Nissan Australia is pleased to announce one of Australia’s favourite SUVs, the Nissan QASHQAI, that just got better with the July release of the Nissan QASHQAI N-SPORT Special Edition.

The QASHQAI is one of Nissan’s most successful models with over 33,200 sold in Australia since June 2014, and 3.3 million units sold globally since 2007. The N-SPORT Special Edition includes on-trend ice chrome accessories and high-contrast 18” alloy wheels enhancing the dynamic styling of the multi award-winning SUV *.

“The QASHQAI N-SPORT Special Edition offers something unique to the highly regarded QASHQAI range. The package includes all the safety, technology and comfort the QASHQAI is known for with accents that add a distinctive flair”. Said Richard Emery, Managing Director and CEO of Nissan Australia.

The QASHQAI N-SPORT is available in the QASHQAI ST, 2.0L Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) and includes $1800 worth of accessories.

QASHQAI ST 2.0L Petrol, 2WD Xtronic CVT $28,490 ^ $25,990#

N-SPORT QASHQAI ST 2.0L Petrol, Xtronic CVT with $1800 worth of extras.

  • Upgrade to 18” alloy wheels 

Ice chrome details including;

  • Front and rear styling plates
  • Front lip finisher
  • Side door sills
  • Trunk lower finisher
$28,690 ^ $26,990#

*Best Small SUV 2014, 2015 and 2016 at the prestigious European What Car? Award.
^Manufacturer suggested retail prices (MSRP) are provided for media purposes only and do not include statutory charges or other on-road costs.
#Offer valid on new models ordered between 1/7/17 and 31/8/17 and delivered by 30/9/17. Premium paint available at additional cost. Excludes government, rental and national fleet customers. Nissan reserves the right to vary, extend or withdraw this offer. Not available in conjunction with any other offer.

My Drive this week was Nissan’s second generation Qashqai, the new name and replacement for the Dualis crossover. We first got the original Dualis all the way back in 2007, and back then Nissan was just feeling out the relatively new crossover category. You can see the results of that labour in the second generation of this car, which arrived on Australian shores a couple of years ago. All wheel drive has now been dropped, with the Qashqai a strictly front wheel drive offering. Only five percent of Dualis buyers were going after all wheel drive, so it’s a pretty prudent decision. The seven seat option box has also been deleted – you’ll now need to go up to the Nissan X-Trail if you want more than five seats.

The car’s design has been refined further, with a sharp and classy look that brings it into line with Nissan’s current design language. The cabin interior has also gotten a good dose of touching-up, with soft-touch materials in places and a reasonable amount of leg room, especially in the front where the seats and steering wheel are quite flexible for adjustment. The back seats are a little stiffer, with a relatively flat back seat bench, although leg room is still adequate. There’s good odds-and-ends storage throughout the cabin, with bottle holders in each door, four cup holders and several other pockets throughout. In terms of cargo space, the storage area at the back can hold 430 litres with the seats up, growing to 1,585 litres with them down. Not bad at all.

The Qashqai is available with two different power plants, a 2.0 litre petrol engine as well as a 1.6 litre turbo diesel motor. The petrol unit produces 106 kW of power and 200 Nm of torque, while the turbo diesel gets 96 kW and 320 Nm. As usual, the petrol engine does better on power while the diesel is more torquey and pulls harder from lower in the rev range. Both engines come with a continuously variable transmission, while a six speed manual is also available with the petrol power plant.

My test car came with the petrol engine and CVT, which made for a very relaxed and smooth combination. The engine provides plenty of power for getting around town and suburban roads, but you’ll need to give it time if you’re shooting for motorway speeds from a standstill. The CVT is smart enough to rev up off the line, but quickly settles down into very low revs to reduce noise and fuel consumption as the car builds up speed. The Qashqai’s handling is balanced well, not overly sporty but soaking up most bumps on the road smoothly. The electric steering was a touch on the light side, although a sport setting in the menus lets you firm it up if you prefer things a little heavier.

Fuel economy was also pretty reasonable considering the powertrain and car’s weight of 1,400 kg. The official combined rating is 6.9 litres per 100 km, and I was able to achieve 8.4 litres in combined, mostly suburban driving.

The Qashqai is offered in two trim levels with each drivetrain for a total of four variants. Standard features are quite reasonable with 17 inch alloys, cruise control, electric parking brake, reversing camera and basic smartphone connectivity with Bluetooth included on the base ST model. Jumping up to more expensive variants will net you electrically-folding mirrors, rain sensing wipers, proximity keyless entry, LED headlights, climate control air and 360-degree camera monitoring when reversing.

The Nissan Qashqai retails from $25,850 for a petrol ST manual, topping out at $37,990 for a diesel automatic with all the bells and whistles. Remember, prices are before on-road costs, so expect to add another $3,000 or so before you get the car on the road.

In summary, the Qashqai is a solid improvement on its predecessor, with a design that’s acceptable to everyone, decent refinement and reasonable value for money; and while it might only be front wheel drive and five seats, I think most people interested in this car wouldn’t have it any other way. That’s it for me this week.

19 February 2016
Albert Malik

Innovative design and product planning gave birth to the QASHQAI and JUKE, two of the biggest motoring success stories in recent years. Now the company has applied the same radical thinking to one of the most important sectors of the market: the compact hatchback. Unveiled at the Geneva Show, the Sway is a glimpse at how a future generation of compact Nissan models might look if the company's striking new design language was applied to a European hatchback. It is a concept car designed especially to appeal to European tastes: it is seen as emotional, edgy and exciting. Sway has been designed to shake up the compact hatchback segment, traditionally a conservative sector of the market. With its swooping lines, striking nose, elegantly simple interior and bold use of sophisticated colors, the concept is a daring and emotional design. There is an overall sense of unity and harmony but with edginess unexpected in this market segment. The interior, for example, applies techniques more usually seen in industrial architecture such as structural aluminum elements to signify both simplicity and strength, but also the attention to detail and use of color and materials associated with premium goods.

The exterior, meanwhile, blends four highly distinctive elements - the V-motion grille, floating roof, boomerang lamps and kicked-up C-pillar - to shape a new design signature that has already been seen on the Nissan Lannia Concept that was presented last year in Beijing at Auto China 2014, as well as the new Murano recently launched in the US. The Sway represents the first time this new design language has been expressed on a compact hatchback, while future Nissan models in different market segments in all regions will follow this styling direction. The Sway's character line begins with the V-motion grille, mounted low at the front between twin V-shaped quarter bumpers. The grille is the starting point for a bold contour that curves over the bonnet and front wheels before dipping dramatically towards the centre of the front door. It then sweeps upwards towards the rear of the car, giving the side profile an almost sensuous form. It sits proud of the bonnet before leading into a distinct and sharp crease down the car's waistline – a waistline that is pinched by the rising indented triangular sill feature. Alongside the V-motion grille sit the boomerang headlamps. Usually the boomerang shape is created by the use of LED lamps within a more conventional lamp shape: this time the lamps themselves take the signature shape, while the LEDs within create the impression of a pair of eyes, watching.

The signature boomerang taillights are equally dramatic, dissecting the rear three-quarter elements of the car. Twin trapezoidal exhaust pipes emerge from either side of the registration plate housing towards the middle of the rear section rather than underneath the bumper. Complex rear doors house not only the extended sill and waistline crease, but also the shapely flared fenders needed to cover the rear wheels. An upward flick towards the rear of the glass-line reduces the C-pillar between the door and the floating roof to a minimum. To ease ingress and egress, this concept car has no central B-pillar and rear-hinged back doors. Another feature of Nissan's new design language is the floating roof, which is expressed this time by a panoramic glass roof, framed by an extended C-shaped construction running from the A-pillars along the side of the roof to the rear cross link above the tailgate. On the concept car this structure is highlighted by the use of a bold orange color that contrasts with the blue-grey of the body. Extra rigidity is provided by a distinctive deformed X-structure in the centre of the roof with the crossing point of the ‘X' sitting above the front seat passengers.

The glass roof provides two major benefits: those on the inside can enjoy a sense of freedom and space while those on the outside can admire the interior. Additionally, the Sway is unique in its color coordination between the exterior and interior. The exterior color of the car is "bluish dawn grey," a grey with hints of blue which are visible under light, harmonised with a contrasting orange colour. The sophisticated colour combination fits yet stands out beautifully with the European cityscape. The interior uses a darker, deeper blue, with high contrasting ivory and orange colors matching the exterior to give a sense of unity to the car. Inspired by the IDx show car first revealed at the 2013 Tokyo motor show, the Sway adopts – and develops – its interior design concept of a gliding wing shaped dashboard.

The driving force behind the gliding wing shape is its elegant simplicity. The result is an interior in which function takes a priority, and where nothing has been used for mere decorative effect. Structural elements, for example, are shown as structural elements. The door pulls are designed to be integrated as a part of exposed aluminum struts. Even the three-spoke steering wheel has a “back-to-basics” simplicity, with a squared off bottom section and aluminum spokes. Just two basic instruments face the driver, with all other functions captured on a large trapezoidal tablet in the centre of the dashboard visible – and usable – by both driver and front seat passenger. The lightweight seats have an aluminum structure - once again exposed - and are covered in a premium suede-like fabric partially accentuated with pearl-effect material, featuring stitching techniques more usually found on luxury handbags. Colour co-ordination sees the use of strong blue and orange themes inside, complementing the exterior perfectly. Although a compact car, the lack of clutter, the removal of the B-pillar and the use of simple yet elegant structures makes the interior seem larger than expected.

"We believe that the Sway continues our tradition of challenging the status quo in market segments by bringing something fresh, distinctive and striking, much as we did with QASHQAI and JUKE. "With this new concept car for Geneva, we are experimenting to see how Nissan might be able to bring fresh ideas to the compact hatchback segment," said Shiro Nakamura, Senior Vice President, Design and Chief Creative Officer, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. Paul Willcox, Chairman Nissan Europe, said: "Nissan is on the move. The brand stands for bold, innovative thinking in the European motoring market – indeed around the globe – and our growth in Europe is led by outstanding new products, which are defined by outstanding design. The Sway underlines how important design is for Nissan in building our brand and driving our growth."