Say hi to the new Qashqai

BY Marcus Lim

Nissan’s best-selling crossover gets refreshed

Nissan’s best-selling model in their line-up has just gotten significant enhancements for the 2018 model year. The upgrades focus on four areas – contemporary new exterior design, higher levels of interior quality, improved driving performance, and the addition of new Nissan Intelligent Mobility technologies.

‘Premium Dynamism’ is what Nissan terms the Qashqai’s new look. At the front, the Qashqai gets an integrated new front bumper, featuring more of the car’s body colour and glossy black plastic. Nissan’s iconic ‘V-motion’ grille frames the new Nissan badge — with a traditional badge for the 1.2-litre variant, and a flat finish for the 2.0-litre variant in order to house the Intelligent Emergency Braking (IEB) system’s radar. On either side of the grille, new LED lamps with ‘boomerang’-style daytime running lights (DRL) run across the top of the headlamp assembly.

Viewing the Qashqai from the side, the profile now fits in with the styling of other current-generation crossovers, with a range of new wheel designs in 17-inch and 19-inch sizes. Two new colour choices are also offered, a vibrant Vivid Blue for those who value standing out from the crowd and a classy Chestnut Bronze for those who prefer to remain understated. At the back, a redesigned bumper featuring silver accents fits in well with the rest of the car’s contemporary styling.

Inside the new Qashqai is where the upgrades are most evident to the driver — the interior features higher quality and refinement, while being more driver-oriented. The new flat-bottomed steering wheel is most prominent, providing a sporty feel with the added benefit of facilitating the driver’s entry and exit. Customers that opt for the 2.0-litre variant get additional niceties such as 3D quilted Nappa leather, a memory seat function and powered seats that provide four-way lumbar support for both the driver and front passenger.

Despite being a family car, the Qashqai’s handling has been enhanced, with adjustments made to the dampers, anti-roll bars and Intelligent Ride Control system. A new technology termed Active Return Control also appears on the new Qashqai, allowing the steering wheel to return to centre more naturally and increasing precision while on the move. Comfort remains a priority, with significant improvements to noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) performance — made possible with more sound insulation material, additional sealing around the front doors, and thicker rear door glass.

Nissan Intelligent Mobility (NIM) technologies not only aims to make Nissan drivers feel more confident, but also to enhance road safety. Making its first appearance on the Qashqai is the Intelligent Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection, which uses four cameras to give the driver a virtual bird’s-eye view of the car, as with the Intelligent Emergency Braking system, which helps the driver to avoid (or, if unavoidable, mitigate) collisions using a combination of forward-facing radar and a camera.

These enhancements give the already-appealing Qashqai an added edge over its competitors, such as the Mazda CX-5 and Subaru XV — both of which have also been recently refreshed. Prices for the new Nissan Qashqai start at S$99,800 for the 1.2-litre DIG-T Lite model, with the top-of-the-line 2.0-litre Premium model available at S$121,800.