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Nissan Qashqai 2020 review

A 2020 Qashqai update has seen Apple CarPlay and Android Auto added across the range.
EXPERT RATING
7.3
The Nissan Qashqai is hugely popular, and the 2020 update has made a good car better - but there's something you should know before you buy and it might make you wait.

It’s lucky cars aren’t as bad as the names they’re given because the Qashqai would be a shocker. Fortunately, the Qashqai is a good small SUV and this latest update has made it even better... and safer.

So, what’s so new about the 2020 Qashqai? What’s good about it and what could still be improved. Finally, there’s something else you should know, and it might make you want to wait longer before you do buy a Qashqai.

Nissan Qashqai 2020: N-SPORT
Safety rating
Engine Type2.0L
Fuel TypeRegular Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency6.9L/100km
Seating5 seats
Price from$35,000

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?   7/10

The entry-point into the Qashqai range is now $27,990 (an increase of $500 over the previous car) and that will get you into the ST with a manual gearbox, while the auto (CVT) is $29,990.

That ST is the only grade which comes with a manual, the rest are all autos with the ST+ listing for $31,990, then the ST-L for $34,000 and at the top-of-the-range is the Ti for $38,490.

A limited-edition N-Sport version sits between the ST-L and Ti and lists for $35,000, but there are only 600 being made.

As for what’s new, that’s simple – Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility is now standard across the range. The ST+ also now has rain sensing wipers and auto headlights. The rest of the new features are safety items which we’ll cover in that section below.

Along with the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, standard features on the ST include a 7.0-inch screen with rear view camera, front and rear parking sensors, six-speaker stereo, cruise control, cloth seats, push-button start, LED running lights, halogen headlights and 17-inch alloy wheels.

The 7.0-inch touchscreen comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The 7.0-inch touchscreen comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Step up to the ST+ and you’ll gain all the ST’s features plus sat nav, privacy glass, fog lights, and power- folding heated wing mirrors.

The ST-L has all of this, but adds leather and cloth seats, heated front seats, roof rails, and 18-inch alloy wheels.

At the top-of-the-range is the Ti and this grade unlocks more features on top of the ST-L’s including 19-inch alloys, adaptive LED headlights, panoramic sunroof, dual-zone climate control, power adjustable driver and front passenger seat, adaptive cruise control, and leather seats.

The 2020 update also saw a special edition N Sport Qashqai released for a list price of $35,000. The N Sport has all the ST-L's features and adds 19-inch alloys, body-coloured front and rear bumpers with a matt silver trim, side skirts, body-coloured wheelarches, silver mirror caps, black headliner and an N-Sport badge to make sure everybody knows. 

The special edition N Sport Qashqai wears 19-inch alloy wheels. The special edition N Sport Qashqai wears 19-inch alloy wheels.

Is it good value? Well you can get into an entry-grade Kia Seltos with all the advanced safety features in the Ti for $25,990 drive-away. A Honda HR-V is also more affordable with a start price of $24,990.

I’m afraid the answer to that initial question then is, no. The Qashqai is not good value in comparison to the Seltos or Honda HR-V.

How practical is the space inside?   8/10

Space and usability are two of the Qashqai’s strengths. For an SUV that is only 4.4m long, and for me at 191cm tall to be able to sit behind my driving position with room to spare is excellent. Headroom back there is good, too, even in the Ti which has a sunroof which eats into the ceiling.

Cabin storage up front is pretty darn good with a large and deep centre console bin, big door pockets and two cup holders; while the rear seats have door bottle holders and a tray in the rear of the front console. The ST-L and Ti come with a fold-down centre armrest in the back with two cupholders.

  • Space and usability are two of the Qashqai’s strengths. Space and usability are two of the Qashqai’s strengths.
  • Rear head and legroom are excellent in the Qashqai. Rear head and legroom are excellent in the Qashqai.

The 430L boot is one of the largest in the class (Seltos has a 433L cargo capacity). There’s also another large storage level under the boot floor in the Ti.

Getting in and out of the Qashqai is helped by a raised ride height and large doors that open wide.

  • Boot space is rated at 430-litres with the rear seats in place. Boot space is rated at 430-litres with the rear seats in place.
  • Fold the back seats and luggage capacity grows to 1598-litres. Fold the back seats and luggage capacity grows to 1598-litres.

Is there anything interesting about its design?   8/10

Another strength of the Qashqai is its good looks – tough, yet pretty, with a rounded snub nose and muscular rear haunches.

No changes to the styling for this 2020 update inside or out, which is a shame because the cabin is beginning to date with the small screen and dash design. Still the interior is stylish with well laid out controls.

Another strength of the Qashqai is its good looks. Another strength of the Qashqai is its good looks.

As you’d expect, the Ti’s interior is the plushest, with quilted leather seats and the huge sunroof, but even the entry grade ST with the leather clad steering wheel has a premium feel.

How big is the Qashqai? It’s a big-small SUV in that at 4394mm end-to-end it’s 10cm longer than a Honda HR-V and about 2.0cm longer that a Kia Seltos, but about the same width and height as both at 1806mm across and 1595mm tall.

All Qashqai’s come standard with alloy wheels, so no hubcaps here like you’ll see on the entry-grade Seltos.

There have been no changes to the styling for this 2020 update inside or out. There have been no changes to the styling for this 2020 update inside or out.

Telling each Qashqai grade apart is easy once you know the ST doesn’t have foglights, while the ST+ does but doesn’t get the roof rails you’ll see on the ST-L or its 18-inch alloys. The TI can be spotted in the wild by its big 19-inch rims and the sunroof. See? Easy… sort of.

There are seven colours to choose from including 'Magnetic Red' and 'Pearl Black', but only the 'Vivid Blue' (the colour of my car in the video) is the only no-cost hue. The other premium paint colours are $595.

What's it like to drive?   7/10

The Qashqai is one of the most affordable Nissan SUVs, but I think it’s up there with the best to drive, second only to its bigger sibling the X-Trail.

Here’s why. The ride is comfortable and composed, the steering is accurate and has good feel to it and the handling (for a small affordable SUV) is great.

The acceleration feels a bit disappointing and you might think the engine is ‘gutless’. The acceleration feels a bit disappointing and you might think the engine is ‘gutless’.

You’ll like the extra security the height gives you along with the good visibility, and you’ll like the size in terms of ease of parking, too.

What you might notice is that acceleration feels a bit disappointing and you might think the engine is ‘gutless’ for want of a better word. It’s not the engine, it’s something else. Read on to find out.

All Qashqais are front-wheel drive, but a decent 188mm ground clearance means they’ll handle gravel roads without fear of damaging the underside.

The Qashqai is one of the best Nissan SUVs to drive. The Qashqai is one of the best Nissan SUVs to drive.

The launch of this updated version had us driving on about 50km of gravel and dirt roads, and sure, if the Qashqai had all-wheel drive it would have kept the car from sliding around on the loose rocky surface a bit, but we had no problems with clearance.

The Qashqai's braked towing capacity is 1200kg.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?   6/10

All Qashqais have the same engine – it’s a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol which makes a reasonable 106kW of power and 200Nm of torque.

As I mentioned in the driving section the engine isn’t at all gutless, I’ve driven SUVs and cars with the same torque and less power with better acceleration. It’s the continuously variable transmission (CVT) in the Qashqai which causes the lackluster acceleration.

The Qashqais is powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder making 106kW/200Nm. The Qashqais is powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder making 106kW/200Nm.

You’ll notice this lack of oomph particularly on hills and when you need to overtake. Some carmakers are now producing CVTs which do provide better acceleration, but Nissan’s isn’t one of them.

On the plus side CVTs are good for fuel economy, which is what we’re about to discuss.

How much fuel does it consume?   7/10

Nissan says the Qashqai with its four-cylinder petrol engine and CVT auto will use 6.9L/100km over a combination of open and urban roads. That’s pretty good and better than the ST with its manual gearbox which officially does a best of 7.7L/100km.

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

5 years / unlimited km warranty

ANCAP Safety Rating

ANCAP logo

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?   7/10

The Qashqai was awarded the maximum five-star ANCAP rating when it was tested in 2017.

The ST+ has come out well in this update, not only did it score Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but the amount of standard advanced safety equipment increased, including blind spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert.

While all Qashqais come with AEB as standard the top-of-the-range Ti ALSO picked up AEB with pedestrian detection in the update.

Forward collision warning and lane departure warning ARE also standard on all Qashqais.

For child seats you’ll find two ISOFIX points and three top tether anchor mounts.

A space saver spare wheel in under the boot floor.

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?   8/10

The Qashqai is covered by Nissan’s five-year,/unlimited-kilometre warranty.

Servicing is recommended annually or every 10,000km and is capped at $226 for the first service, $309 for the second, $236 for the third, $435 for the fourth and $245 for the fifth.

Verdict

The Qashqai is one of Nissan’s best SUVs for the space it offers in such a small package. A good driving experience is short of being great thanks to the CVT auto, and the value could be better.

Now, here’s a spanner in the works for you. A new generation Qashqai isn’t far away, it’s probably about 12 months off and it will have a new look inside and out, have the latest technology, plus we’ll almost certainly see a hybrid version.

If you can hold on, do it, because what’s likely to be an even better Qashqai should be worth the wait. But if you are in market right now, the ST+ is definitely the pick of the bunch. The update has seen it pick up an excellent array of advanced safety equipment.

Note: CarsGuide attended this event as a guest of the manufacturer, with travel and meals provided.

Pricing guides

$32,990
Based on Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)
Lowest Price
$27,490
Highest Price
$38,490

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
N-SPORT 2.0L, ULP, CVT AUTO $35,000 2020 Nissan Qashqai 2020 N-SPORT Pricing and Specs
N-TEC (5YR) 2.0L, ULP, CVT AUTO $36,790 2020 Nissan Qashqai 2020 N-TEC (5YR) Pricing and Specs
ST 2.0L, ULP, CVT AUTO $29,990 2020 Nissan Qashqai 2020 ST Pricing and Specs
ST (5YR) 2.0L, ULP, CVT AUTO $29,490 2020 Nissan Qashqai 2020 ST (5YR) Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7.3
Price and features7
Practicality8
Design8
Driving7
Engine & trans6
Fuel consumption7
Safety7
Ownership8
Richard Berry
Senior Journalist

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