Mazda CX-5 Akera 2015 review
Craig Duff road tests and reviews the 2015 Mazda CX-5, with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.
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Nissan's crossover SUV has a new name, new body and a new outlook on life. The first iteration, the Dualis, was a solid if unspectacular effort that nevertheless delivered some very impressive sales figures for the Japanese manufacturer.
The Qashqai's body is bigger than the Dualis' in the important directions, but the new outlook is the most important thing - during the Dualis years the market segment heated up, with multiple entrants from all corners of the globe. The Qashqai, as the Dualis is now known, has to be better in many ways.
The petrol-powered Qashqai Ti can be yours for $32,890 with the six-speed manual or $35,390 for the CVT automatic. The only option is $495 metallic paint and a further $495 for premium paint.
As the top of the range model, the Ti has a long list of standard features. The part-leather trimmed interior has dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, powered driver's seat, keyless entry and start, cruise control, sat-nav, fake 'leather' steering wheel and gear selector, park assist, around view cameras, power windows and mirrors, glass roof and rear privacy glass.
The whole car's aesthetic is miles ahead of the Dualis. The 19-inch wheels fill the arches properly, and the car no longer looks top heavy and knock-kneed. The Qashqai is longer but also lower-slung, giving it a better, more balanced visual presence.
Passengers benefit not only from the longer, lower cabin but also from a bit of extra width. There's headroom aplenty even with the glass roof. Sadly, that glass means the cabin can get a bit hot.
Inside is also a huge leap forward, with better materials and overall construction. There's plenty of clever storage around the cabin and the fit and finish is remarkably good. Some of the materials, like the slippery fake leather on the steering wheel, could be a bit better, but the overall feel is high quality.
All Qashqais have a five-star ANCAP rating - six airbags, stability and traction control, ABS, brake force distribution and assist, load-limited front belts and pretensioners and reversing camera.
The Ti adds the around-view camera, lane departure warning, fatigue detection, moving object detection and blind spot warning.
The up-spec Ti replaces the simple and useable interface with a more complex one that adds Facebook and Google integration. The speaker count remains stuck at six, but like its lesser brethren provides perfectly good sound for the masses.
The Facebook and Google stuff is a bit fiddly to get going and requires a download of a Nissan app to get it moving. We struck trouble getting Facebook to activate but given one doesn't want to see ugly baby photos at home, it's probably not a great loss to not have access on the move. If you've got an Android phone, you can also hook up Pandora for your music. Nissan still has some work to do here.
The satellite navigation is reasonably detailed and easy to use and while the seven-inch screen makes it easy to see where you are, the resolution is a little muddy.
Propulsion duties fall to Nissan's MR20 2.0-litre petrol. There isn't a turbo in sight, but variable valve timing and direct injection brings the kilowatt count to 106 (10 more than the diesel) and the torque to 200Nm (120 fewer than the diesel).
Were it not for the CVT, that torque figure would seem a bit anaemic for a 1600kg car, but the rubber band is well-tuned for the Qashqai. Confusingly, it occasionally behaves like a torque converter auto with artificial steps.
Nissan claims 6.9L/100km on the combined cycle – we saw 9.8L/100km, which is significantly higher.
The turbodiesel Qashqai we tested was blighted by a lengthy "spooling" delay, which knocked a dent in our confidence in the car. The petrol isn't similarly afflicted, which made us much happier. It was much more prompt stepping off the line and more responsive from standstill.
The lack of torque compared to the diesel was most apparent in rolling acceleration, with the engine revving much harder and buzzing as the needle stuck fast in the upper rev range. The diesel would blow it away in overtaking and is more relaxed in those circumstances.
The steering is very slow in the Qashqai, which masks a very competent handling feel. The front tyres bite well once you've got the wheel turned far enough and it has a safe feel even without all-wheel drive.
Passengers will appreciate the twin-stage dampers but on particular surfaces the rear can get a little unsettled, bobbing about a bit across high frequency transverse ridges. It's not unduly worrying, but it happens.
The Qashqai really takes it to the competition rather than just playing catch-up. Mazda has good reason to be worried by Nissan's second go. With competitive pricing, good standard gear and comparable quality, the faux off-roader is compelling.
The diesel is a better package, but if you can't stomach the extra cost or the frothy fuel, the petrol does plenty with the outputs it has while being reasonably frugal.
It's a far more coherent car than the Dualis, and that fact alone catapults it into the must-consider list.
|ST (4x2)||2.0L, ULP, CVT AUTO||$13,990 – 21,999||2015 Nissan Qashqai 2015 ST (4x2) Pricing and Specs|
|Ti (4x2)||2.0L, ULP, CVT AUTO||$16,999 – 27,990||2015 Nissan Qashqai 2015 Ti (4x2) Pricing and Specs|
|TL||1.6L, Diesel, CVT AUTO||$17,888 – 26,990||2015 Nissan Qashqai 2015 TL Pricing and Specs|
|TS||1.6L, Diesel, CVT AUTO||$16,887 – 21,999||2015 Nissan Qashqai 2015 TS Pricing and Specs|