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Juliet McGuire

Does OG Qashqai miss the mark?

The Nissan Qashqai has been around since before the Kardashians hit our screens. That feels like a lifetime ago, but it was 2006. The Qashqai is the OG of crossovers. It started what became an obsession, really. So much so that we saw the decline in sales of hatchbacks and so on. Customers could not get enough of this oddly named car. With the launch of the second generation, a total of five million Qashqai’s found homes globally. The third gen has just hit South African shores, but does it pay homage to the original? Let’s find out.

AGAINST ALL ODDS

You see, when the Qashqai first arrived, it competed with nothing. It was creating its very own segment. But like many great things, you will have those that follow in your footsteps. Over the years we have seen hordes of crossovers enter the market. The problem the new Qashqai has now is its price point. It is too expensive. It should compete with the Kia Seltos and the Toyota Corolla Cross, but its price point means it competes with the Kia Sportage, Hyundai Tucson, Volkswagen Tiguan and Toyota RAV4, all of which are bigger. It also overlaps pricing with far more premium products such as the Audi Q3 Sportback. Customers will more than likely remember the Qashqai as a family-friendly, budget-friendly offering, but it is no longer budget-friendly. And that is a shame because it’s an excellent car. And it offers great levels of standard equipment, but I’m afraid that you get more car for your money with most of its rivals. But one thing is for certain, even if it is a completely subjective thing, this new Qashqai looks goooooood!

Qashqai

NEW ENGINE FTW

Where the Qashqai shines is with its new 1.3-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine, which is mated to one of the best CVT’s in the business. This pairing is all kinds of refined. In fact, the entire experience of the new Qashqai is one of refinement. And sheesh, the cabin is one of the quietest I have experienced in a long time. But back to the engine. With 110 kW and 250 Nm, it is no slouch. In fact, it is easy to overtake slower traffic, on an incline, with a loaded car. We were four adults at one point, with all the camera gear, and it’s like the Qashqai was none the wiser. It just carried on as if it had just one passenger on board. The fuel consumption is also really impressive, it is claimed at 6.1l/100 km and unusually, this is very achievable if you drive mindfully. Be careful as it can creep up rather quickly if you are not keeping an eye on it.

If you want a manual ‘box, the entry-level Visia model offers you that. While the Acenta and Acenta+ are the ones jam-packed with all the features…and the CVT.

QASHQAI RANGE

Speaking of features, the Acenta+, which is the model we drove at launch, comes with Nappa leather seats, memory seats, wireless charger and heated seats with massage function, noggal. And safety comes in the form of ProPilot Autonomous Drive, Intelligent Cruise Control, Lane Departure Prevention, Driver Attention Alert and Lane Keep Assist to name but a few features. But this model is going to cost you a whopping R670 600. At that price point I would expect everything but the kitchen sink really. From a practical point of view, however, the Qashqai is still on point. The boot is a very generous 504-litres and I found rear legroom to be adequate, but then again, I am only 1.64cm tall. Much taller adults will find it a bit tight, but if you plan on the kids being in the back for most of the time, you shouldn’t have any issues.

PRICING OF THE NEW QASHQAI

1.3T Visia: R568 200
1.3T Acenta: R639 300
1.3T Acenta Plus: R670 600

As much as I want to only love this car, the price is a huge bugbear for me. I know that cars are considerably more expensive these days, but when you do what I do for a living and still find yourself a bit shocked by a price, you must know it will definitely then have an impact on potential customers. I think that if the Qashqai had remained competitively priced, it would continue its legacy and remain a top-seller. But I fear that the new Qashqai might miss the mark at this point.

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