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Qash and Carry – 2023 Nissan Qashqai Ti-L ePOWER Review

Its hard to believe the Nissan Qashqai has been with us for almost 20 years. This mainstay of the Nissan SUV lineup has been a firm favourite, but now it ventures into its third generation. There have been significant upgrades both in tech and in powertrain, particularly on the economy front. The new Qashqai is also bigger all around and offers a new clean-cut look. Let’s see what’s what.

Straight away, its easy to see just how far the latest Qashqai is from the outgoing model, particularly when it comes to looks. Whereas the previous generation was, in my view, a tad bland, the new car is anything but. You have the boomerang daytime running lights coupled with new LED matrix headlights. You also get a new two-tone roof, new stamped Qashqai branding, new LED taillights and a set of 19-inch alloys which complete the ensemble well. Overall, the Qashqai looks good.

The new Qashqai consists of four different spec levels. These range from the entry point ST to my test car, the flagship Ti-L. This will set you back $64,990 plus ORC, but you do get all the fruit. However, more on that in a tick.

Sitting under the bonnet is Nissan’s ePOWER electric hybrid system. Think of this like a halfway point between a conventional hybrid and a full BEV. Basically, you have a 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine which acts as a generator for the 1.97kW battery pack and single electric motor. The petrol engine provides go for the battery which channels it through the electric motor, to the front wheels. In terms of power, the Qashqai produces 140kW/300Nm of torque and will return a remarkably frugal 5.8L/100km while churning out 130g/km of CO2.

Hop inside and prepare for the most refined Qashqai cabin yet. There is a real sense of refinement and quality here. The switchgear feels better put together than before and there is plenty of head and legroom for those in the front and rear. The quilted leather seats also hold you nicely in place and offer plenty of lateral support. Boot space is also generous at 504L.

The Ti-L’s new 12.3-inch screen brings the Qashqai’s infotainment system right up to date. Sure, the older systems did a good job but looked rather dated when compared to rivals. The new system is very clear and concise, allowing you to cycle through menus quickly while showing sharp graphics.

Now onto that aforementioned fruit. Nissan have thrown plenty of toys at the Qashqai, particularly the Ti-L. My test car came with Dual Zone Climate Control, Wireless Charging, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, Heated and Ventilated Front Seats, Intelligent Park Assist, Heated Leather Steering Wheel, Handsfree Power Tailgate, a 10.8” Head-Up Display, Ambient Door Lighting, Panoramic Roof and a 10-speaker BOSE stereo system to name a few. The last option did a mighty fine job of giving audible justice to the dulcet tones of David Bowie or the blasting vocals of The Jam.

Nissan’s Intelligent Mobility is also on hand, providing a great suite of safety aids including Intelligent Rear Automatic Braking, Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Intelligent Emergency Braking with pedestrian, cyclist detection and junction assist, Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning and Adapative Cruise Control. The latter is incorporated as part of Nissan’s ProPILOT feature which keeps you straight safe on motorway journeys.

What amazes me from the get go is just how quiet things are. There is a great level sound deadening and that e-POWER system means it is church like quiet while at a suburban pace. Just like in the Leaf, you have one pedal drive which provides a significant amount of regenerative braking, bringing you to a stop rather quickly.

While this means you won’t be needing that brake pedal when slowing to an intersection, the intensity of the braking regeneration can be a tad overwhelming on occasion. Sure, this is a big plus when lifting off the throttle on a downhill stretch of road, but for around town, sliding down from D to B on the shifter was just fine with me.

Anyway, back to the drive itself. The e-POWER set up is remarkably civilized and so supple. If you feel the temptation to flex your right shoe, you can even zip along quite briskly as well. Now and again the petrol engine ‘generator’ will fire up and switch off depending on the level of charge you have in the battery. Its almost seamless when this happens and when its running, the petrol engine hums quietly away in the background. It also does a fine job of getting you a full charge in quick succession.

You do have the option of running on solely electric power by choosing ‘EV’ mode, provided you have enough juice in the battery. Really only designed for low speeds, ‘EV’ mode does make plenty of difference though when it comes to significantly reducing time spent and the pump.

Ride comfort is decent too, with only the most severe bumps and potholes being even marginally noticeable. It also fares well on the handling front, with body roll kept minimal. The steering is also nicely weighted, achieving a good mix of responsiveness and lightness. Around town commuting is a doddle thanks to this and once you leave the urban jungle and hit SH1, you can enjoy eating up the miles thanks to the silent running of an EV power unit. Well, a sort of EV power unit anyway.

It honestly got to a point where I was struggling to find considerable drawbacks with the new Qashqai. Thanks to this onslaught of new technology, fresh styling cues and the fuel economy gains of ePOWER, the Qashqai has been elevated to being one of the standouts in this vastly competitive segment. It also provides an ideal middle ground for someone wanting the best of both ICE and EV motoring. Basically, the Qashqai is a good un, plain and simple.

RATING: 8.5/10

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