Test all limits in the Nissan Navara
Test all limits in the Nissan Navara

Nissan Qashqai Midnight Edition

Some say that Nissan invented the crossover segment when they introduced the Juke many moons ago. What we didn’t expect was the immense popularity of said segment. Today the compact crossover/SUV segment is hot property and manufacturers need to constantly be at the top of their game to attract buyers. One of Nissan’s popular offerings in the Qashqai which has just received a new styling package called the Midnight Edition.

While not a hardcore off-road vehicle the Nissan Qashqai does offer some form of utilitarian practicality thanks to its SUV like design and 182mm of ground clearance. Unfortunately, this specific model is void of any four-wheel-drive system but still quite capable on a gravel road.

So what does the Midnight Edition offer? 

For starters, the Nissan Qashqai Midnight Edition features a black roofline, black wind 19” alloy wheels and gloss black mirror caps which contrast rather well against the white paint of our test unit. There are also black roof rails and darkened front bumper inserts which will ensure that you will be the centre of attention from a distance. The darkened V-Motion grill adds a high sense of style to the mix as well.

Changes on the inside include black air vents and gear knob, Alcantara seats and floor mats with red “Qashqai” stitching. These elements blend well with what is actually a rather well put together interior. The quality is noteworthy as is the technology on offer. Nissan made certain that the technology advancements meet the always on the go urban consumer with the Android Auto/Apple CarPlay and infotainment with onboard navigation, so you never miss a beat behind the wheel.

The Qashqai Midnight Edition is also kitted out with the latest in Nissan Intelligent Mobility. Features like Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection and Forward Collision Warning will assist to easily anticipate the unexpected. Further highlighting Nissan’s safety priority, the Midnight Edition includes Forward Emergency Braking, Blind Spot Warning and Cross Traffic Alert so you can rest assured that technology is helping you remain at ease as you take on the urban jungle.

Now, it’s not all romantic city lights at midnight. There is one dark corner which just got under my skin and that is the engine and gearbox combination. Powering the Nissan is a 1.2-litre turbocharged 85kW/165Nm petrol engine which is mated to a CVT gearbox. While the combination might not sound all that bad in how it executes its main task of forward propulsion is somewhat questionable.

The Qashqai suffers from unacceptable turbo-lag. Pull away and the car moves forward as if reliant only on gravity. By this time your foot is flat on the floor, people behind you have started to hoot and just when you think all hope is lost the rev needle reaches 1750rpm and all of its power is dispensed, a quick adjustment of your right foot can remedy the violent acceleration but don’t take it off to much as you will fall back under 2000rpm and into a zone of no power. It can get frustrating at times, and I found myself having to drive heavy-footed to just get going which didn’t help my fuel economy at all.

It is a pity about the motor and its initial throttle mapping as once it gets going, once you manage to get up to your desired speed it is indeed lovely. The ride is comfortable, quiet and the cabin is spacious. The whole car is actually really such a nice thing. The addition of the design enhancements made by the Midnight Edition package has elevated the Qashqai despite this specific generation being somewhat long in the tooth now.

My advice is that if you are indeed keen on this vehicle then go for a test drive as my fairly discerning colleague and publisher, Anton, didn’t seem to mind the engine as much as I did!

 Nissan Qashqai 1.2T Midnight Edition: R480 800

*Further highlighting the evolving demand for crossovers, Nissan will be introducing another player in their crossover/SUV segments with the launch of the Magnite in early 2021. From what we are seeing so far, it is set to become a popular option in this highly contested segment.

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