Nissan Qashqai 2018 review
After enduring a name change for its second generation (it used to be called Dualis), Nissan's Qashqai has maintained its strong popularity among Australian buyers who are switching en masse to SUVs.
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Compact SUVs aren't all created equal and they don't all follow the same path to production. Some, like the Holden Trax, were most definitely a toe in the water. Given it arrived in 2013, the tap had only just turned on and the water slowly warming.
At the time Holden, Ford and Toyota were still very much making cars in Australia, the love affair with the Mazda3 was just getting into its stride and the automotive world was emerging, blinking, from the worst of the GFC.
The Trax's path to production was an interesting one - based on the Barina hatch, GM had a bet each way with its slightly compromised approach.
|Holden Trax 2018: LTZ|
|Engine Type||1.4L turbo|
|Fuel Type||Regular Unleaded Petrol|
For MY17 the Trax went under the knife for a modernising facelift. I quite liked the boxy, eight-bit Super Mario vibe of the original, but it didn't age well. This one is based on the Chevy Trax nose (as opposed to the slightly different Opel Mokka version) and it certainly changed the car. It's a bit more mature, and while out taking photos I was asked by more than a few passers-by what it was.
The new grille is way better than the old, and the whole effect is less bluff-looking. The grille extends a long way down and makes the car look taller - and from the front - bigger than it is. The side profile is unchanged and the rear lights also had a bit of a going over.
Inside got the bigger change, with the quirky motorbike-style instrument pod gone in favour of a more mature dash layout. The old pod was a bit of a laugh, but looked cheap (better material choices could have fixed that) so the new one is a welcome change. The whole dash looks better and feels better made, too - the old glove box lid was dire.
The Trax enjoys the odd but probably welcome distinction of having six cupholders. Front seat passengers get the lions's share, with four - two round and two square. Rear seat passengers get a pair in the rear centre armrest.
Boot space starts at a reasonable 356 litres with the seats up, more than doubling to 785 litres with the seats down. Annoyingly, you have to flip up the seat bases before folding the 60/40 split but the pay-off is a flatter than usual cargo floor.
Passengers will appreciate the reasonable ride comfort of the LS and they're also likely to enjoy the cloth trim. The synthetic leather in the upper models is not bad as it goes, but the cloth is more comfortable and less slippery. Of course, the Trax's oddball inclusion of the 220V power supply continues to surprise and delight (for devices up to 140W).
The LS is a slightly confusing proposition. For some reason the manual comes with a 1.8-litre naturally-aspirated engine with 103kW/175Nm. The auto, as though begging you to avoid the manual, comes with the rather better 1.4-litre turbo with 200Nm.
Our LS auto was priced at $26,490, a $2500 impost over the manual that almost suggests the turbo engine is a freebie. In your LS you'll roll on 16-inch alloys and enjoy cruise control, air-conditioning, reversing camera, remote central locking, rear parking sensors, auto (halogen) headlights, powered and heated mirrors, electric windows all around, cloth trim and a tyre repair kit.
Other technical changes on the auto include rear disc brakes to replace the drums on the manual.
As with every other Trax, the 'MyLink' systems comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay functionality, an inclusion that is curiously absent in most other compact SUVs, the Hyundai Kona excepted. It's a 7.0-inch screen, with decent hardware behind it, USB and Bluetooth connectivity. The six speakers are a bit on cheap side, but do the job.
The 1.4-litre turbo generates 103kW - the same as the 1.8 non-turbo - but adds 25Nm for a total of 200Nm. Critically, both figures arrive lower in the rev range, which results in a lower fuel consumption figure.
Holden claims 6.7L/100km on the combined cycle but as with other turbo Trax variants, I struggled to get the consumption figure into the single digits, with 10.1L/100km the best I could manage over the week.
While the 1.4 is a much more pleasant proposition than the uncouth 1.8, the shortcomings of its jacked-up platform mean it's still a bit of a noisy place to be.
The basic Trax, riding on 16-inch wheels and balloon-like tyres, is a slightly quieter and better-riding machine than the LT or LTZ. In most other ways, though, the LS auto is basically identical. The awkward driving position isn't to my taste or my wife's and we are differently-proportioned - she has short legs, mine are long to fit my modest 180cm frame. The difficulty is a result of the Trax's expedient birth from the Barina platform. Some things couldn't be manoeuvred for the best and so the relationship twixt pedal and steering wheel is a little strained.
The steering itself isn't bad and you can't fault the view out - the upright side glass and big windscreen mean the road is yours to survey at a sensible rather than dizzying height, with the high-set seat and cathedral...okay, chapel-like roof.
3 years / 100,000 km warranty
ANCAP Safety Rating
The LS is equipped with six airbags, ABS, stability and traction controls, reversing camera, three top-tether anchorages and brake assist.
Only the top end LTZ has reverse cross traffic alert and blind spot monitoring. None of them have AEB, which is fast becoming mandatory, even as an option, in the segment.
At the time of writing, Holden was offering a seven year/150,000km warranty as a temporary replacement for its standard three year/100,000km deal.
Holden wants to see you for servicing every nine months or 15,000km and will throw in a year of roadside assist if you service the car with them. Prices are capped for the first seven services, costing between $249 and $429 depending on the service.
The bottom line is that the entry-level Trax might actually be the best. Forget the 1.8 manual if you can stretch to the auto, it's a much better car and less tiring to drive in every way. The LS has all of the good things (apart from the LTZ's more advanced safety gear) the Trax has to offer in a more competitively-priced package.
|LS||1.8L, ULP, 5 SP MAN||$14,400 – 20,240||2018 Holden Trax 2018 LS Pricing and Specs|
|LS (5YR)||1.4L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO||$13,600 – 19,690||2018 Holden Trax 2018 LS (5YR) Pricing and Specs|
|LT||1.4L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO||$14,700 – 20,680||2018 Holden Trax 2018 LT Pricing and Specs|
|LT (5YR)||1.4L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO||$16,900 – 23,540||2018 Holden Trax 2018 LT (5YR) Pricing and Specs|
|Price and features||7|
|Engine & trans||6|