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Nissan Qashqai 2023 review: Ti

The Qashqai conforms to Nissan's distinctively ‘sharp’ design direction. (Image: James Cleary)

It’s a new-car wishlist composed by thousands of Australian family car buyers every year. I want something compact, good looking, economical and safe that doesn’t cost the earth to buy and run. 

The type of vehicle most often chosen to fit that bill is a small SUV, and in 2022 MG’s keenly priced ZS streeted a field of more than 20 high-quality contenders under $40K.

Headline new arrivals during the year included Honda’s third-generation HR-V and Toyota’s much-anticipated Corolla Cross. Which means this hotly contested segment continues to bubble away and the subject of this review, Nissan’s just-released fourth-gen Nissan Qashqai, needs to get everything right to make an impact.

Does it have what it takes to capture your family car cash? Let’s find out.

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What does it look like?

Nissan has recently adopted a distinctively ‘sharp’ design direction, with the Qashqai’s angular shape strongly reminiscent of its newly-arrived X-Trail and Pathfinder stablemates.

Myriad hard character lines and creases combine with jagged LED head and tail-lights to create a complex, multi-faceted look. The tall cooling vents on the outer edges of the nose look like they’ve been stolen from Darth Vader’s tie fighter.

The interior isn’t quite as geometric with strategically placed curves softening the dash somewhat, but the overall approach is still best described as busy.

That said, the top-spec Ti features leather ‘accented’ trim across the seats, dash, doors, gearshift and steering wheel. Diamond quilting, contrast stitching and perforated centre panels on the seats lift the tone to a properly premium level.

The Qashqai’s angular shape is strongly reminiscent of its newly-arrived X-Trail and Pathfinder stablemates. (Image: James Cleary) The Qashqai’s angular shape is strongly reminiscent of its newly-arrived X-Trail and Pathfinder stablemates. (Image: James Cleary)

How does it drive?

Maximum outputs from the Qashqai’s 1.3-litre, four-cylinder, turbo-petrol engine (110kW/250Nm) aren’t earth-shattering, but even this flagship Ti grade weighs in at a relatively trim 1.5 tonnes, and performance is more than adequate.

Drive goes to the front wheels through a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) which alters the usual relationship between road speed and engine speed.

Squeezing the throttle for extra up-hill oomph will invariably result in a surge of engine revs without an exactly parallel rise in speed. It’s all about the transmission looking for an optimal balance between economy and acceleration. 

Under the Qashqai’s bonnet is a 1.3-litre, four-cylinder, turbo-petrol engine. (Image: James Cleary) Under the Qashqai’s bonnet is a 1.3-litre, four-cylinder, turbo-petrol engine. (Image: James Cleary)

For those familiar with three-pedal driving it can sound and feel a bit like a slipping clutch. But that’s a factor common to CVTs generally. You soon get used to it, and the Qashqai remains fuss-free around town and on the freeway.

The car is quiet, stable, and feels well planted through the corners. My only criticism is the relatively firm ride.

With a wheelbase under 2.7 metres it’s unrealistic to expect limo-like plushness, but the inevitable bumps and thumps delivered courtesy of our often craggy and cracked roads are more intrusive than in the category leaders.  

How spacious is it?

At around 4.4 metres long, a little more than 1.8m wide and just over 1.6m tall the Qashqai sits squarely within the small SUV footprint.

While not expansive, the driver and front passenger space is more than adequate and the second row is impressive, with plenty of headroom and legroom for me (at 183cm) sitting behind the driver’s seat, set for my position.

Three full-size adults in the back will be a squeeze but a trio of up to mid-teen kids will be fine. Installing a rear-facing baby capsule will mean the front seat(s) giving a bit of ground. 

In terms of boot space, with all five seats upright the Qashqai Ti offers a volume of 418 litres, which is pretty handy for the class. And that increases to 1513 litres with the 60/40 split-folding rear seat down.

  • With all five seats upright the Qashqai Ti offers a volume of 418 litres. (Image: James Cleary) With all five seats upright the Qashqai Ti offers a volume of 418 litres. (Image: James Cleary)
  • The Qashqai Ti comes with a space-saver spare. (Image: James Cleary) The Qashqai Ti comes with a space-saver spare. (Image: James Cleary)
  • There are tie-down anchors in the boot to help keep loose loads secure. (Image: James Cleary) There are tie-down anchors in the boot to help keep loose loads secure. (Image: James Cleary)

 

 

How easy is it to use every day?

Cabin storage is generous in the Qashqai, with decent door bins up front with room for bottles and two large cupholders in the centre console. A lidded storage bin between the seats (which doubles as a centre armrest) includes a handy upper tray and there’s a medium-size glove box.

In the back, there are map pockets on the back of both front seats, modest door bins (closer to over-size bottle holders), a fold-down centre armrest incorporating two cupholders and adjustable air vents with temperature adjust as part of the tri-zone climate control set-up.

There’s a pair of USB ports (type A and C) in the front and back, and 12-volt sockets in the front console and the boot.

Cabin storage is generous in the Qashqai. (Image: James Cleary) Cabin storage is generous in the Qashqai. (Image: James Cleary)

A highlight is the rear doors opening to 85 degrees for super-easy entry and exit. Extra handy when kids are involved.

There are tie-down anchors in the boot to help keep loose loads secure, the power tailgate is hands-free and the Qashqai punches above its weight for towing, able to lug a 1500kg braked trailer. A space-saver spare is also a win compared to the all too common repair/inflator kit.

The Qashqai’s relatively small size also makes it easy to steer in city and suburban areas, and parking is straight-forward for the same reason. If you’d like some help, though, Nissan’s ‘Intelligent Park Assist’ uses the overhead camera view and other sensors to help you get the angles right for parallel and perpendicular parking.

  • In the back, there is a fold-down centre armrest incorporating two cupholders. (Image: James Cleary) In the back, there is a fold-down centre armrest incorporating two cupholders. (Image: James Cleary)
  • There are adjustable air vents with temperature adjust as part of the tri-zone climate control set-up. (Image: James Cleary) There are adjustable air vents with temperature adjust as part of the tri-zone climate control set-up. (Image: James Cleary)

How safe is it?

The Qashqai received a maximum five-star ANCAP rating when it was assessed in October last year. And it’s little wonder because its active (crash-avoidance) and passive (injury-reduction) safety tech is impressive.

It features highway speed autonomous emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian and cyclist detection as well as ‘Junction Assist’, rear cross-traffic alert with AEB, lane keeping assist, ‘Intelligent Lane Intervention’, blind-spot monitoring, traffic sign recognition, active cruise control, rear, side and front cameras, rear parking sensors, a 360-degree overhead view, tyre-pressure monitoring, and more.

If (despite all that) a crash is unavoidable there are seven airbags on-board including full-length curtains and a front centre bag to minimise head clash injuries in the case of a side impact.

There are three top tether points for child seats across the back row, with ISOFIX anchors on the two outer positions. Touch and go to fit three seats or capsules across the rear. It’ll depend on how slimline your particular seats are.

The Qashqai received a maximum five-star ANCAP rating when it was assessed in 2022. (Image: James Cleary) The Qashqai received a maximum five-star ANCAP rating when it was assessed in 2022. (Image: James Cleary)

What’s the tech like?

The Qashqai Ti is on the pace when it comes to in-car tech, with a multi-function head-up display, 12.3-inch multimedia touchscreen, and 12.3-inch digital instrument display on board.

The media system, other car-related functions and ventilation controls are easy to manage via a common sense mix of on-screen buttons and physical dials/switches.

There’s a wireless device charging pad in front of the gearshift but Android phone users will need to plug in to access Android Auto, while Apple devotees enjoy a wireless CarPlay experience.

The 10-speaker Bose audio system (with digital radio) delivers satisfying clarity, while in-built sat nav is included, as is adaptive cruise, and keyless entry and start. 

Inside the Qashqai Ti is a 12.3-inch multimedia touchscreen. (Image: James Cleary) Inside the Qashqai Ti is a 12.3-inch multimedia touchscreen. (Image: James Cleary)

How much does it cost to own?

This top-of-the-range Nissan Qashqai Ti (there are four grades) costs $47,390, before on-road costs, which makes it more than twice as expensive as the segment-leading MG ZS ($22,990 drive-away). 

But its more realistic competition shapes up as the Mazda CX-30 G25 Astina FWD ($43,310), Toyota Corolla Cross Atmos Hybrid 2WD ($46,050) and Volkswagen T-Roc 140TSI R-Line ($45,200).

As you’d expect, for that not insubstantial sum the Qashqai Ti is loaded with standard features including, dual-zone climate control, a head-up display, a 12.3-inch multimedia touchscreen, 10-speaker Bose audio (with digital radio), sat nav, wireless device charging, Android Auto (wired) and Apple CarPlay (wireless), adaptive cruise control, keyless entry and start, plus a 12.3-inch digital instrument display.

Standard on the Qashqai Ti are 19-inch alloy wheels. (Image: James Cleary) Standard on the Qashqai Ti are 19-inch alloy wheels. (Image: James Cleary)

There’s also adaptive LED headlights, LED tail-lights and fog lights, a hands-free power tailgate, ‘Intelligent Park Assist’, partial leather trim (seats, front centre armrest, dash, door trims, gearshift, and steering wheel), heated front seats (with massage function), eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat (with memory), rain-sensing wipers, a panoramic sunroof and 19-inch alloy wheels

That’s a healthy basket of standard fruit in a sub-$50K car, and lines up well relative to the direct competition. Our test Ti was also optioned with two-tone two-tone paint, giving the black roof, for $700.

Nissan’s official fuel economy number for the combined (ADR 81/02 - urban, extra-urban) cycle is 6.1L/100km, the Qashqai’s 1.3-litre turbo four emitting a relatively modest 138g/km of CO2 in the process.

Engine stop-start is standard, although as I suspect 99 per cent of people do, I regularly switched it off. 

The Ti features a panoramic sunroof. (Image: James Cleary) The Ti features a panoramic sunroof. (Image: James Cleary)

Over a week of city, suburban, and some freeway running we averaged 8.1L/100km, which isn’t out of order for the class.

The good news is the Qashqai runs on 91 RON ‘standard’ unleaded and you’ll need 55 litres of it to fill the tank.

Using the official number that translates to a range of 900km, which drops to just under 680km using our real-world number.

Nissan Australia covers the Qashqai with a market-standard five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty, with roadside assistance included for the duration

The Qashqai’s 1.3-litre turbo four emits a relatively modest 138g/km of CO2. (Image: James Cleary) The Qashqai’s 1.3-litre turbo four emits a relatively modest 138g/km of CO2. (Image: James Cleary)

Service is required every 12 months/15,000km, the latter a little shorter than the more common 20,000km.

Capped price servicing is available over a three-year period ($1467), for four years ($2494) and five years ($2916).

That’s not particularly cheap and represents as much as a 93 per cent increase (!) over the previous model. This new engine is shared with Renault, after all.

You get a complimentary wash and vacuum, though, if that helps ease the pain.


The Wrap

The family-friendly pluses far outweigh any negatives for the Nissan Qashqai Ti. It does well dynamically, it’s space-efficient and pleasingly practical. Safety is first class, on-board tech is on the money, and value-for-money is solid.

On the downside the ride is firm, servicing, even on a capped-price plan is relatively pricey. I’m not a CVT auto fan, and Android phone users have to plug in a cable to access Android Auto.

Overall, it’s a strong proposition at the top-end of the under $50K SUV market. The competition continues to heat up.

Likes

Practicality
Safety
Value

Dislikes

Firm ride
Service pricing
CVT auto

Scores

James:

4

The Kids:

4

$33,490 - $53,881

Based on 244 car listings in the last 6 months

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