When Nissan launched the first Qashqai back in 2007, they had relatively few competitors. The small SUV/crossover segment was still in development, and a lot of the manufacturers were still working on their own offerings. Nissan beat them to the punch, and they did so with a stellar product. The Qashqai pioneered the entire segment and forced other brands to rethink their respective models. It didn’t offer anything radical, but it was the perfect all-rounder anyone could ever need.
Ten years later the second-generation Nissan Qashqai was unveiled in 2013, with a host of updates has kept it relevant and on top of its respective segment. The crossover market is full of competition these days, so the Qashqai has to be pretty special if it is to remain the benchmark. Throughout all this time, the Qashqai was never offered to the North American markets until now, with the release of the 2017 Nissan Qashqai to Canada.
Nissan has integrated the 2017 Qashqai to their corporate fascia in a subtle way to tie it into the recent line up of cars and SUVs. Although the 2017 Nissan Qashqai looks sleek and modern, it still carries over some first-generation Qashqai DNA in its core. It’s recognizable as a Qashqai even from a distance, and that’s a great thing in today’s market. Standing out from the rest of the crowd has become less of an issue as much as standing out from the models within the same manufacturer, like its closest sibling the Nissan Rogue. Take the VW Tiguan for instance – it resembles too much a shrunken Touareg in every respect, so it has no persona and no identity of its own. The 2017 Qashqai is different from all other Nissan SUV offerings and packs a real visual punch!
This small crossover aims to offer SUV practicality and desirability with the running costs of a small hatchback. Everyone knows it’s not an off-road vehicle, but the 2017 Qashqai fares quite well tackling light trails with ease. It’s got good ground clearance and short overhangs, so steeper hills (or curbs) are no challenge at all. I realize less than one percent of people who buy a Qashqai will ever take it off-roading beyond a gravel/dusty road, but it’s good to know you won’t get stuck if ever in such a predicament.
Overall, the 2017 Nissan Qashqai is one of the most handsome compact crossovers on the market. Its aggressive styling is visually stimulating, yet it’s design is still in keeping with modern tastes. All of the accent lines around the Qashqai, the large wheels in proportion to its compact size and the sloping roofline with rear spoiler all add to its sporty exterior design, reminiscent of the Range Rover Evoque.
QUALITY ERGONOMIC INTERIOR
Crossovers tend to offer cabins similar to those of hatchbacks from the same make, but not the 2017 Qashqai. Instead of using cheap plastics to cut back on production costs, Nissan decided to spend money where it really matters. The interior is where you spend all of your time driving, so filling it with cheap materials is a bit of a cop out. Instead, beautiful leather and brushed aluminum makes the Qashqai’s cabin feel upscale, and the overall fit and finish is impeccable. While there’s still a good amount of plastic, it’s soft to the touch and elegantly polished.
Ergonomically, the interior of the 2017 Nissan Qashqai makes perfect sense. You don’t have to get used to it or learn anything new. Everything is where you expect it to be, just the way it should be in any modern vehicle. The driving position is ideal, sitting up high with great all around visibility, while the seats are some of the best in class being supportive and firm, yet most importantly comfortable.
PERFORMANCE AND DRIVE
The 2017 Nissan Qashqai is equipped with one perfect little engine to provide a great driving experience. A 2.0L four cylinder engine, outputting 141 hp and 147 lb-ft of torque is paired to a continuously variable transmission (manual transmission for the base model S). While the power statistic may seem low, the 2.0L engine provides the 2017 Qashqai with a zippy acceleration around city speeds, while offering great fuel economy from the small displacement.
The Xtronic CVT is smooth and precise, but if you get a kick out of changing gears yourself get the manual as driving experience will be fun and rewarding. The chassis is nimble and agile, and while the Qashqai is technically an SUV, it handles like a small hatchback, darting in and out of turns with minimal effort.
The 2017 Nissan Qashqai has the best of both worlds with a sporty performance at city speeds and a smooth and relaxed cruising feel at highway speeds. Having this perfect blend of sportiness and efficiency, the 2017 Qashqai yields a minimal 7.5 L/100km in the city and 9.1 L/100km on the highway.
The 2017 Nissan Qashqai remains the crossover king for a good reason – several good reasons in fact! It has the most pleasing exterior design paired with a high quality, ergonomic cabin and a sporty but efficient performance. Couple all of this with its affordable entry level pricing of $19,998 and you have a clear winner!