more.
The $14,698 base S model is the only trim available with a five-speed manual transmission for 2019 (it came standard in the SV as well for 2018), but the CVT can be had for $1,300 more. No matter the transmission, the base model also includes power-adjustable heated side mirrors, a four-way manual driver’s seat, air conditioning, the aforementioned 7.0-inch infotainment touchscreen, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity with audio streaming, audio and phone switches on the steering wheel spokes, a hands-free text messaging assistant, Siri Eyes Free, aux and USB inputs on the lower console, a four-speaker audio system, and more.
Of course, all the expected active and passive safety features are included too, but if you want the latest advanced driver assistive systems such as collision warning with automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring with lane departure warning, or dynamic cruise control with Nissan’s semi-autonomous ProPILOT assist self-driving technology, it’s best to look toward one of the newer SUVs in the Japanese brand’s lineup.
The Versa Note is more traditional than those trendier utilities, and in this respect it does everything that most practical consumers need. It’s not quite as fancy or edgy as the newer Nissans, yet along with its comfortable seats, and thanks in part to its aforementioned long wheelbase it provides an extremely nice ride for its subcompact price, plus adequate performance off the line or when passing, while its CVT is very smooth if not particularly sporty.
The same 1.6-litre inline four-cylinder found in the tiny Micra puts out an identical 109 horsepower and 107 lb-ft of torque in the Note, which means the larger, heavier car doesn’t feel as enthusiastic when going about its business. Of course, the focus is more on fuel-efficiency in this class, and to that end the Versa gets a Transport Canada five-cycle fuel economy rating of 8.6 L/100km in the city, 6.6 on the highway and 7.7 combined with the manual, or 7.6 city, 6.2 highway and 7.0 combined with the CVT, which doesn’t sound all that good until comparing it to the just-mentioned Micra that when fully loaded has an identical 1,092-kilo curb weight as the base Versa Note’s starting point (the as-tested Note SV weighs in at 1,124 kg), yet nevertheless manages just 7.9 combined with its manual and 8.0 combined with its less advanced four-speed auto. A better comparison is the similarly roomy Honda Fit that’s good for 7.0 L/100km combined with its six-speed manual or just 6.5 with its most efficient CVT.
The Note is a tall hatchback as mentioned, so its high centre-of-gravity works against performance when pushing hard through the corners, but if you don’t mind a little body lean when trying to make up time, it manages fast-paced curves reasonably well. This said, if you’re looking for a sportier runabout and don’t mind slightly less room, the considerably less expensive Micra that I mentioned a moment ago is a very good bet. The Versa Note, on the other hand, is designed more for comfort than speed, and therefore does a great job of shuttling one to five adults around town with ease, and would likely make a decent road trip companion as well.
If you’d like to take advantage of the zero-percent financing noted earlier in this review, and think this little Nissan might suit your lifestyle and budget, I’d recommend checking out CarCostCanada’s 2019 Nissan Versa Note Canada Prices page where you can go over all trims and packages in detail, not to mention quickly scan the available colours within each trim, while also learning about the latest manufacturer rebates that could save you even more.
Best of all, however, is a CarCostCanada membership that provides access to dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands upon purchase. All of the above is available online at CarCostCanada’s website or via a new CarCostCanada app downloadable for free from your phone’s app store. So before you call your local Nissan retailer or connect with them online (it’s probably a good idea to deal with them remotely during this time of crisis) make sure you’ve first done your homework at CarCostCanada, so you can get the best deal possible on your new Versa Note.
Don’t let looks deceive you. Even though the Qashqai’s design has remained exactly the same throughout its first three model years, especially when seen in its official launch colour of Monarch Orange,…
Don’t let looks deceive you. Even though the Qashqai’s design has remained exactly the same throughout its first three model years, especially when seen in its official launch colour of Monarch Orange, this 2019 model received plenty of important new upgrades.
The list of improvements starts with advanced driver assistive systems such as Intelligent Emergency Braking (IEB), Blind Spot Warning (BSW), Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), and Nissan’s smart Rear Door Alert (RDA) system, that latter reminding if something or someone has been left in the back seat, while other additions include a new standard NissanConnect infotainment touchscreen that grows to 7.0 inches across the line, and boasts standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, satellite radio, live navigation, plus mobile apps and services. The latest entry-level Qashqai also features a second USB port within the centre console, plus Nissan’s convenient Divide-N-Hide cargo system in back. If that news isn’t good enough, take note that Nissan managed to add all of this content while only increasing the price by $200, to $20,198.
That increase in price isn’t responsible for the Qashqai no longer being the most affordable subcompact SUV in Canada, however, the blame for that clearly laid on Nissan’s own $18,298 Kicks. Now the Japanese automaker has more small utilities in its lineup than any mainstream rival, all three of which are amongst their segments’ top sellers.
The Qashqai’s low base price doesn’t mean that it comes up short on features either, its standard menu filled with goodies like projector headlights, LED daytime running lamps, heatable powered door mirrors with LED turn signals, powered windows and door locks, the latter connected to a switchblade-style remote, an electronic parking brake (which strangely reverts to a foot-actuated type on S CVT and SV CVT trims), a tilt and telescopic steering column, a colour TFT multi-information display (MID), variable intermittent wipers, sun visors with extensions and vanity mirrors, sunglasses storage in the overhead console, micro-filtered air conditioning, a backup camera that’s now easier to view due to the bigger infotainment display, Bluetooth phone connectivity with streaming audio, text message reading and responding capability, Siri Eyes Free, a four-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3/WMA audio system with illuminated steering wheel buttons, speed-sensitive volume, Radio Data System (RDS), two-way Quick Comfort heatable front seats (that truly heat up quickly), a rear-seat centre armrest, a cargo cover, six cargo tie-down hooks, tire pressure monitoring with Easy Fill Tire Alert, all the usual passive and active safety and security features, and more.
Just like before, the Qashqai continues into 2019 with three trim lines, including the previously noted entry-level S model, plus the SV and SL, the former two offering optional AWD and the latter making it standard. That top-tier trim is how my test model was dressed up, replete with an even more upscale Platinum package, but before I unwrap all this upgrade entails I should point out that the $26,198 SV might be an even better option for those not willing the pay for the premium-like features in my SL.
The SV boasts sharp looking 17-inch alloy wheels, these replacing the base set of 16-inch steel rims with covers, plus automatic headlamps, fog lights, remote start, proximity keyless entry, pushbutton start/stop, auto high beams, rear parking sonar, illumination added to the vanity mirrors, a powered glass sunroof, a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, a leather-clad shifter knob, cruise control, two additional stereo speakers, two-zone auto HVAC, rear passenger ventilation, and more, while a host of new advanced safety features are included too, like enhanced autonomous Intelligent Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Warning (LDW) with Intelligent Lane Intervention, and Rear Intelligent Braking (R-IEB).
The top-tier SL model I was testing starts at $31,398, but even for this reasonable sum it looks and feels like a small luxury utility due to big standard 19-inch alloys, roof rails, the electronic parking brake once again (this is the only trim that combines it with the CVT), an Intelligent Around View Monitor, navigation, voice recognition, SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link, leather upholstery, an eight-way powered driver’s seat with two-way lumbar, and a front driver’s seatback pocket, while new to the SL’s standard features list is Intelligent Cruise Control (ICC), Moving Object Detection (MOD) to improve the R-IEB, and the ProPilot Assist semi-automated self-driving system that helps to maintain a given lane while easing highway driving stress.
As I noted earlier, my test model also included the $2,000 SL Platinum package that provides LED headlamps for seeing much farther down the road at night, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a Homelink universal remote, wonderful sounding nine-speaker Bose audio, and NissanConnect Services, the latter a bundle filled up with mobile apps designed to enhance everyday life with your Qashqai.
Of note, all the 2019 Qashqai prices mentioned in this review, including trims, packages and individual options, were sourced from CarCostCanada, where you can also find rebate information and dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands of dollars when purchasing a new vehicle.
Together with the full load of features the Qashqai provides in each trim, the cabin is surprisingly upscale. Last year I tested a base S model, and was impressed with its refinement for only $20k, but this SL Platinum is much fancier. The dash top is soft to the touch and the front door uppers are formed from a nice padded composite, these being common surface treatments no matter the trim chosen, but as mentioned earlier the attractive perforated leather upholstery with contrast stitching can’t be had outside of this SL. Such is the case for the leatherette-wrapped padding with contrast stitching found on the lower centre console, that also serves to protect you and your front passenger’s inside knees from rubbing up against what would otherwise be a harder plastic surface, and it’s great looking too.
Some additional SL highlights include piano black lacquered inlays on the instrument panel, the centre stack, around the shift lever, and each door panel front to back, while this was accented nicely by a narrow strip of satin-silver metal-look trim. Nissan adds more satin-silver detailing on the steering wheel spokes and the shifter, before splashing chrome throughout the rest of the interior to bring a bit of sparkle to key components.
Sitting in the driver’s seat, the leather-covered steering wheel feels good in the hands, while the similarly clad shift knob connects through to Nissan’s Xtronic CVT (continuously variable transmission), which joins up to an energetic 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine capable of 141 horsepower and 147 lb-ft of torque. The CVT will probably be the choice of most Qashqai buyers, but I tested the six-speed manual last year and was happily surprised. It’s a sporty feeling manual that provides plenty of go-fast performance, whereas the CVT tested here is best for cruising at more relaxed speeds, the Qashqai SL pretty good at smoothing out road wrinkles, quieting outside commotions, and comforting all aboard.
CVTs are often criticized for lacking any sort of sporting capability, but after testing three Qashqais with this automated gearbox, and a whole host of additional Nissan models with variations on this CVT’s theme, I found it ideally suited to SUV life. Of course, it hardly provides the kind of get-up-and-go as the manual, in fact buzzing annoyingly when getting hard on the throttle thanks to any CVT’s natural inclination to hold higher than required revs for longer than needed, but fortunately the shift lever’s manual mode is even better for relieving performance than adding it. Shifting up at such moments provides instant relief from the high-revving engine (which can get a bit noisy when left for too long at high revs), dropping the revs and bringing peace and quiet. The process eventually occurs all on its own, but why would anyone want to wait? At regular daily speeds the transmission was best left in Drive, at which point it delivers smooth, capable performance.
This said the Qashqai moves along quickly enough without the need to force it hard, while its ride quality is good for the small SUV segment due to a long wheelbase that’s based on a version of the same chassis architecture and fully independent suspension as the larger Rogue SUV, which incorporates struts up front and a multi-link setup in the rear, plus stabilizer bars at both ends. This means, even with my tester’s larger 225/45R19 all-season tires, the Qashqai ideally balances all the firmness required for its impressive road holding with plenty of comfort. Additionally, its four-wheel disc brakes bring speed to a standstill plenty fast, aided by Intelligent Engine Braking that becomes standard with SV and SL trims.
On top of this, the Qashqai is a miser on fuel, with an estimated five-cycle rating of 10.0 L/100km in the city, 8.1 on the highway and 9.2 combined when FWD is mated up to the manual gearbox; 8.6 city, 7.2 highway and 8.0 combined with FWD and the CVT; or 9.1, 7.6 and 8.4 with the CVT and AWD. With today’s ever-increasing pump prices, the Qashqai can certainly be a relief to the budget.
Of course it may be a bit less efficient when filled up with people and gear, and trust me the Qashqai can hold a lot of both. With respect to the latter, the little ute can stow 648 litres (22.9 cubic feet) of cargo behind its back seats when they’re upright, which is extremely good for this segment, while those standard 60/40 split-folding seatbacks open up a maximum of 1,730 litres (61.1 cubic feet) of gear-toting space when laid flat, and that’s about as good as it gets in this class.
Regarding passenger space and overall comfort, the front seats are nicely sculpted, cupping the backside perfectly, while I found the driver’s seating position excellent for my five-foot-eight frame, providing all the adjustability I needed thanks to being complemented by a tilt and telescoping steering wheel that I was able to pull close enough for ideal comfort and control, this not always the case due to my long-legged, shorter torso body type.
I would’ve appreciated more seat heater comfort, however, as the setup provided just one “HI” and one “LO” setting, which sometimes made it too hot or not warm enough, reason enough for three-way systems being the industry norm. Still, it’s difficult to criticize too harshly in this price-sensitive segment, especially when the Qashqai does everything else so well.
This said you won’t find any such cushion warmers in the back, but those rear outboard seats are nevertheless very comfortable and capable of holding big teens and adults. As per normal, I positioned the driver’s seat as I would when behind the wheel and sat in the back seat, which left approximately five inches in front of my knees, as well as another four inches above my head, or enough space for a six-foot-plus passenger. There’s more than ample width too, best when two are aboard, but possible for three, while my shoulder and hips had about three to four inches left next to the door.
The rear seating area isn’t quite as nicely appointed as that up front, particularly where soft-touch door uppers would otherwise be found, but the door panel armrests are well padded with stitched leatherette covers, and the folding centre armrest is comfortable while its dual cupholders are practical. Nissan also adds a twin set of air vents to the backside of the front console, helpful when wanting to the keep the windows closed.
Spacious for most families, empty-nesters or active lifestyle couples including their gear, the Qashqai is a well-made, generously outfitted, and an enjoyable SUV to drive, delivering a lot more than its reasonable price promises, plus it continues paying dividends long after the honeymoon period is over, due to superb fuel-efficiency. No wonder the Qashqai sells better than most of its subcompact peers, all of which are reasons enough to recommend it highly.
Ask most Canadians to name an electric car and Toyota’s Prius will more often than not get the credit, but the true global EV leader is Nissan’s Leaf. The Prius isn’t actually an electric vehicle,…
Ask most Canadians to name an electric car and Toyota’s Prius will more often than not get the credit, but the true global EV leader is Nissan’s Leaf.
The Prius isn’t actually an electric vehicle, but rather a hybrid that still relies on a gasoline-powered internal combustion engine to get it from point A to B, while using its battery and electric motor for very low-speed (less than 20 km/h), short-distance travel (parking lots) as well as supplemental power to reduce fuel consumption and therefore improve emissions. Toyota now produces a plug-in hybrid dubbed Prius Prime that allows longer EV-mode distances at higher speeds, but its consumer take-rate has been very modest, while the automaker has no full EV available in our market.
The Nissan Leaf, on the other hand, is 100-percent electric, relying solely on its battery and electric motor for propulsion, and therefore requiring regular refills from home and/or public charging stations, instead of the local gas station like the Prius. Where the Prius has long been the world’s best-selling hybrid, the Leaf is similarly dominant when it comes to electric vehicles, having delivered more than 390,000 units since it arrived on the market in 2010.
Wanting to make sure it holds onto that leadership title, Canadians can now purchase the 2019 Leaf with its regular battery as well as with a more potent powertrain featuring stronger acceleration and greater range. The regular Leaf will continue to use a 40-kWh battery and 110-kW (147-horsepower) electric motor resulting in 243 kilometres of estimated driving distance per complete charge, and will also remain the model’s value leader at $40,698. The new Leaf Plus, however, will house a 62-kWh battery within its floorboards, connecting through to a 160 kW (214 hp) electric motor for an estimated 363 km of range, starting at $43,998.
“With the addition of LEAF PLUS, the Nissan LEAF is now available with two battery options and a choice of four trim levels – each featuring the many advanced technologies offered under the banner of Nissan Intelligent Mobility,” said Steve Rhind, director of marketing, Nissan Canada Inc.
To clarify, the 2019 Leaf is available in four trims as of April, including the just noted $40,698 Leaf SV, the $43,998 Leaf S Plus, the $46,598 Leaf SV Plus, and finally the $49,498 Leaf SL Plus, along with a $1,950 freight charge added across the line.
This means the regular Leaf S that was available as a 2019 model mid-way through last year and earlier this year for just $36,798 ($3,900 less than the new base model), and the regular Leaf SL that added features like leather upholstery (actually two-tone black and grey perforated leather and microfibre-like Bio Suede PET cloth), an Intelligent Around View Monitor, Driver Attention Alert, seven-speaker Bose premium audio, turn signal repeaters integrated within the side mirror caps, and more for just $42,698, will no longer be available for order in Canada (they’re still offered in the U.S.), although you may still be able to find them at your local dealer.
An upcharge of $5,900 for more power and approximately 120 km (or about 50-percent) more range might seem like a steep ask for what is basically the same car in mid-range Leaf SV trim, but it’s important to note the non-powertrain/charging system differences between the regular base Leaf and Leaf Plus trims.
For instance, buyers opting for the new Leaf S Plus receive a modified front fascia design integrating unique blue highlights, an “e+” logo plate on the underside of the charge port lid, and new rear badges depending on trim level, while additional standard upgrades include Intelligent Forward Collision Warning (I-FCW), Rear Door Alert (that reminds if something or someone has been left in the back seat when arriving at your destination), and a one-inch larger centre touchscreen measuring 8.0 inches diagonally (the base 5.0-inch display is no longer available).
It should also be noted that both regular Leaf SV and Leaf S Plus models now fill their infotainment systems with standard navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite radio, and more, but only SV trims offer voice recognition, NissanConnect EV (for remotely connecting via your smartphone), two more audio speakers for a total of six, and more.
Also notable, the $3,300 less expensive Leaf SV adds 17-inch alloy wheels compared to 16-inch alloys with the Leaf S Plus, as well as fog lamps, an electromechanical parking brake (instead of a foot-operated one), an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a Homelink universal remote, an eight-way powered driver’s seat with two-way power lumbar support, a cargo cover, and a host of advanced driver assistive systems such as Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection (which inherently includes the SV Plus model’s Intelligent Forward Collision Warning), High Beam Assist, Intelligent Cruise Control with Full Speed Range and Hold, ProPILOT Assist semi-autonomous self-driving, Steering Assist, Blind Spot Warning, Intelligent Lane Intervention, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and more.
The list of features just noted is also standard with the new Leaf SV Plus, while a shortlist of luxury items covered earlier in this story, when mentioning the now outgoing Leaf SL, also gets pulled up to new Leaf SL Plus trim, albeit with a sizeable price difference of $6,800 due to its performance and range improvements.
This is a good time to explain that many EV owners look at range performance in a similar light to how traditional car buyers might be willing to pay more for quicker straight-line acceleration and better at-the-limit handling. Either way, the new Leaf Plus is “ensuring that there’s a Nissan LEAF to meet the driving needs of a wider range of customers,” stated a press release.
With respect to those more traditional performance conventions, despite hitting the scales at 1,737 kilos (3,831 lbs) instead of 1,580 kg (3,483 lbs), thenew Leaf Plus is 13 percent quicker off the line than the regular Leaf, which Nissan says will allow its drivers to “confidently pass slower-moving vehicles, exit corners faster and more seamlessly, and merge easily with fast-moving traffic.” What’s more, the Leaf Plus’ top speed is 10 percent higher, which Nissan says is beneficial “for comfortable cruising.”
Many will find its faster charging capability an even better reason to ante up for the Leaf Plus. It comes with a new standard 100kW-capacity quick charging system that allows more efficient charging of up to 80-percent in only 45 minutes (according to the Nissan Canada’s retail website). If you can only find a 75-kW DC quick charger it will take just 5 minutes longer (50 minutes) to reach that 80-percent total, or an hour with a 50-kW DC quick charger (the regular Leaf needs about 40 minutes for an 80-percent charge with the same 50-kW DC quick charger, but can’t hook up to either 75-kW or 100-kW DC faster chargers).
Lastly, a regular 240-volt home charging station will completely fill the new Leaf Plus’ battery after approximately 11.5 hours, which is only 3.5 hours more than the regular Leaf requires, and take note the Leaf Plus can also receive an extra 35 km of range after about 60 minutes of being plugged into this less potent charging station.
Utilizing resources in mind, both Nissan EVs are incredibly efficient, with their energy equivalent ratings measuring 1.9 Le/100km in the city and 2.4 on the highway for the regular Leaf, or 2.1 Le/100km city and 2.5 highway for the Leaf Plus. Of course, litres of gasoline never enter the picture, but the Le/100km rating can be used as a guide to help those new to electric vehicles understand how their energy consumption more directly compares with an equivalent gasoline-powered vehicle, and how the energy use of EVs compare to each other.
Also important, the more capable Leaf Plus battery doesn’t impact interior passenger or cargo volume one iota, with front and rear seating still generous in all dimensions, and the rear cargo area capable of swallowing up a sizeable 668 litres (23.6 cubic feet) with its 60/40-split rear seatbacks upright, and 849 litres (30.0 cubic feet) when they’re folded flat.
If saving a few thousand is more important to you and your budget than increasing performance and range, or alternatively purchasing a more luxurious Leaf SL for considerably less money, make sure to contact your local Nissan dealer as they may have regular 2019 Leaf S and SL stock still available. Then again, if the charging benefits, extended range and added performance of the new Leaf Plus appeal more, these new models are now starting to arrive at said retailers across Canada.
To learn more about all 2019 Nissan Leaf and Leaf Plus trims, packages and standalone options, including pricing on each, plus find out about available rebates and dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands, make sure to check out CarCostCanada.