As promised at the start of the year, Nissan has delivered the final part of the jigsaw that was the Qashqai facelift, the top of the range Ti not supplementing the N-Tec model but actually replacing it. Strange but evidently the N-Tec was only ever designed to be a temporary variant. Now that Ti is here we understand that on top of the N-Tec specification it adds adaptive cruise control, a lane keeping aid and seats finished in Nappa leather with quilting, soft cushioning and driver memory function. All are appreciated, as is power seat operation, including of lumbar function. However, the Ti does come at a cost, adding $1300 to the price, now $44,990.
Nissan introduced the original Qashqai in 2006 and the second-gen in 2014. Its name is unusual and evidently derives from a tribe of people living in the mountains of southern Iran. The 2018 facelift was characterised by a new iteration of the company’s V-shaped fascia, reshaped bumpers each end and the addition of a shark’s fin antenna, along with fresh alloy designs and new rear LED taillights. Inside, a D-shaped wheel and revised seats were the primary changes. While the powertrain wasn’t altered, suspension tweaks were made to improve the handling, with firmer springs, retuned dampers and stiffer sway bar.
In the revamp, extra safety gear came aboard, including autonomous braking with forward collision warning, parking sensors at both ends to supplement the reversing camera, lane departure warning, hill start assist and an electric parking brake. Also new were self parking, a surround view camera, blind spot monitoring and high beam assist. Ti added an adaptive front lighting set-up. Approach the car and so long as your key is on you somewhere the doors will open at the press of a pad, and the engine will start via push button.
Unlike most European compact high-ride offerings that employ a turbocharger, the Qashqai, built in the UK, makes use of a naturally aspirated 2.0-litre four-pot engine that develops 106kW and an even 200Nm. It’s front-wheel drive only, regardless of model, and utilises a continuously variable transmission that thinks it’s a seven-speed automatic. Even in ordinary running it makes mock upshifts to help convince you it isn’t a CVT. The advantage of such transmissions is frugality, in this instance the fuel use is said to average 6.9L/100km. We often saw 7s while driving it, though leadfoots might well witness double figures. However, it doesn’t necessarily need high revs for a tickle along. There’s not the torque hit of a turbo, nor the usual lag, but a decent lift is felt at 3500rpm if you need to overtake something, the output building to 5500rpm pleasingly. It’s not flashy fast but if you flick the shift lever to the right the response is more marked. Paddles aren’t provided and nor are they needed. There’s no Sport mode either, just an Eco setting.
On the go the facelifted Qashqai isn’t as plush as it once was, though the new seats and pleasant leather coverings do a good job of hiding the fact that the secondary ride is a bit busier. However, the latest Qashqai is now more at home on secondary highways, its roll control in corners never in question, and with decent rubber as standard, Michelin Pilot Sport 4s, this isn’t averse to road trips into the back of beyond. You’re unlikely to get lost there either with satellite navigation being standard in Ti (and ST-L) along with dual zone air, while heated seats keep things toasty in the cooler months.
The seven-inch touchscreen isn’t the biggest or highest resolution available in the sector but surround view is certainly handy. A panoramic sunroof lets in plenty of sunshine too, if that’s your thing. If not, there’s a sunblind beneath to block out the light. Qashqai is slightly larger than some of its competitors, if not longer, and it has amongst the best holds in the class at 430L, though not as big as that of new Karoq. It also has a configurable boot floor, a two-piece unit and you can slot half of it vertically to keep supermarket fruit and veg from from pulping themselves on the way home. Competition in this still growing sector is intense, almost everyone has one so its a cut-throat area.
Those who like a controlled ride, instant throttle response, a 2.0-litre engine minimum, a decent amount of useable space and plenty of safety gear and other tech as standard in their compact SUV may appreciate new Ti, which is now on sale.
|Model||Nissan Qashqai Ti|
|Engine||1997cc, IL4, DI, 106kW/200Nm|
|Drivetrain||CVT, front-wheel drive|