Late last year, we drove the Nissan Qashqai petrol and loved the compact crossover’s attractive styling, decent road manners and great versatility. A new diesel variant has now joined the 2015 range, promising exceptional fuel economy without compromising drivability.
In this review, we get behind the wheel of the diesel-powered Nissan Qashqai to find out if it is just as accomplished as its petrol equivalent.
Available in two variants, the Qashqai TS and TL are priced from $33,200 and $37,990 respectively. Both are powered by a 1.6-litre R9M turbo diesel engine paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT), or Xtronic in Nissan speak. It produces 96kW of power and 320Nm of torque, offering 1,400kg of braked towing capacity.
The front-drive only Nissan Qashqai is one of the best equipped compact SUV in the segment. Standard across the range includes LED Daytime Running Lights, Hill Start Assist, Adjustable Steering Modes (offering Sport Mode with firmer feel and increased feedback), Electric Park Brake and NissanConnect smartphone connectivity, which provides integrated access to supported Apps on the user’s smartphone.
The upper spec Qashqai TL includes Intelligent Park Assist (featuring both reverse parallel and bay parking), Blind Spot Warning, Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection, Lane Departure Warning, Driver Attention Support, LED Headlights, Panoramic Roof and High Beam Assist.
The range has some cool driving tech for better dynamics, such as Active Trace Control, which can apply braking automatically to each wheel, helping to keep the vehicle on the cornering line as steered. There’s also Active Ride Control that counteracts pitching caused by bumps.
Built on the new CMF (Common Module Family) platform co-developed by the Renault-Nissan Alliance, the Qashqai’s interior has enough space to keep four adults comfortable for long trips, while a fifth person can squeeze in for short drives.
The cabin is one of the most flexible in its class, too. The boot, for example, not only yields 430 litres of luggage capacity (an improvement of 20 litres over the previous model and 35 litres more than a VW Tiguan) with the rear seats in position, but also includes a pair of floor panels lined with carpet on one side, and coated with slip-resistant plastic on the other.
These panels can be used to divide up the boot space so smaller items don’t slide around. There are up to 16 possible configurations.
The 1.6-litre turbo diesel with automatic idle stop/start feels surprisingly strong for its capacity. 96kW may not sound like a lot of power but when accompanied with 320Nm of torque, the Qashqai diesel feels pretty quick off the line.
One major improvement in the new diesel model over the previous generation is refinement. The engine is smooth and quiet for most proceedings, with almost no diesel clatter audible in the well insulated cabin.
It’s also a better match for the CVT than the petrol unit, as the higher torque means the transmission can stay at lower revs for longer, offering a more effortless driving experience. There’s still a hint of turbo lag but its quickly gone with a gentle increase in throttle.
Perhaps, what impresses most is its fuel economy. Driven normally (not conservatively) for a week over varying types of roads and traffic conditions in both urban and country areas, our Qashqai 1.6 diesel TL recorded an impressive 6.0L/100km in the combined cycle.
With a full tank (65 litres), we are confident the Qashqai diesel is capable of clocking over 1000km of cruise-controlled freeway driving.
Despite the diesel model weighing some 150kg more than the petrol variant, its driving dynamics are no less accomplished. Its body is well composed and stays relatively flat around the bends. There’s still plenty of grip up the front in spite of a heavier nose, while the steering weights up reassuringly as you turn the wheel.
The Qashqai rides well around town, treading a fine balance between comfort and road feel, with none of the low speed harshness commonly found in light and compact crossovers.
The test car’s CVT is also one of the better ones we have encountered, with none of the dreaded drone so characteristic of this type of transmission.
The Nissan Qashqai is an accomplished compact crossover offering the kind of versatility and driving dynamics few in the segment can match. Paired with a hard working diesel engine, the Qashqai can now haul even more while remaining exceptionally frugal. What’s not to like?
|Price (Excl. on-roads):||From $25,850 to $37,990|
|As tested: $37,990 (TL Xtronic)|
|Engine:||2.0-litre 4-cylinder direct-injection petrol 106kW @ 6,000rpm, 200Nm @ 4,400rpm, front-wheel drive (ST & Ti)|
|1.6-litre turbo-diesel 96kW @ 4,000rpm, 320Nm @ 1,750rpm, front-wheel drive (TS & TL); Tested|
|Service Intervals:||12 months/10,000km|
|Combined Fuel Consumption (L/100km):||Petrol:Claimed: 6.9Tested: 7.3||Diesel:Claimed: 4.9Tested: 6.0|
|Dimensions L/W/H/W-B (mm):||4,377/1,806/1,595/2,646|
|Tare Weight (kg):||1,372 – 1,605|
|Ground Clearance (mm):||188|
|Approach angle (degrees):||19|
|Departure angle (degrees):||28.5|
|Towing Capacity (kg):||Braked: 1,200 (CVT)/1,400 (Manual)|
|Unbraked: 729 (CVT and Manual)|
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