Nissan and Toyota are probably in a dead heat when it comes to holding off fitting Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. On my recent trip to New Zealand I performed a number of cartwheels and backflips when I discovered both systems have been uploaded to the Nissan Qashqai range.

That brings Nissan’s smaller SUV inline with the Navara and electric Leaf, bring on the others! Now, please?

The Qashqai that morphed out of the Dualis has been a relatively big success for Nissan, which is handy given the lack of any other segment in the range, aside from the EV Leaf. 11,653 rolled out of dealerships last year, for a 9.5 per cent share of the market. Not bad for a car very few can even pronounce.

In 2020 another update, the last being back in 2017, has introduced safety upgrades, a new limited run N-Sport model and generally the addition of upgrades made standard across the range.

Nissan kicks off the range with the $27,990 ST Qashqai, that is offered with a six-speed manual. Handy for those not comfortable with the other otherwise standard Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). That’s followed by the $29,990 ST CVT Nissan Qashqai, $31,990 ST+ CVT, $34,000 Nissan Qashqai ST-L CVT, $35,000 Nissan Qashqai N-SPORT CVT and finally the range-topping $38,490 Nissan QASHQAI Ti CVT, all before on roads.

The six-model line-up scores the same 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine. Outputs are only moderate at 106kW at 6,000 rpm and 200Nm at 4,400rpm. All models are front-wheel drive only.

Which allows me to say this, it would be nice to have an all-wheel drive (AWD) offering. These cars are bought by active people who like to think at some stage, the car will have dirt under it. After a two-hour stint through the incredibly beautiful New Zealand countryside, a drive that included slippery dirt trails, I can confirm AWD would be a massive bonus.

This is not a happy car off-road, even on benign, albeit sandy roads. The traction control system is prone to cut virtually all power, at the earliest hint of slippage. No one expects this car to be a serious off-road weapon, but I found that experience to be a tad frustrating.

Other than that, the Qashqai is a nice, well balanced small SUV. Riding in the range topping Ti model reveals a well-equipped car that features unusually high-end quilted Nappa leather seats and other nice interior touches, such as metallic look highlights. I believe the cabin to be a level above the Renault Kadjar, that uses the same underpinnings.

Under the Nissan Intelligent Mobility banner, the Qashqai scores appropriate levels of safety, but the level of armour is dependent on model. For example, Pedestrian Detection with Intelligent Emergency Breaking up to 60 clicks is only found on the Ti model.

Other safety highlights to look out for include Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Intelligent Driver Alert, Intelligent Emergency Braking with Forward Collision Warning, Intelligent Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection. The latter projects a 360-degree view when reversing onto the smallish 7-inch touch screen using four cameras. Park Assist is a semi-automated self-parking system, to help them steer into a parking spot.

Lane Departure Warning is joined by Blind Spot Warning, the latter two won’t intervene but rather uses audible and visual warnings.

But continuing the model dependent theme, the ST+ model now gets rain-sensing wipers, auto headlights with High Beam Assist.

There are actually two head units used across the range, the A-IVI Display Audio on the ST and the A-IVI NAVI across all others. But all you need to know is this, both are better than the previous software but again APPLE CARPLAY AND ANDROID AUTO is standard.

The Qashqai is an accomplished mid-range performer in this category. It’s stylish and offers a decent spread of models. While it may still may be a middle of the road performer, it’s unquestionably more attractive to me let alone buyers simply due to the updated connectivity.

The 2020 Nissan Qashqai scores a 7.7 out of 10 from me.