The Nissan Qashqai launched in Canada just a few years ago, and went on to be noted as a nicely equipped driving companion with a laid-back demeanour both around town and on the highway.
While subcompact in size, the Qashqai can be equipped with all manner of safety and connectivity technology. In addition to an assortment of hazard-detection tech, the Qashqai can also be equipped with a surround-view parking camera system, powerful LED headlights, and more.
The Qashqai is a five-seater with decent cargo space and folding seats to add flexibility. Up front, average-sized occupants shouldn’t have any issues with space or storage, though adults in the rear seats may feel cramped. When test-driving a Qashqai – or any vehicle – be sure to sit in the rear seats with the front ones positioned comfortably for a better sense of the space in the back for passengers.
The Qashqai’s 141-hp four-cylinder engine puts it towards the lower end of the spectrum where output is concerned, but the 2.0L engine is generally smooth and quiet, should prove easy on fuel, and can power all four wheels on models equipped with all-wheel drive (AWD).
Notably, the Qashqai’s AWD system features a push-button lock function that permanently engages all-wheel traction for challenging conditions.
The continuously variable transmission (CVT) functions like an automatic but has no pre-set gears, which helps it deliver smoother and more efficient performance.
The Qashqai should use about 9.0 L/100 km in the city, and about 7.5 on the highway.
What Owners Like
The Qashqai’s high-end features were sometimes-pricey add-ons, but most owners say they’re worth the investment, with the parking camera system and premium stereo system in particular being among the favourites. Compact manoeuvrability and all-weather confidence were noted, as were approachable safety and connectivity features.
What Owners Dislike
Some owners wish for a higher output engine option, as well as a more logical placement to some of the interior controls. Some owners find the touchscreen interface dated, and others wish for a splash more colour to liven up the cabin.
Pro Tip: Don’t Neglect Transmission Maintenance
Like many transmissions, the Nissan Qashqai’s CVT requires regular servicing, inspections, and care to ensure it lives a healthy and trouble-free life. Be sure to seek out a used model with all service records available to prove that all transmission-related servicing is up to date. Note that remaining warranty coverage doesn’t cover damage caused by a failure to properly maintain the vehicle.
Throughout your time owning your new-to-you Qashqai, remember that the dealership is the best place to service this type of transmission.
Pro Tip: Thoroughly Test the Infotainment
Give the Qashqai’s touchscreen interface a workout, flicking through all menus and functions to confirm proper operation. Be certain to connect your mobile device via Bluetooth, and confirm satisfactory audio quality during phone calls and music playback. Audio that cuts out randomly every few moments may require a software update to fix. If any part of this interface isn’t working as intended, you’ll want to know before you buy.
Pro Tip: Check the Battery
Ensure the Qashqai’s battery is healthy on your test drive. Some owners have reported the need to replace batteries at faster-than-expected intervals. A weak or dying battery can lead to numerous electronics problems with modern vehicles, most of which are frustrating. Don’t underestimate the importance of a healthy battery in keeping modern vehicle electronics happy.
The Test Drive
Generic Rough-Road Test
Check the Qashqai’s suspension system for possible problems by driving it at a reasonable speed down the most uneven or rough road you can find. Elevated suspension noise levels are fine, though smacking, popping, clanking, or snapping sounds are not. If you detect any of these, have the suspension checked by a technician before you buy. This test can be performed on any used vehicle to help coax potentially problematic sounds from worn suspension components.