Clear skies, a mild temperature and not even the slightest breeze… when the weather is good, Cape Town really does show off. Getting to experience it in all its glory from behind the wheel of an equally pleasant and attractive vehicle such as the all-new Nissan Qashqai, makes it that much more enjoyable. Liana Reiners attended the recent media launch and tells more.
When Nissan first introduced the Qashqai here in 2006, it pretty much created the C-segment for crossover vehicles. As a result, it was initially met with great buying enthusiasm… which gradually faded into virtual nonexistence as other players joined the fray. Now, with the launch of the third-generation Qashqai, it’s game on and I’m willing to bet good money that the proverbial applecart is about to get very upset.
With its fresh and modern styling, the newcomer is very handsome indeed. More muscular and sharper in exterior design, the all-new Qashqai features a bigger front grille, as well as slim LED matrix headlamps with new boomerang daylight running lights that enhance its imposing stance and presence. Combine this with premium packaging that doesn’t compromise on performance and function, and you get a vehicle that is comfortable, capable and great fun to drive. This we learned on the launch route which took us on a very scenic drive along some of the best roads in and around Cape Town… including the iconic Chapman’s Peak Drive.
The Qashqai is available in three grades – 1.3T Visia MT, 1.3T Acenta (Xtronic) and 1.3T Acenta Plus (Xtronic). All three are powered by a more than adequate 1.3-litre, four-cylinder petrol turbo engine with 110kW available at 5 500rpm and 250Nm of peak torque on tap at 3 750rpm. We only sampled the Acenta Plus and, much to my surprise, the CVT gearbox really impressed. It was remarkably smooth and quiet, and I’ll even go as far as to say that it is one of the best CVT’s I’ve come across. The claimed fuel consumption figure is 6 litres/100km in a combined cycle.
I was equally impressed by the Qashqai’s interior, which oozes elegance and driver comfort. Engineered with purpose, function and quality in mind, it is intuitively and practically laid out and all controls are within easy reach of the driver. Quality finishes abound and the seats are covered in full Napa leather with quilted fronts. I’m sure the heating function will be most welcome in colder weather.
There’s a decent amount of space, even for rear passengers, and with all the seats in position, boot space is a respectable 540 litres. This can be extended to a maximum of 1 593 litres when both rear seats are folded down.
The NissanConnect suite of features has also undergone an evolution, and now offers a more connected service with the latest and greatest in audio technology, connectivity, and mobile integration. Speaking of technology, the all-new Qashqai boasts numerous leading-edge features, including Nissan’s award-winning Autonomous Driving Level 1 (Nissan ProPILOT), Predictive Front Collision Warning and Lane Keep Assist – to name just a few.
The Qashqai also delivers an intuitive and protective driving experience through the Driver Attention Alert (DAA) system – which is intended to address potential driver fatigue and inattention. If the system detects driving behaviour consistent with a drowsy driver, it uses an audible chime sound and displays an amber coffee cup with a message reading, ‘Take a break?’ in the vehicle’s information display.
The innovation doesn’t end there, though. At the launch of the new Qashqai it was also announced that Nissan’s e-POWER drivetrain will become available in SA in early 2023.
Model Line Up & Pricing
- Qashqai 1.3T Visia MT: R568 200
- Qashqai 1.3T Acenta (Xtronic): R644 800
- Qashqai 1.3T Acenta Plus (Xtronic): R670 600
*All Qashqai models come standard with Nissan’s 6-year/ 150 000km warranty and a 3-year/90 000km service plan.