2017 Nissan Qashqai Review
Europe’s best selling urban crossover has received a design overhaul that draws strongly on customer feedback to give them exactly what they want from the Qashqai. Nissan launched this new, more refined revision at an event in Vienna, Austria on June 13. Brake Magazine was invited to put it through its paces on a specially designed route, showcasing the strengths and improvements that will increase its dominance in the UK market.
Of course, the first thing that will catch the attention of drivers is the more muscular design. Nissan has looked to the more premium markets for inspiration, resulting in a contemporary exterior. This new look, a style Nissan calls ‘Premium Dynamism’, makes an impact from every angle. The most noticeable upgrades have been made at the front of the car, especially the new integrated front bumper that aligns more fluidly with the rest of the car. This allows it to make full use of the car’s body colour and the visible plastic now has a more premium gloss finish.
Nissan’s latest incarnation of its iconic ‘V-Motion’ grille appears for the first time on the facelifted model, bringing it in line with all current generation models. It features bolder, more dynamic surrounds that sit wider than the previous generation, adding to its muscular presence. Nestled between it is Nissan’s new flat badge that now houses the car’s upgraded radar as part of its Intelligent Emergency Brake on N-Connecta and above. A more traditionally contoured version sits proudly at the front of the lower models in the range.
The new Qashqai also features ‘boomerang’ LED lights that serve as Daytime Running Lamps at the front of the main lamps at the rear. These signature additions further the premium and contemporary design of the market leading crossover. A 3D aerodynamic element has also been designed into the rear lens which reduces drag as Nissan strive to reduce running costs in every aspect of the Qashqai.
In addition to the new lights at the rear, Nissan has also completely redesigned the bumper to bring it up to date with a contemporary and more premium feel. N-Connecta grades and above also feature satin silver inserts to highlight their higher position in the range. One last small but significant change to the bumper is that the parking sensors now sit flush within it. These small details represent the hundreds of hours that have been spent developing the best possible styling for today’s market.
Inside the cabin is where the premium upgrades are felt most in the Qashqai as that is where drivers and passengers spend most of the time with the car. This is due to Nissan focusing on a more driver oriented experience which has led to higher quality materials and refinement. A growing trend in the current car market is D-shaped steering wheels – the Qashqai has adopted this style for a more sporty look and easier entry and exit for the driver. The rim is also thicker for a more comfortable grip, while the spokes and central hub are smaller – providing improved instrument visibility. It also features new four-way controllers on the central spokes to reduce ‘eyes off the road’ time.
The materials across the rest of the cabin have been upgraded to further increase the premium feel. Some of them are small: the air vents and door handles have a more tactile finish, and some are larger: the seats are now monoform and feature an extended base and bolster shape for additional support. This combination of enhanced detailing and styling help place it in higher market areas and help it maintain its class leading position in the UK.
Technology has also been a key focus for the Nissan team where it has again built on customer feedback to improve their offerings. DAB digital radio is now standard across the entire range in the UK and the NissanConnect touch-screen satnav features a smart new user interface that’s more app-like in appearance. This makes navigation much more intuitive as everyone is familiar with that style of the interface on their phone.
Nissan has also introduced new Intelligent Mobility technologies in the new Qashqai which has always been at the heart of showcasing and advancing technology in its cars. In Autumn, they will introduce ProPILOT, the first stage of the brand’s journey towards autonomous driving. This technology will automate the mundane elements of driving, giving drivers more freedom.
ProPILOT will control the steering, acceleration and braking during heavy traffic and high-speed cruising on highways. These functions will be automated through the use of Lane Keep Assist, Intelligent Cruise Control and Traffic Jam Pilot. Incredibly, this will all be activated from a single button on the Qashqai’s steering wheel with information being provided on the combimeter.
For now, there are several pieces of technology that have been added to the Qashqai in the step towards automation:
Rear Cross Traffic Alert reduces the risk of low-speed impacts when reversing out of a parking space by sensing approaching vehicles, giving the driver visual and audible warnings.
The Intelligent Emergency Braking system has been upgraded with Pedestrian Recognition, including small children. This is achieved through a combination of a camera and an advanced radar system that also operates with the Blind Spot Warning system, covering a wider service area.
Finally, Stand Still Assist is now offered on cars with a manual transmission, holding them in a stationary position for up to three minutes. It works at any angle, allowing drivers to take their foot off the brake which will reduce their fatigue.
Nissan has successfully taken customer feedback into account and used it to directly improve the already class leading C-SUV, taking it even further ahead of its rivals. The new premium and contemporary design across the interior and exterior of the Qashqai culminate in a brand new grade, the Tekna+, affectionately referred to as the ultimate Qashqai. It features exclusive new premium kit as standard, from high-quality soft Nappa leather to electronically controlled four-way pneumatic lumbar support. Perhaps the most sought after standard feature is the new BOSE Premium eight-speaker system – featuring tweeters, a woofer, mid-range speakers and two subwoofers, all of which are finely tuned specifically for the new Qashqai.