A touch of class
We drove the ST-L grade, which has a subtle touch of class, good use of cabin space and a practical, easy-to-live-with nature. It has several nice touches over the base model, such as heated front seats and door mirrors, electric six-way driver’s seat adjustment, digital radio, a seven-inch colour touch-screen, satellite navigation and 360-degree-view monitoring with moving-object detection.
The Qashqai cabin is one of the roomiest in the compact SUV category. It easily accommodates four adults (or five with a squeeze), with space in the back almost rivalling some medium SUVs, plus a good-sized luggage compartment.
Smart-looking seats in a combination of cloth and leather help give the cabin an upmarket feel, with the front seats providing top-class comfort and support. There is a clinical efficiency to the instrumentation and switches layout.
All-round visibility is good, although the position of the large exterior mirror on the driver’s side can cause a blind spot for shorter drivers. Split-folding rear seats extend the luggage space but a noticeable step in the floor level is created.
Carried over from the previous Qashqai, the naturally aspirated 2.0-litre direct-injection petrol engine is standard across the range, producing a handy 106kW of power and maximum torque of 200Nm. Coupled with the CVT, it provides performance well suited for driving around town and relaxed cruising on the open road, but it doesn’t have a lot in reserve.
Acceleration is a little leisurely, and when pulling up a steep incline a touch more grunt would be handy, as the engine and transmission have to work hard. This is common for basic engines in this category, but some competitors have a higher performance engine option.