Variant: Midnight Edition
Engine / Transmission: 2.0 petrol – CVT automatic transmission
Manufacturer Claimed Fuel Economy: 6.9L/100km combined.
Price: From $36,740 drive away
In a Nutshell: Old skool mini SUV and none the worse because of it.
Nissan named the Qashqai after an Iranian nomadic tribe thinking that owners of SUVs embrace a free-roaming lifestyle. I haven’t found this to be the case. Instead, mini SUVs such as the Qashqai, Hyundai’s Kona, Honda’s HR-V and Kia’s Seltos are lucky to wander about as far as the next suburb. Strange name aside, the Qashqai is a fine, but dated example of a mini SUV. This makes a lot of sense because the Qashqai is due for imminent replacement. The Midnight edition is a rather successful styling exercise to shift a few more units before the arrival of the replacement.
While the replacement Qashqai promises to be better in every way and provide a hybrid option, I have no problems in recommending the current model. I like the workmanlike way it goes about providing traditional, safe and economical SUV transportation.
One of the things I like most about the current Qashqai is its blend of current active safety features and good old knobs and buttons. The Qashqai’s seven inch touchscreen really exposes the age of the platform, but driving it you are reminded that touchscreen isn’t always necessarily better. The current Qashqai manages to blend autonomous braking, park assist and lane keep assist (Ti grade), lane departure warning, blind spot warning, digital radio, Apple CarPlay, 360 degree camera, auto high beam, auto wipers with more simple and traditional knobs and buttons.
It works. Mind you, sometimes it is an acquired taste. For example, instead of a discreet illumination in the mirror when the blind spot warning system is activated you get what I am sure is a small candle illuminating a little square light box. It’s as weird as it sounds, but I like it’s simplicity and honesty. Ultimately, it is yet another reminder that the third generation Qashqai is just around the corner.
The Midnight Edition might be a blatant grab at shifting some more current model Qashqais before the new one arrives, but it looks great. The whole blacked out treatment of the grill, mirror caps, wheels and other odds and ends really works. The addition of comfy alcantara seat trim just adds to the sense of quality and ‘specialness’.
Not So Impressive:
Acknowledging that the current Qashqai is a dated platform, the least impressive aspect of the car is its drivetrain. The engine makes adequate power, however the CVT transmission lets down what is a fairly sporty chassis in Midnight Edition trim. Not only do the 19” rims look great, but they are also shod in impressive Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres. These won’t be cheap to replace, but they really liven up the feel of the Qashqai. This sportiness is seriously at odds with what is a rather bland transmission.
WHEN ON A TEST DRIVE:
If you’re a traditionalist, I think you are really going to enjoy what the Qashqai Midnight Edition has to offer. If you want the latest and greatest in super-tech I would skip the test drive altogether.