2017 Nissan Qashqai SL AWD
By Bob Cowan
As if todays SUV’s aren’t common enough, here comes the Nissan Qashqai. Qashqai!! If I had a dollar for every SUV named after a nomadic Persian tribe from the Zagros Mountains of Iran…ok, that might be unique but I feel like I’ve seen this thing before. By the way if you only buy vehicles you can pronounce it sounds like Cash-Kye.
The name being introduced to Canadians has been around in other world markets for a decade but if you’re cross border shopping you’ll see this version in the mall parking lot as the Rogue Sport.
Qashqai vs. Rogue
That’s pretty much what it is in a slightly smaller package. This gives Nissan customers something in between that SUV and the funny looking little CUV Juke. Nissan actually refers to all of these as MAV’s for Multi-Activity-Vehicle
Qashqai vs. the rest
What’s it stacked up against? This is a direct competitor to our last test drive – the Toyota C-HR as well as the Mazda CX-3, Honda HR-V, Chevrolet Trax, Buick Encore, Jeep Renegade and Subaru Crosstrek just to name a few of the top contenders in the crowded SUV category. SUV’s represent a full 40 per cent of the automotive market in Canada now. At the same time of the planned shift to electric models, manufacturers are also redirecting resources to get their share of that market. Ford’s new CEO has taken billions out of its car division to develop new SUV’s and trucks. People love em’ for various reasons from cargo space to ground height to whatever and you probably do too since you’re reading this. So here’s what’s to love and what not to love about this new offering.
Under the hood
What you see is what you get. The 2.0 litre four cylinder is the only choice and about the most common offering you’ll find in vehicles this size. It delivers 141 hp and 147 lb-ft of torque. There is a six speed manual available for the bare bones Qashqai but my SL AWD test unit as well As all other versions comes with Nissan’s Xtronic CVT. It’s a noisy and high revving as any other CVT getting up to speed but the performance otherwise is decent. As mentioned my test unit was the all wheel drive version so there is a slight fuel economy penalty right off the bat but at 9.7 L/100km I was getting somewhat worse than its rating of 8.4 L/100km. Not the best fuel numbers in the segment.
The Qashqai is a fun little crossover. Its turning radius is not the tightest (11.5 m) but it feels nimble with great handling. The four wheel independent suspension with front struts and mult-link rear suspension with stabilizer bars front and rear take on the road with smooth confidence. The ground clearance is just under 7.5 inches so no, it’s not a Land Rover, take the bridge instead of the river. It will do fine however on any cottage bound bumpy roads. The cockpit has a snug feel to it and is nicely laid out for ergonomics. I like how the centre is designed. It dips lower where the cup holders are so you’re not elbowing your tall travel mug.
What to pack?
Utility and cargo space are big factors driving people to SUV’s and the Qashqai does have an edge here over some of the aforementioned competition. The Qashqai also has Nissan’s Divide-N-Hide® Cargo System. That false floor was in my SL tester and is also available in the SV trim level. The Qashqai may be shorter than it’s Nissan sibling Rogue in wheelbase and overall length there is not a big sacrifice in legroom or space for your stuff.
With the backseats folded down, there’s 1,730 L of cargo. There is no power lift gate available, even in my top of the line tester which would have been nice. That back hatch is extra wide too which can avoid some four letter words while at the Ikea loading dock.
Qashqai has the same infotainment system that’s been around with Nissan for awhile, not that there’s anything wrong with that. Nissan Connect has improved mobile app compatibility and has added integration with Iphone’s Siri for calls, texts and calendar items. The Navigation is average but at least it’s available in the higher trim level. Some manufacturers have opted to leave it out in similar vehicles to keep the price down saying millennial drivers use their phones for that more often.
There are many choices here. Starting from the bottom msrp of 19,998 cdn You get a manual transmission with front wheel drive and a base trim that’s not awful for the price. The steel wheels look cheap but the standard equipment list is pretty good. It includes heated seats and a rear view camera.
The S trim level comes with the CVT for $21,998 and an all wheel drive version for $24,198 with bigger and nicer 17 inch alloy wheels and cruise control.
The SV AWD level is $2,600 more but adds fog lamps, power moon roof, remote start, dual zone temperature control and heated steering wheel.
My SL Platinum tester seen in the pictures has standard all wheel drive, 19 inch alloy wheels, navigation and 6 way power leather seats It also has a great 360 degree cameras.
I know a penalty comes with the heavier all wheel drive but I was underwhelmed with the fuel economy with my foot and this tester. On paper it delivers a combined city/hwy of 8.4 L/100 km for the all wheel drive. 7.3 for the Xtronic front wheel drive.
From paper to the 401 my mileage in the SL AWD averaged 9.7
Great size and fit for single drivers and small families. Fun to drive and I’m impressed how many features you can load into the Qashqai and keep it under $30 k.
2017 Nissan Qashqai SL AWD
2.0 L 4 cyl. 141 hp. 147 lb./ft. torque
City/Highway 8.4 L/100km
As tested $29,498