Review: 2018 Nissan Qashqai SV

You’re likely wondering why I am reviewing a 2018 vehicle in 2019. The reason is simple. I’ve been driving this vehicle for about two weeks now and I have to admit that I think that Nissan has something intriguing here with the Qashqai SV. In fact it was intriguing  that I wanted to do a write up about it. Now it wouldn’t be fair to do my usual five part review on a vehicle that’s a year old. Thus I’m going to do a single part overview on it.

 

 

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The first thing that I thought of when I saw it for the first time was that it looked like a smaller scale Rogue. It looked good so and as a result the Qashqai looks good. And if you are wondering what Qashqai means, here’s a Wikipedia article on the Qashqai people. And for you Americans who are reading this and wondering why I am calling this vehicle the Qashqai, it’s called the Rogue Sport in your corner of the universe because I am guessing that the association between the name Qashqai and the county of Iran might have been a problem.

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This is the 2.0-liter DOHC 16-valve 4-cylinder that powers the Qashqai. It puts out 141 HP and 147 lb-ft of torque. But to be completely honest, you’d never know it as this thing really leaps off the line and has lots of power whenever you need it. The engine drives all four wheels and uses Nissan’s Xtronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) with manual shift mode. Now this is my first look at a CVT in years as I test drove a Saturn Ion coupe back in the 2000’s which had one of these under the hood. And to be frank it was horrible as it had a motorboat feel and sound to it. As a result, we didn’t buy that car. That’s not the case here with the Qashqai as for the most part, if nobody told you that this was a CVT, you’d likely never clue in. One thing that the CVT does is deliver great fuel economy. I got 9.2 L/100 KM under my watch in mixed city and highway driving.

Handling is great for the most part. The suspension is firm and ensures that body roll is well controlled and that you feel what the Qashqai is doing underneath you as well as giving it a bit of a sporty feel. However, the catch is that the Qashqai isn’t exactly compliant over rough roads as you may feel said roads a bit too much, which is code for that the suspension can crash over some bumps. Thus a test drive that includes rough roads would be in order to make sure that it is something that you could live with. Road noise is well muted and engine noise is well muted except under hard acceleration. The pedals are easy to modulate and braking is great.

As for the interior, this is a great place to be. Here’s why:

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The drivers seat is pretty good with grippy cloth seats with decent bolstering. The seats in the front are heated.

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The doors have good sized pockets with easy to use controls and soft touch materials that are broken up with chrome and glossy piano black materials.

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The button placement that’s left of the steering wheel is a bit weird. There’s a button for the heated steering wheel for example that’s in an awkward to reach place. Ditto for the eco button. Both could placed in an easier to reach location. The reason why I am pointing this out is that these buttons would be used somewhat frequently. Thus they should be in an easy to reach location.

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The gauges are easy to read for the most part. Though as you can see it is prone to glare. Between the two gauges is a TFT screen that you can customize to show the info that you need to see.

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The steering wheel is “D” shaped and leather wrapped. It feels good in your hands and is heated. You also get the controls for the infotainment system and cruise control.

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The infotainment system is kind of old school. It has a CD player and talks to your iPhone or Android phone via USB or Bluetooth. It plays nicer with the iPhone as it’s designed to interface with an iPhone and browse the music that’s on it. It’s not a touchscreen, nor does it have Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. The good news is that the 2019 variant does. Below it is a dual zone climate control system.

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There’s a USB port, and Aux port, and a 12V outlet below the HVAC system, and a cubby for your phone.

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The shift knob is leather wrapped an is surrounded by a piano black finish that is a bit of a fingerprint magnet. There’s two cupholders, a small cubby and the switches for the heated seats.

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The cupholders pass the Starbucks Venti test. Though the cup feels loose which makes me wonder what would happen if I did some “spirited” driving.

 

 

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A cloth covered storage area double as an armrest.

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There’s a decent sized glovebox.

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There’s also a decent sized power moonroof.

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The back seats are actually pretty roomy. I managed to take two adults back here and they were comfortable during the 30 minutes that they were in the Qashqai. And I didn’t have to adjust my seat which is usually pretty far back because I am 6 feet tall.

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There’s a HVAC vent for the rear seat passengers.

 

 

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The rear cargo area is configurable. Besides the 60/40 folding seats, you can divide the cargo space and use the space for storage.

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There’s a handle that allows you to close the hatch without getting your hands dirty.

In terms of safety gear, the SV trim level is a good value because it comes with the following:

  • Intelligent Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection
  • Blind Spot Warning
  • Rear cross traffic alerts
  • Power Moonroof
  • Front air bags with occupant-classification sensors.
  • Driver and front-passenger seat-mounted side-impact supplemental air bags
  • Supplemental air bags with rollover sensor for side-impact head protection for front and rear-seat outboard occupants
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) with individual tire pressure display and Easy-Fill Tire Alert

All of that is more than what a lot of cars come with. And you can up the content level further by going up to the the SL trim level which adds ProPILOT Assist which is Nissan’s semi-autonomous driving system, The ProPilot Assist system brings the vehicle to a complete stop if the car ahead does, and then starts moving again if the vehicle in front starts moving within three seconds. If the stop is longer, the driver has to tap the throttle or hit the cruise control button to activate the system again. When driving, the system also monitors the steering wheel and the little nudges that indicate that the driver’s holding it. If this isn’t detected after a specific period, the system sends warnings that increase in intensity. Keep your hands off long enough, and the car will eventually slow down and stop. It also Nissan’s Intelligent Around View Monitor which gives you a 360 degree view of the vehicle and what is around it. Plus there’s additional option packages to get LED headlights among other items. Which I would recommend that you get the LED lights as the halogens that come with this vehicle are only adequate.

Two things that I would like to note. The first is the blind spot monitoring system. One thing that I liked was this:

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When something is in your blind spot, this light which is on the A pillar lights up. Having this light in this location means that it is more likely in your field of vision and is more likely to be noticed. I saw something similar in Volvo vehicles that I have previously reviewed and I really liked it then, just like I do now. Now one thing that I didn’t like was the fact that the blind spot monitoring only detected objects that were already in your blind spot. It did not detect vehicles that were approaching your blind spot which may be a threat. If it did, it would make the blind spot monitoring more useful.

The second thing that I noted was that the emergency braking system had a tendency to activate randomly which was very unsettling. I attribute this to the system in need of service.

Let me go back to the value part of this review to wrap this up. The Qashqai SV for 2019 goes for $26,198 (the base price is $20,198) which given the content that it comes with out of the gate is a great value. For those who want to cross shop it, the Mazda CX-3, Jeep Renegade, Honda HR-V, and the Hyundai Kona would be competitors that spring to mind. While it wasn’t perfect, I was pleasantly surprised by it and if you are in the market for a sub-compact crossover, the Qashqai has to be on your shopping list. Especially in the SV trim. 

 

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