Remember the Micra? How about the Versa Note? Both were subcompact hatchbacks from Nissan, and both were discontinued from our market in 2019, at least partially due to our collective love affair with…
Remember the Micra? How about the Versa Note? Both were subcompact hatchbacks from Nissan, and both were discontinued from our market in 2019, at least partially due to our collective love affair with SUVs.
A quick glance at the new 2021 Kicks and it will be easy to see that the auto industry’s bigger is better trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down, with the new models’ grille augmented significantly over the original design it replaces. This makes for a more imposing visual presence, albeit with a feistier, more impish attitude than the brand’s larger SUVs. The chromed grille surround nicely flows up and outward into a sharply shaped set of horizontal headlight clusters, while new LED fog lamps can be found just below on the model’s sportiest and priciest SR trim line. Changes are less noticeable down each side and in back, the former including new LED turn signals integrated into the side mirror caps, and the latter including a redesigned bumper.
Making the slight bump in pricing still more palatable, new standard exterior features include automatic on/off headlights, heated side mirrors, and a rear wiper/washer, while updates to the interior include a new standard 7.0-inch infotainment display with standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration. This gets upgraded to a larger 8.0-inch touchscreen in mid-range SV and top-line SR trims, while additional options include a leather-wrapped steering wheel rim and shift knob, a single-zone automatic climate control system, plus Bose audio.
Those wanting more power will need to be satisfied for the time being, as the Kicks’ sole 122 horsepower 1.4-litre four-cylinder engine remains unchanged, including its 114 lb-ft of torque. This entry-level model is more about fuel economy than all-out performance anyway, aided by an efficient continuously variable transmission (CVT) the continues into 2021 as standard equipment. Although fuel economy details have yet to surface for the 2021 model, today’s Kicks is rated at 7.7 L/100km in the city, 6.6 on the highway and 7.2 combined with its front-wheel drivetrain, and take note Nissan doesn’t offer an all-wheel drive upgrade for this model.
Along with excellent fuel economy, the 2021 Kicks comes well equipped with advanced safety and convenience features including standard automatic emergency braking, rear automatic braking, lane-departure warning, blind spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, and high-beam assist. Moving up to SV or SR trims adds driver alertness monitoring and a rear door alert system that warns when something or someone may have been left in the rear seating area, while top-line SR Premium trim includes a 360-degree surround parking camera.
If you think this market segment is packed full of competitors, consider that Ford’s EcoSport, Honda’s HR-V, Jeep’s Compass and Renegade, plus Fiat’s 500X and Mini’s Countryman (arguably a premium subcompact SUV) weren’t even mentioned because they’re all priced over $25k (some well over), while Dodge and Volkswagen don’t even offer anything in this category, but the domestic and German brands should ante up something soon if they want to build their brands with first-time new car buyers, and thus remain relevant.
Also, make sure to check out the complete photo gallery above, and enjoy the official Nissan-supplied videos that follow.
2021 Nissan Kicks Connected Technology (1:15):
2021 Nissan Kicks Safety and Driver Assistance Technologies (1:08):
2021 Nissan Kicks Overview (2:24):
2021 New NISSAN Kicks LIVE Walkaround & Review (4:44):
New 2021 Nissan Kicks | Limitless Possibilities (0:15):
2021 Nissan Armada and Kicks Walkaround with Nissan U.S. CMO Allyson Witherspoon (9:58):
Live: New Nissan Kicks Japan Premiere (48:25):
Story credits: Trevor Hofmann
Photo credits: Nissan
Mazda is doing a good job of taking its brand as close to premium territory as it can without actually raising prices to the point where it has to compete directly with Audi, BMW, Mercedes and the rest…
Mazda is doing a good job of taking its brand as close to premium territory as it can without actually raising prices to the point where it has to compete directly with Audi, BMW, Mercedes and the rest of the luxury labeled lot.
It starts with good outward design that translates well into all sizes and body styles, the sporty CX-3 subcompact SUV looking very similar to the fresh new CX-30, as well as the compact CX-5 shown here, and largest three-row CX-9 mid-size model, and likewise for the compact 3 and mid-size 6 series car lineup, not to mention the fabulous MX-5 sports car.
Mazda calls its latest design language KODO 2.0, or in other words this is now the second-generation of its clean and elegant “art of the car” philosophy, a glimpse of which we initially saw in its sensational Vision Coupe and Kai concepts from the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show, the latter of which more or less morphed into the latest Mazda3 Sport, and is starting to affect the brand’s SUVs like this recently updated CX-5.
The CX-5 has been Mazda’s compact crossover utility since it laid its Ford Escape-based Tribute to rest in 2011, the much more modern Mazda3-based design arriving in January of 2012. The second-generation model seen here came onto the scene in 2017 and integrated much more KODO 2.0 styling into its design than its predecessor, resulting in a much more upscale looking SUV.
The real premium experience happens inside, however, with details like fabric-wrapped A-pillars and a luxuriously padded dash top, upper and lower instrument panel, and door uppers front to back, and then going so far as to trim out the cabin with a tasteful supply of anodized metal accents, this beautifully brushed treatment even decorating some of the switchgear that’s sometimes finished with knurled metal detailing, not to mention real Abachi hardwood in its top-tier Signature trim line. Mine didn’t include the Signature’s dark chocolate brown Cocoa Nappa leather and trim, the latter included on the door inserts and armrests along with the seats, but its Pure White regular leather was impressive nonetheless. It all makes for a rich, upscale environment.
To be clear, despite the luxurious appointments seen inside the SUV in the photos, it isn’t a Signature model, but even this mid-range (third-rung out of four) GT trim line is nicer inside than most competitors top-line trims, albeit devoid of over-the-top premium bits like the Signature’s aforementioned wood inlays that adorn the instrument and door panels, plus the satin chrome-plated glove box lever and power seat switches, higher end cross-stitching detail on the steering wheel, plusher Nappa leather upholstery, a black interior roof lining, a frameless auto-dimming rearview mirror instead of a less elegant framed one, LED illumination for the overhead console lights, vanity mirrors, front and rear room lamps and cargo area light, and a host of upscale features like a nice bright 7.0-inch LCD multi-information display at centre, a one-inch larger 8.0-inch colour touchscreen display, a 360-degree surround parking monitor, front and rear parking sensors, gunmetal finish 19-inch alloy wheels in place of the GT’s silver-finish 19s, an off-road traction assist function to improve its ability on the trail, and the quickest Skyactiv-G 2.5 T four-cylinder engine featuring a Dynamic Pressure Turbo (DPT) good for 250 horsepower (with 93 octane premium fuel or 227 with 87 octane regular) and 310 lb-ft of torque (for 2020 it gains 10 lb-ft to 320 when fuelled with 93 octane), plus paddles for the six-speed automatic transmission.
That’s a really potent powertrain for this class and available optionally for $2,000 in as-tested GT trim (for 2020 the GT with the turbocharged engine also gets paddles, off-road traction assist, and an 8.0-inch colour touchscreen display), although my tester came with the base non-turbo Skyactiv-G 2.5 four-cylinder with fuel-saving cylinder deactivation and no paddles on the steering wheel. So equipped it makes 187 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque, which is around the same as offered by the class sales leaders with their most formidable engines, while I prefer the feel of a regular automatic over those competitors’ continuously variable transmissions (CVT) any day of the week.
Of note, Mazda also offers a 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel powerplant in top-line Signature trim that puts out 168 horsepower and 290 lb-ft of torque, the ritziest CX-5 starting at $40,950 (plus freight and fees) and topping out at $45,950 with the oil burner upgrade, so you’ll need to get the calculator out to see how long it’ll take to save $5,000 by using normally cheaper, more efficient diesel fuel. Before you do, however, make sure you check around for available examples, as the diesel feature was only available for the 2019 model year (at the time of writing there were plenty, albeit nowhere near as many as gasoline-powered variants).
I tested it and was impressed, but as much as I like Rudolf’s invention and was plenty happy with its 8.9 L/100km city, 7.9 highway and 8.4 combined fuel economy, the much less expensive, and much quicker turbo-four achieves a very respectable claimed 10.8 city, 8.7 highway and 9.8 combined rating as it is, so it’s no wonder the diesel was discontinued. My GT tester, which comes standard with i-Activ all-wheel drive (AWD) and starts at $37,450, is good for 9.8, 7.9 and 9.0 respectively, while the same engine with FWD that comes standard with mid-range $30,750 GS trim is most efficient with a respective rating of 9.3, 7.6 and 8.5.
Believe it or not there’s a fourth engine available, the 2.5-litre four found in the $27,850 base GX without cylinder deactivation, which performs just as well yet manages just 9.7 L/100km in the city, 7.8 on the highway and 8.8 combined with FWD, whereas that engine with AWD is said to consume 10.2 city, 8.2 highway and 9.3 combined. AWD is a $2,000 option in GX and GS trims, by the way, and standard with the GT and Signature.
There’s absolutely no way I’m going to itemize every feature available in each trim, not to mention the various packages, but being that I tested the GT I should go over its standard kit. Features specific to the GT that can’t be found in lesser trims (yet come standard with the Signature) include the aforementioned 19-inch alloys on 225/55 all-seasons (lower trims include 17-inch alloys on 225/65s), adaptive cornering for the headlamps, LED signatures within the headlights and taillights, LED fog lamps, LED combination tail lamps, power-folding side mirrors, plus piano black B- and C-pillar garnishes, and that’s only on the outside.
Proximity-sensing access lets you inside and pushbutton ignition gets things started (although the latter is standard across the line), while the primary instrument cluster is Mazda’s classic three-gauge design with a decent sized multi-information display in the right-side dial (the 7.0-inch LCD MID is standard in GT trim for 2020), and above that a really handy windshield-projected colour Active Driving Display (ADD) (head-up display) comes complete with traffic sign recognition. Additionally, a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat includes power lumbar support and two-way memory, while a six-way power-adjustable passenger’s seat is included too, as are three-way ventilated front seats, and three-way heatable rear outboard seats.
Back to premium-level niceties, a satin-chrome front console knee pad adds class to the front seating area, as does a fabric-lined glove box and premium stitching on the front centre console, while a powered moonroof adds natural light, a Homelink universal garage door opener adds convenience, accurate navigation got me where I was going, and a 10-speaker Bose audio system upgrade sounded great thanks to an AM/FM/HD radio, seven channels of customized equalization, SurroundStage Signal Processing, Centerpoint 2 surround sound technology, AudioPilot 2 Noise Compensation, and SiriusXM satellite radio (with a three-month complimentary service). Mazda also supplies CX-5 GT and Signature owners with SiriusXM Traffic Plus and Travel Link services (with a five-year complimentary service), as well as dual-zone automatic climate control, air vents on the backside of the front console, and more.
Some other features pulled up to the GT from lower trims include automatic headlight levelling, a front wiper de-icer, radar cruise control with stop and go, a heatable steering wheel, an additional two USB ports in the rear centre armrest, and a bevy of advanced driver assistive systems such as Smart Brake Support (SBS) with forward sensing Pedestrian Detection, Distance Recognition Support System (DRSS), Forward Obstruction Warning (FOW), Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS), Lane-keep Assist System (LAS) and High Beam Control System (HBC) from second-rung GS trim, plus auto on/off LED headlights and LED daytime running lights, LED turn signal indicators on door mirrors, rain-sensing intermittent wipers, an electronic parking brake, dual USB ports and an auxiliary audio input, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Aha and Stitcher internet radio, SMS text messaging read and respond function, as well as all the expected active and passive safety systems from the base GX. There’s plenty more, but I’ll leave something for you to discover.
The CX-5 is spacious and comfortable no matter which trim you purchase, with excellent front and rear seating, including ample room for three abreast in the rear row. Legroom and headroom is good too, while the rear outboard heaters are a nice touch, although the controls can’t be accessed if someone’s sitting in the middle position. Now that I’m griping, a bright and airy panoramic sunroof would be welcome in top-tier GT and Signature models.
More important than that is the CX-5’s best-in-class 40/20/40 split folding rear seatbacks with convenient cargo sidewall-mounted release levers. I’m always calling for a centre pass-through and this is an even better solution, because there’s more than enough room for an entire family’s skis, poles and snowboards down the middle while boots, helmets and other gear is stowed in back with rear passengers comfortably occupying each window seat. Once again I bring up the folly of housing the rear seat warming buttons within the folding armrest, where they can’t be accessed when the centre pass-through is lowered. Hopefully Mazda will rethink this decision and relocate the rear seat heater switchgear to the door panels when the model comes up for redesign. On the positive, the CX-5 can load up to 875 litres (30.9 cubic feet) of cargo behind the rear seatbacks and 1,687 litres (59.6 cu ft) when they’re loaded flat, making it one of the roomier compact crossovers in its mainstream volume-branded class.
Mazda tops off all this roomy luxury with performance that comes very close to premium as well, although in my base GT tester I’m not referring specifically to straight-line power as much as ride and handling. The sense of quality starts with well-insulated doors and body panels, so that everything is solid feeling upon closure and nice and quiet once underway, while the ride is firm but never harsh, more akin to an Audi or BMW than a Mercedes or Lexus. Still, that translates into good manoeuvrability around town and better than average agility when pushed hard. Mazda relies on tried and tested engineering to achieve these results, its front suspension made up of MacPherson struts with coil springs and stabilizer bar, and its rear suspension incorporating an independent multi-link setup with coil springs and stabilizer bar.
As noted earlier, the base engine is on par with some of the class leaders’ top powerplants as far as acceleration goes, but more importantly it’s smooth and efficient, while the six-speed automatic transmission was so smooth it made me wonder if Mazda hadn’t adopted a CVT into its drivetrain. Of course, it shifts like a regular automatic when revs climb, and while this is a very good thing that performance fans will appreciate, it once again goes about its business smoothly. While the base GT doesn’t offer paddles, you can shift manually via its console-mounted gear lever, and take note Mazda does provide a Sport mode that certainly gives it more pop off the line and better passing performance, but that’s it for extra drive settings, the default mode taking care of any eco and comfort duties that a driver might otherwise want to select.
Right now is a good time to buy a CX-5, because Mazda is offering up to $2,000 in additional incentives on 2019 models (and plenty of 2019s are available right across Canada), and for those wanting a 2020 CX-5, up to $1,000 in incentives. Make sure to check CarCostCanada for all the details, including itemized pricing of trims, packages and individual options, manufacturer financing/leasing deals, rebate information, and otherwise hard to get dealer invoice pricing that can help you negotiate the best possible deal. Most retailers are available by phone or online, and of course they’re motivated to sell.
All said I highly recommend the CX-5 in this class, especially for those who appreciate the finer things in life, yet would rather not have to pay a premium price.
Few premium models mimic their mainstream volume branded donor platforms so closely as the QX60 does with the Nissan Pathfinder, and by that I’m not talking about exterior styling. Actually, Infiniti…
Few premium models mimic their mainstream volume branded donor platforms so closely as the QX60 does with the Nissan Pathfinder, and by that I’m not talking about exterior styling. Actually, Infiniti does a pretty good job of separating the two at birth. The QX60 gets Infiniti’s trademark grille and snake eyes-like LED headlamps up front, plus its squiggly rear quarter window design, and its thinner, narrower wrap-around LED tail lamps, whereas the Pathfinder certainly looks more traditional SUV-like since its 2017 refresh.
No, the most noticeable similarities are found inside, where the two SUVs are similar in design, layout, and general goodness. See how I did that? You probably thought I was going to say something negative, and while I’d like to see more differentiation between QX60 and Pathfinder cabins, they’re both very good at delivering what people want and need, the QX60 merely stepping things up when it comes to the quality and choice of materials, plus other refinements.
For instance, the QX60 dash top, instrument panel, glove box lid, lower console sides, and front door panels (from top to bottom) are made from high-quality soft-touch synthetics, whereas the Pathfinder leads its class for hard plastics, covering all of these areas except (strangely) for the front door panels that also get the pliable composite treatment all over. The QX60 takes these refinements into the back too, providing soft-touch rear door uppers, while hard shell plastic covers the Pathfinder’s inner doors. Infiniti even goes so far as to wrap all roof pillars in padded cloth, whereas Nissan doesn’t even cover the front pillars, like some close competitors do.
Of course, Infiniti adds some more obvious upgrades to the QX60 as well, such as real maple hardwood replacing the fake stuff, a higher grade of leather with intricate hourglass quilting on the seat inserts and contrasting piping around the edges, at least in my top line Sensory trimmed example, but the dated electronics are pretty well the same except for some digital branding, the primary gauge clusters identical except for Infiniti’s classic purple colouring inside the dials, plus the serrated metallic rims around their edges, this colour treatment carried over to the centre display as well, which incidentally is devoid of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, and while the buttons, knobs and switches that control these interfaces (and everything else) are mostly unique and nicer all-round, they’re laid out in more or less the same fashion.
Along with the rich hardwood and sumptuous leather upgrades, the $4,200 Sensory package adds three-way forced ventilation to the already heatable front seats, while the second-row outboard positions are now heated, and the third row gets a powered return to make loading cargo easier, while accessing the rear luggage area is more convenient thanks to a motion activated power liftgate. Back inside, everyone can enjoy the open airiness of a powered panoramic sunroof overhead, complete with powered sunshades, not to mention a 15-speaker surround-sound Bose audio system upgrade complete with 5.1-channel digital decoding, while they can also appreciate the Advanced Climate Control System (ACCS) that includes auto-recirculation, a plasmacluster air purifier and grape polyphenol filter. Last but not least, the Sensory package improves the QX60’s styling and handling with unique 15-spoke 20-inch alloy wheels on 235/55 all-season tires.
Prerequisites for the new Sensory package are the equally new $5,000 Essential and $4,800 ProActive packages, the first including remote engine start, entry/exit assist for the driver’s seat and steering wheel, rain-sensing wipers, reverse tilt-down side mirrors, two-way power lumbar support for the driver’s seat, two-way driver’s memory with an Enhanced Intelligent Key, a 13-speaker Bose audio system, leather upholstery, Infiniti InTouch infotainment with navigation, lane guidance, and 3D building graphics, voice recognition, an Around View parking monitor with Moving Object Detection, front and rear parking sensors, SiriusXM Traffic, and more.
The ProActive package adds auto-dimming side mirrors, high beam assist, full-speed range adaptive cruise control, distance control assist, active trace control, Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Lane Departure Prevention (LDP), Blind Spot Intervention, backup collision intervention, front pre-crash seatbelts, and Infiniti’s exclusive Eco Pedal.
All of this highfalutin gear gets added to a QX60 that’s already well equipped in renamed base Pure form, and competitively priced at $48,695, thanks to features such as auto on/off LED headlamps, LED daytime running lights, LED fog lamps, LED taillights, roof rails, power-folding side mirrors with integrated turn signals, proximity-sensing keyless access, pushbutton ignition, a heatable leather-wrapped steering wheel, a powered tilt and telescopic steering column, an eight-way power driver’s seat, a six-way power front passenger’s seat, an auto-dimming centre mirror, a HomeLink universal garage door opener, a (regular sized) powered moonroof, micro-filtered tri-zone automatic climate control, an 8.0-inch centre touchscreen with a backup camera, SMS/email display, satellite radio, three USB charging ports, a powered rear liftgate, Predictive Forward Collision Warning (PFCW), Forward Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection (PFEB), Blind Spot Warning (BSW), and more (see all 2019 and 2020 Infiniti QX60 pricing at CarCostCanada, with breakdowns of trims, packages and individual options, plus make sure to look for special manufacturer rebate info as well as dealer invoice prices that could save you thousands).
Some of these features are available with the Pathfinder, incidentally, so it’s not like top-tier trims of the Nissan-badged utility are even remotely spartan, but Infiniti does go further as it should. Where it doesn’t seem to need much differentiation to remain popular is in mechanicals, where the two SUVs utilize the same 3.5-litre V6 and continuously variable transmission incorporating authentic feeling stepped gear ratios. It’s one of the best CVTs on the market, and perfectly suited to these models’ comfort-first focus, although all-wheel drive is standard with the QX60, unlike the Pathfinder that offers more basic front-wheel drive trims as well.
At 295 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque, the QX60’s direct-injection infused V6 also provides 11 more ponies and an identical 11 lb-ft of additional twist over the Pathfinder’s version of the engine, which makes for a bit more energy off the line and when passing on the highway, plus Infiniti massages the CVT with a manual mode in order to extract the most performance from those just-noted stepped gears, not to mention default (a best of all worlds compromise), Sport (that makes adjustments to the engine and transmission to enhance performance), Eco (that adjusts engine and transmission responses to improve fuel economy), and Snow (that controls engine output to reduce wheel spin) driving modes, whereas the Pathfinder pays respect to its more rugged styling by including an “i-4×4” selection on its rotating drive mode selector, this denoting Nissan’s Intelligent 4WD system lets you choose between 2WD, AUTO, and LOCK, the latter for getting out of deep snow, mud, sand, or other types of slippery situations. Nissan’s combination of drive settings is probably best off-road, not to mention its 7.0 inches of ground clearance versus 6.5, but Infiniti’s setup is automated more for slippery conditions and optimized further for pavement, which is where you’re more likely to be driving 99.9-percent of the time.
How do these differences affect fuel economy? The QX60 does very well with a claimed Transport Canada rating of 12.5 L/100km in the city, 9.0 on the highway and 10.9 combined, whereas a fully loaded AWD-equipped Pathfinder is good for an estimated 12.4 city, 9.2 highway and 11.0 combined; more or less the same.
The QX60 also rides on an identical fully independent suspension made up of front struts and a multi-link design in the rear, plus stabilizer bars and coil springs at both ends, but sameness aside it feels more substantive than its lower-priced alternative. It probably comes down to some of the aforementioned soft-touch surfaces quelling noise, vibration, and harshness levels, not that the Pathfinder I recently tested was particularly harsh. Additional sound deadening materials used where the eyes can’t see no doubt play a part as well, but whatever Infiniti did, the QX60 feels more upscale, effectively shielding occupants from the world outside.
This makes its ride feel smoother and more comfortable too, and it very well could be due to suspension tuning, but if there’s a difference it’s very minor. Both are excellent when it comes to coddling occupants in suspension nirvana, no matter the road conditions, while the two SUVs are pretty decent at managing high-speed corners too, as long as you don’t get overzealous in your need to travel from A to B quickly.
A feature I would’ve liked to see Infiniti address more completely is lumbar support, the QX60’s two-way powered system identical to the Pathfinder’s, and not good enough for the luxury sector. They should have at least made a four-way system optional, because as it is you’ll either get sufficient pressure exactly where you need it on your lower back or not, the latter being the case for my five-foot-eight frame and particular pain. A four-way system allows upward and downward movement in order to satisfy all body types and conditions.
Other than this the driver’s seat is quite comfortable and should be large enough for most peoples’ requirements, while second-row seating is very accommodating thanks to plenty of room from side-to-side and the ability to slide each 60/40-split portion fore and aft as needed, plus a comfortable armrest with integrated cupholders in the middle. The third row isn’t the largest or smallest in the class, yet should be sufficient for all but large teens and adults. Better than size, access to that third row comes via Nissan/Infiniti’s innovative seat folding mechanism that lets you keep a child safety seat installed (without the child strapped in) while sliding it out of the way.
Speaking of this, the QX60 could use more child seat latches, particularly in the third row, but on the positive Nissan/Infiniti’s Rear Door Alert system is brilliant. It uses door sequence logic along with an instrument-panel message alert, plus multiple horn honks to remind its driver to check the rear seating area after parking and turning off the ignition. This is an important step towards eliminating child and pet injuries/death after being left behind to suffer in the summer heat of parked cars.
Cargo volume is good, with 447 litres (15.8 cubic feet) available behind the third row, this space made yet more functional thanks to a hidden compartment below the load floor that also houses a removable Bose subwoofer, while up to 1,155 litres (40.8 cubic feet) of gear-toting space can be created by dropping that 50/50-split third row downward via powered switches mounted on each cargo wall. Finally, the 60/40-split second-row seatbacks flip down completely flat via manual levers on their sides, providing a sizeable 2,166 litres (76.5 cubic feet) of maximum cargo volume. Some rivals offer automated second-row seats too, but this setup works well enough and the space provided is very generous.
In the end the QX60 is showing its age, but being a bit older doesn’t necessarily mean it’s outdated. Yes, its instrument panel electronics could use a refresher and I’d like to see more visual separation from the lesser Pathfinder, but it looks good inside and out, is finished in high-quality materials, drives well, and offers seven-passenger luxury SUV buyers a lot of practicality for a very good price. This 2019 model is no different than the 2020 version arriving now, other than its previously noted packages transforming into four trim levels, plus a number of new option packages.
A complete redesign isn’t far away, however, said to be arriving next year as a 2021 model, but if you can’t wait that long this 2019 model, or the new 2020 version, are good choices that drive a hard bargain in the mid-size luxury SUV class, although I expect the upcoming 2021 QX60 to be improved enough not to need a discount.
It might look the same from the outside, but Nissan has nicely updated the 2019 Qashqai despite only arriving on our market two years ago. As noted most changes go unseen, such as the adoption of Intelligent…
It might look the same from the outside, but Nissan has nicely updated the 2019 Qashqai despite only arriving on our market two years ago.
As noted most changes go unseen, such as the adoption of Intelligent Emergency Braking (IEB), Blind Spot Warning (BSW), Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), and Nissan’s smart Rear Door Alert (RDA) system (that reminds if you’ve left something or someone in the back seat), across the entire Qashqai line, while the little utility’s interior now benefits from a new NissanConnect centre touchscreen that’s now 2.0 inches larger at 7.0 inches and features standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, satellite radio, live navigation, plus mobile apps and services, while the base Qashqai also includes a second USB port within the centre console, and Nissan’s useful Divide-N-Hide cargo system in the storage area.
Even more impressive, all of these new features have been added without impacting the base Qashqai S model’s base price that still starts at just $19,998 plus freight and fees, making it the second-most affordable sport utility available in Canada behind Nissan’s own Kicks.
Standard features that continue forward into 2019 and by doing so make the latest Qashqai seem like an even better deal include projector headlamps with integrated led daytime running lights, heated power-adjustable side mirrors with integrated LED turn signals, power windows, power door locks with a switchblade-style remote key fob, an electromechanical parking brake (which oddly reverts to a foot-operated one on S CVT and SV CVT trims), a tilt and telescopic steering wheel, a colour TFT multi-information display, variable intermittent wipers, sun visors with extensions and integrated vanity mirrors, overhead sunglasses storage, micro-filtered air conditioning, a rearview camera that’s now easier to use thanks to the larger centre display, Bluetooth phone connectivity with audio streaming, text message read and response capability, Siri Eyes Free, four-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3/WMA audio with illuminated steering wheel controls, speed-sensitive volume, Radio Data System (RDS), fabric upholstery, two-way Quick Comfort heatable front seats, a rear-seat centre armrest, 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks, a cargo cover, six cargo area tie-down hooks, tire pressure monitoring with Easy Fill Tire Alert, all the expected passive and active safety and security features, plus much more.
The Qashqai is once again available in three trims, the aforementioned base S model joined by the SV and SL, my tester being in the latter. Before delving into its new upgrades, standard features list and various options, the $25,998 SV is a good choice for those not needing the premium-level pampering offered by the SL, thanks to 17-inch alloys replacing the base model’s 16-inch steel wheels with covers, automatic on/off headlights, plus fog lamps, roof rails, remote engine start, proximity-sensing keyless access, pushbutton ignition, high beam assist, rear parking sensors, illumination added to the vanity mirrors, a powered moonroof, a heatable leather-wrapped steering wheel rim, a leather-wrapped shift knob, cruise control, two more stereo speakers, dual-zone automatic climate control, rear passenger air vents, etcetera, while a host of new advanced driver assistance systems get added including enhanced autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, Lane Departure Warning (LDW) with Intelligent Lane Intervention, and Rear Intelligent Braking (R-IEB).
My tester’s top-line SL trim starts at $31,198 yet really helps to make it feel like a mini luxury ute thanks to standard 19-inch alloy wheels, the electromechanical parking brake again (the only trim that mates it to the CVT), a 360-degree Intelligent Around View Monitor, navigation with detailed mapping, voice recognition, SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link, leather upholstery, an eight-way power driver’s seat including two-way powered lumbar, and a front driver’s seatback pocket, while Intelligent Cruise Control (ICC), enhanced rear auto braking with Moving Object Detection (MOD), and ProPilot Assist semi-automated self-driving capability are new to the SL’s standard list.
Lastly, my tester featured the $2,100 SL Platinum Package that includes LED headlights, an auto-dimming interior mirror with an integrated Homelink garage door opener, plus a nine-speaker Bose audio system, and NissanConnect Services.
By the way, all pricing for the 2019 Qashqai, including trims, packages and individual options, was sourced at CarCostCanada, where you can also find money saving rebate info and dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands.
SV and SL models also come standard with Nissan’s Xtronic CVT (continuously variable transmission), not to mention Intelligent Engine Braking, and while this will likely be preferable to the majority of Qashqai buyers you may enjoy the six-speed manual that comes standard in base S trim. I tested it last year and came away smiling, as it’s a well sorted manual gearbox that adds a lot of sport back into this utility’s character, which is more about smooth, quiet, comfort in its higher trims.
I won’t go into too much experiential detail in this garage report, being that we just brought it home from Nissan’s detail team today and haven’t spent anywhere near enough time in it to comment, but this is hardly the first Qashqai at our weeklong disposal so already have a good idea of what we’re about to live through. Suffice to say the 2019 Qashqai SL hasn’t disappointed us thus far, but rather reminded us why Nissan is quickly taking the lead in this all-important entry-level crossover SUV segment.
The Qashqai is Nissan Canada’s second-best-selling vehicle behind the larger compact Rogue, and quite frankly its growth in popularity throughout 2018 has been staggering. Sales were up by 119.2 percent to 19,662 units last year compared to just 8,970 in calendar year 2017, making it tops in its segment and after passing the Subaru Crosstrek that’s been on a 30.2-percent sales surge of its own, albeit with only 14,539 units down the road, while the new Hyundai Kona is close behind at 14,497 deliveries. Interestingly, Mazda’s CX-3 grew sales by 13.8 percent to 12,445 units, while the redesigned Jeep Compass found 46.4 percent more buyers in 2018 for a total of 9,434.
Trending the other way is the once best-selling Honda HR-V that saw its sales fall by 35.9 percent to 9,071 units (although some of this results from a flood in its Mexican plant that shut down operations for quite a while), whereas the recently introduced Toyota C-HR made significant gains of 57.8 percent yet only managed a rather lacklustre 6,819 deliveries, and the entirely new (to us) Ford EcoSport enjoyed its first full year of sales, but found just 6,315 takers.
Moving in the opposite direction, a subcompact crossover SUV segment loser was the somewhat stale Mitsubishi RVR that experienced a sales decline of 17.5 percent to 5,750 units, while the Chevy Trax lost 25.1 percent to post 4,465 deliveries, which is just ahead of the aforementioned Nissan Kicks’ 4,362 sales despite that model’s mid-year arrival. The final two to make gains were the new Kia Niro, in hybrid and plug-in forms, with 2,659 deliveries for growth of 67.2 percent, and the Mini Countryman that’s also available in plug-in guise, and possibly due to this saw its sales rise by 36.9 percent to 2,479 units.
Lastly, the biggest losers are Jeep’s Renegade with a downgrade of 60.4 percent to 1,193 units, and that same model in Fiat 500X form that saw its sales jump off the proverbial cliff by 90.8 percent to a completely pathetic 79 units, despite being a nice little SUV that I quite liked last time I tested it.
The Qashqai makes more sense though. It costs less, and provides a lot more comfort and size. It’s actually quite large for its subcompact SUV class, reason enough for Nissan to slot the Kicks in down below, yet compared to the Rogue it’s a small fry, despite riding on a version of the same chassis architecture, complete with a fully independent front strut, rear multi-link suspension setup with stabilizer bars front and back.
Under the hood is an efficient 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine good for 141 horsepower and 147 lb-ft of torque, while its previously noted CVT drives the front wheels or all four. To reiterate and clarify, base S trim makes the CVT optional, while SV and SL trims include it as standard equipment, whereas AWD is optional with both lower trims and standard with the SL.
As you may have expected the 2019 Qashqai remains a fuel economy leader with a claimed 10.0 L/100km city, 8.1 highway and 9.2 combined with the FWD manual, 8.8 city, 7.3 highway and 8.1 combined with FWD and the CVT, or 9.0, 7.5 and 8.4 with the CVT and AWD.
As usual I’ll wait to talk about driving impressions, interior quality, fit, finish and everything else in my upcoming road test review, although if you just can’t wait go ahead and check out my review of the 2018 Qashqai S with a manual transmission or my review of a top-line 2017 Qashqai SL, which is much the same as this new 2019 version except for a foot operated parking brake and some additional upgrades mentioned earlier in this garage review. Also, enjoy the photo gallery of this 2019 Qashqai SL above…
Audi and Subaru have been named best Mainstream Brand and best Premium Brand respectively in ALG’s 2018 Canadian Residual Value Awards (RVA), an important benchmark used for forecasting future vehicle…
Audi and Subaru have been named best Mainstream Brand and best Premium Brand respectively in ALG’s 2018 Canadian Residual Value Awards (RVA), an important benchmark used for forecasting future vehicle values by auto industry professions.
Now in its 10th year, ALG’s RVA projects future values of new models from 26 separate market segments, ranging from “Alt-fuel” to “Fullsize Commercial Van” and everything in between. There are many ways to measure value, although within the car industry the difference between the initial price paid for a new vehicle and its resale value after three or four years is a key parameter. ALG uses the average ownership duration of four years to determine mainstream volume brand values and three years for premium brands, with the results showing both Subaru and Audi are tops in their respective sectors.
“Depreciation is the single biggest cost of vehicle ownership, and informed consumers understand the importance of resale value when making their purchase decision,” said Eric Lyman, vice president of ALG. “The ALG Residual Value Award is a meaningful achievement in the hyper-competitive automotive landscape. Residual values are a key indicator for the market success of a vehicle, factoring in quality, product execution and brand desirability as primary drivers of ALG’s forecast.”
This is Subaru’s fourth consecutive RVA mainstream brand win, showing an impressive consistency in quality, execution and desirability. This year the brand earned four segment awards, including the Impreza in the “Compact” class, the Crosstrek in the “Subcompact Utility” segment, the Outback in the “Midsize Utility 2nd Row Seating” segment, and the WRX in the “Sportscar” segment.
Other notable mainstream brands include Toyota that dominated SUV and truck segments with five RVAs including the Tundra achieving its eighth consecutive year topping the “Fullsize Pickup” category, the Tacoma at five RVA “Midsize Pickup” class awards in a row, the Highlander winning the “Midsize Utility 3rd Row Seating” segment, the 4Runner in the “Off-Road Utility” class, and the Sequoia earning top marks in the “Fullsize Utility” category. Honda received three RVA segment awards including the Fit in the “Subcompact” class, Accord in the “Midsize” category, and Odyssey in the “Minivan” segment.
Nissan managed two winners including the Rogue in the “Compact Utility” class and Maxima in the “Fullsize” segment, while the only one-off deserving mention is Kia’s Niro in the “Alt-fuel” category.
Audi, which has experienced a dramatic upsurge in new vehicle sales in recent years, achieved four category wins including the A5 in the “Premium Midsize” class, A7 in the “Premium Fullsize” segment, Q5 in the “Premium Compact Utility” segment, and Q7 in the “Premium Midsize Utility 3rd Row Seating” category.
“Audi has emerged in recent years as a contender in the luxury space against top European rivals, finding success with new product entries in the utility space and emphasizing innovative technologies that have resonated well with luxury consumers,” stated an ALG press release.
Mercedes also took home four awards, albeit with two in the commercial sector. The winners included the Metris in the “Midsize Commercial” segment and the Sprinter in the “Fullsize Commercial” category, while its CLA Class took home top marks amongst “Premium Compact” models, and the G-Class achieved the highest score in the “Premium Fullsize Utility” segment.
No other premium brand earned multiple RVAs, but notable mentioned include the Maserati Quattroporte in the “Premium Executive” class, the Porsche 718 Boxster in the “Premium Sportscar” segment, and the Land Rover Range Rover Velar in the “Premium Midsize Utility 2nd Row Seating” category.
Acura’s RDX doesn’t continually gravitate to the top echelons of compact luxury SUV sales leadership by accident. It’s finding upwards of 8,000 Canadian buyers per year, placing it a close second…
Acura’s RDX doesn’t continually gravitate to the top echelons of compact luxury SUV sales leadership by accident. It’s finding upwards of 8,000 Canadian buyers per year, placing it a close second behind Audi’s Q5 year after year.
How does Acura do it? After appealing to aesthetics with styling that pleases the majority of consumers, making sure fit, finish and materials quality are up to par, and delivering big on performance while not forgetting the importance of fuel efficiency in the compact SUV class, it comes down to bang for the buck.
Proving this point, the RDX was one of three Acuras to receive a 2018 Consumer Guide Automotive Best Buy Award, the RDX earning its award in the Premium Compact Crossover/SUV category. Even more significant, this is the sixth consecutive year it achieved the honour.
The other Acuras earning top marks include the larger MDX mid-size luxury SUV, which earned its Best Buy Award in the Premium Midsize Crossover category, and the D-segment TLX sport sedan given its Best Buy Award in the Premium Midsize Car category.
The 2018 Consumer Guide Automotive Best Buy Award selection process once again came down to performance, features, accommodations, fuel efficiency, resale value and price, with the RDX said to be one of the most balanced SUVs on the market.
With a base price of $42,390 plus freight and fees the RDX isn’t the least expensive compact luxury SUV in its segment, but it’s far from the priciest either. More importantly, along with the best rear legroom in its class as well as the most total cargo volume available, the rear seatbacks even folding down via handy levers on the cargo sidewalls, the RDX packs in loads of standard features that cost thousands more when added to its European competitors, such as standard V6 power, AWD, full LED headlights, proximity keyless access, pushbutton ignition, steering wheel paddle shifters, adaptive cruise control, a colour multi-information display, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a multi-angle backup camera, SMS text and email reading capability, Siri Eyes Free, satellite radio, a universal garage door opener, heatable powered front seats with driver’s side memory, a powered moonroof, a powered rear liftgate, and much more.
On top of all these convenience features, its long list of standard safety gear is highlighted by a host of AcuraWatch driver assistance technologies including autonomous emergency braking, lane keeping assist, and the list goes on, resulting in a best-possible 5 Star safety rating from the NHTSA and a top-tier IIHS Top Safety Pick + rating, making the RDX one of the safest compact luxury SUVs available today.
In addition to all the standard features, Acura offers a bevy of RDX upgrades available on two higher-grade trims, the mid-range $45,390 RDX Tech including remote engine start, power-folding side mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, AcuraLink connectivity, navigation with detailed mapping, voice activation, a 410-watt 10-speaker ELS Studio audio system, heatable second-row outboard seats, blindspot monitoring with cross-traffic alert, and more, while the $47,390 RDX Elite adds all of the above plus larger 18-inch alloy wheels, fog lamps, front and rear parking sensors, auto-dimming side mirrors, ventilated front seats, and more.
Of note, the RDX shared its Best Buy Award status with the Lincoln MKC, whereas Volvo’s XC90 was chosen alongside the MDX in its category, and Lexus ES was also given the spotlight next to the TLX.
Plenty of other cars, SUVs and trucks earned 2018 Consumer Guide Automotive Best Buy Awards, so make sure to check out the long list at Consumerguide.com/best-buys.