//Richard Case 00966583

2019 Nissan Qashqai SL Platinum Road Test Review

 


Qashqai updated with new advanced safety and infotainment systems 

The stylish Qashqai might still look the same as it has since arriving on the scene two years ago, especially when doused in its official Monarch Orange launch colour, but sometimes looks can be deceiving, because the latest 2019 version gets plenty of new updates that make it more appealing than ever before. 

Nissan has been a leader when it comes to advanced driver assistance technologies, and now even the entry-level Qashqai S model gets Intelligent Emergency Braking (IEB), Blind Spot Warning (BSW), Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), and Nissan's inventive new Rear Door Alert (RDA) system, which provides a reminder to the driver when arriving at a destination that something or someone might still be in the rear seating area. 


 

The Qashqai's new standard 7.0-inch NissanConnect infotainment touchscreen could be seen as a safety feature too, considering that its larger display shows a much better view of the standard reverse camera system, or in the case of the SL Platinum model used for this weeklong test, both the usual backup camera and the upgraded Intelligent Around View Monitor. 

Additional items added to this much improved infotainment interface include standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, satellite radio, live navigation, plus mobile apps and services, while Nissan also added a second USB charger to the centre console. Lastly, an ultra-useful Divide-N-Hide cargo system is now included as standard equipment in the rearmost stowage area. If all this great news hasn't got your attention yet, consider that everything mentioned only adds another $200 to the base price, resulting in a very affordable $20,198.

 
 

Qashqai standard features list is shockingly good 

It's not like the previous Qashqai was lacking anything when it came to standard features either. In fact, value for money has always played a big role in the model's popularity, so now it should be even more appealing to small SUV shoppers. As for standard features not yet itemized, the base Qashqai S also includes projector headlights with LED daytime running lamps, heated power-adjusting door mirrors with integrated LED turn signals, power windows and locks (plus a cool switchblade-style key), an electric parking brake, a tilt and telescoping steering column, a colour TFT multi-information display, variable intermittent wipers, sun visors with extensions and vanity mirrors, sunglasses storage in the overhead console, micro-filtered air conditioning, Bluetooth phone connectivity with streaming audio, text message reading/responding capability, Siri Eyes Free, a four-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system with illuminated controls on steering wheel spokes, speed-sensitive volume control, Radio Data System (RDS), two-way Quick Comfort heatable front seats (that truly warm up quickly), a rear-seat centre armrest, a cargo cover, six tie-down hooks in the cargo area, tire pressure monitoring with Easy Fill Tire Alert, all the passive and active safety and security features normally found in this class, plus much more. 


 

Just like before, the 2019 Qashqai comes in three trims, including the aforementioned base S model and top-line SL, plus the well-equipped SV that spans the price and features gap ideally. Notably, the S remains the sole Qashqai to feature a manual transmission, with both trims above arriving standard with Nissan's well-proven Xtronic CVT (continuously variable transmission). Additionally, the S and the SV can also be had with AWD, leaving the SL model shown here as the only trim with standard AWD. 

Nissan provided this top-tier model for my test week, and even added the previously mentioned Platinum Package, but instead of getting ahead of myself by detailing out all of its contents, as well as everything that comes with SL trim, I'd better comment a bit more about the $26,198 SV model, as I'm pretty sure a few of my more pragmatic readers will appreciate the savings offered in this nicely appointed trim. 

  

SV and SL trims provide a higher level of luxury for subcompact SUV buyers 

The SV's list of improvements include a sharp looking set of 17-inch alloy wheels, auto on/off headlamps, fog lights, remote engine start, proximity keyless access, pushbutton start/stop, High Beam Assist, rear parking sonar, illuminated vanity mirrors, a powered glass sunroof, a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, a leather-clad shifter knob, cruise control, a couple of extra stereo speakers, two-zone auto climate control, rear passenger ventilation, and so on, while additional driver assistance systems are also added to mix, including an enhanced autonomous Intelligent Emergency Braking system with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Warning (LDW) with Intelligent Lane Intervention, and Rear Intelligent Braking (R-IEB). 




Moving up to the as-tested $31,398 Qashqai SL means that your surroundings get a lot more luxurious due to larger machine-finished 19-inch alloys with black painted pockets, aluminum roof rails, the Intelligent Around View Monitor mentioned before, an accurate navigation system with a superbly detailed map system, voice recognition, SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link, really attractive leather upholstery, a comfortable eight-way powered driver's seat with two-way lumbar support, and more, while along with all of the above some completely new items get added to the 2019 SL's standard features list such as Intelligent Cruise Control (ICC), Moving Object Detection (MOD), and ProPilot Assist semi-automated self-driving that helps drivers to maintain their chosen lane with greater ease while making freeway driving more stress-free. 

As noted earlier, my test model also incorporated the $2,000 SL Platinum Package that adds LED headlamps for brighter nighttime visibility, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a Homelink universal remote, fabulous sounding nine-speaker Bose audio, and NissanConnect Services, which bundles up a number of useful mobile apps that have been designed to enhance life with your Qashqai. 


 

Impressive materials quality gives Qashqai a premium feel 

All of the noted features are housed within a surprisingly refined interior, no matter the trim. Last year I spent a week with the base S model, and despite its low price point I was completely impressed by its quality of materials, its tight fitting and nicely damped switchgear, and its overall good design for only $20k, but then again this SL Platinum model reaches altogether new luxury heights in comparison. All trims boast a premium-level soft-touch dash top and the same padded composite for the front door uppers, but the SL model's exclusive contrast-stitched perforated leather upholstery is really well executed, while the stitched leatherette edging on the sides of the lower console is over the top. Not only does it look upscale, but thanks to padding underneath it keeps inside knees from rubbing up against what would otherwise be a hard plastic surface. 

Additionally, the SL gets glossy piano black lacquered surfacing across the instrument panel, centre stack, shifter surround, and door panel trim, these complemented by some sophisticated satin-silver accents. There's more satin-silver on the steering wheel, the shifter, and elsewhere around the cabin too, plus chrome gets tastefully added throughout the interior for an even classier look. All in all, the Qashqai SL Platinum provides one impressive interior. 

 

A strong performer with a refined chassis 

Putting all of this subcompact luxury into motion is Nissan's strong and smooth 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, which is good for a healthy 141 horsepower and 147 lb-ft of torque. As noted earlier it comes mated to a six-speed manual or optional CVT, and while I tested the manual last year and came away grinning from ear to ear, as it's a delightful gearbox that transforms the otherwise comfortable and relaxed SUV into a verified pocket rocket, I think most Qashqai buyers will appreciate the smooth, confidence-inspiring nature of the automated transmission even more. 

The CVT performs very well when called upon, transferring power down to each wheel with a nice linear quality that once again makes the Qashqai feel more refined than many in this class, while speed ramps up quickly and easily. Nissan provides a manual mode for when you want to engage a bit more in the driving experience, but honestly I left the shifter in Drive most of the time, as it was perfect for sauntering through the city or hightailing it down the freeway. 


 

The Qashqai sits on a modified version of the same fully independent suspension as Nissan's larger Rogue SUV, which translates into struts up front and a multi-link setup in the rear, plus a stabilizer bar at each end. This well proven suspension design means the SL's bigger 225/45R19 all-season tires deliver the best-possible adhesion through fast-paced curves while still providing a relaxing, comfortable ride. It's this impressive handling and ride quality combination that's so unusual in the subcompact SUV segment, yet so welcome. What's more, the Qashqai's four-wheel disc brakes are strong and steady even when pressed hard in panic situations, plus they're improved upon via standard Intelligent Engine Braking on SV and SL trims. 

Possibly most important to Qashqai buyers is fuel efficiency, especially in areas around Vancouver where the price of gas is quite a bit more than out in the valley. Fortunately, the Qashqai is a fuel miser, with a Transport Canada rating of 10.0 L/100km city, 8.1 highway and 9.2 combined when the thrifty engine is mated to FWD and the manual transmission; an even better 8.6 city, 7.2 highway and 8.0 combined with FWD and the CVT; and a commendable 9.1, 7.6 and 8.4 with the as-tested CVT and AWD. Driving with care and attention most often, and undergoing only a few performance tests, I came very close to matching the latter number during my week with the Qashqai. 


 

Comfy and roomy for passengers and cargo  

Expect your Qashqai to go through slightly more fuel when it's filled up with passengers and gear, and trust me that you can get plenty of both inside. In fact, the Qashqai can swallow up to 648 litres behind its rear set of seats, which is a lot for this category, while those 60/40-split seatbacks allow for up to 1,730 litres of what-have-you when laid flat, which is even more impressive when compared to competitors. 

No matter the cargo on board, the Qashqai's driver and front passenger have a lot of space and wonderfully comfortable seats to enjoy the journey, with the former seat's full assortment of controls having allowed for an ideal driving position, thanks also to plenty of reach from the tilt and telescopic steering wheel. I have to say this isn't always the case due to my long legs and shorter torso, so anytime I can get comfortable while still fully in control, I'm happy. 


 

Rear passengers should be equally at ease thanks to plenty of room all around. Even tall teens and adults should fit in easily, something I learned when positioning the driver's seat for my long-legged five-foot-eight frame, and then sitting directly behind. Doing so allowed for approximately five inches in front of my knees, which together with another four inches over my head should make the Qashqai a perfect companion for six-foot-plus occupants. It's quite wide as well, with space for three across and about three to four inches from hips and shoulders to the door panel. 

I found the Qashqai nicely finished in its rear quarters too, with comfortably padded stitched leatherette armrests on each door and a well-placed folding armrest with dual cupholders in the middle. Dual HVAC vents were included on the backside of the front console as well, important for maintaining airflow to all occupants. 


 

Perfectly sized for most Canadian families, as well as empty-nesters and active couples plus all their lifestyle gear, the 2019 Qashqai is intelligently designed, impressively outfitted, and a joy to drive or be driven in. When further factoring in its superb fuel efficiency and even more enticing initial value proposition, it's obvious why the Qashqai has become one of the most popular subcompact sport utilities in Canada. I can't help but recommend it highly. 


 

To find out more about the 2019 Qashqai or take one for a test drive, contact Southside Nissan at (888) 815-4707, or come say hello in person at 290 SW Marine Drive, Vancouver. 



Story credit: Trevor Hofmann 
Photo credit: Karen Tuggay