2022 Nissan Qashqai 1.3T M-Hybrid Prestige - Growth spurt
Singapore - The previous Qashqai was for a long time, Nissan’s best selling vehicle. It rode high on the rising popularity of SUVs, and also did well against many same-class offerings. The third generation car is bigger, and packs even more power under the hood.
The new Qashqai not only looks more upmarket, it also feels like more effort has gone into its build quality. You are greeted with sharper pen strokes, and clean defining lines. Nissan has taken its present design language further, with a new approach to its “V-Motion” grille. You can also choose between a single colour scheme, or go two-tone, like what we have on our test car - a very pretty Magnetic Blue and Super Black combo.
While the Qashqai may have grown significantly in size, the boffins at Nissan have taken pains to keep the weight of their C Segment SUV down. A few finger taps on the bodywork reveal that its doors, front fenders and also its bonnet, are made of lightweight aluminium. The switch means that Qashqai’s overall weight has been reduced by some 60kg, and Nissan says that stiffness has also increased by 41 percent.
2022 Nissan Qashqai 1.3T M-Hybrid Prestige - Inside
Unlike compact-sized Nissan cars I have evaluated just a generation ago, everything here comes together in a good way. There is a very obvious bump in quality, and we feel that it is arguably on-par with some rival sub-luxury “Conti” offerings. The 9-inch infotainment touchscreen (probably the best looking among Japanese brands), which fronts their NissanConnect system, is extremely user friendly, and offers connectivity to both Apple and Android mobile devices. There is also built-in SatNav, which means that you do not really have to link your phone if you need to use this feature. A wireless charging pad is also standard, making things neat when you want to charge your phone.
Behind the wheel, there is a 12.3-inch TFT instrument display, with two customisable views, and we like that Nissan had also included a 10.8-inch HUD, which projects onto the windshield, instead of onto a retractable screen.
The entry ‘Premium’ variant of the Qashqai receives less in-terms of tech, making do with an 8-inch infotainment, sans the built-in SatNav, and it loses both the digital instrument gauges and HUD. Also, you will not have that very useful wireless charging pad… Oh phooey…
At 4,425mm, the third generation Qashqai may be only 30mm longer than the car it replaces, but with some clever packaging, it does seem noticeably bigger on the inside. At the front, occupants benefit from more shoulder room, while those in the rear get 20mm extra knee wriggle space. It is also more “family practical” with the rear doors being able to swing open to almost 90 degrees, which means an easier time for those who need to strap their kids into their child seats.
In the boot, there is a double floor where the floorboards also function as cargo organiser, somewhat similar to what you can find in a Volvo XC40. This allows you to split the 504 litre cargo area into two compartments. Think sports gear first, and groceries later on.
2022 Nissan Qashqai 1.3T M-Hybrid Prestige - The drive
A 1.3 litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which is shared with the Renault Captur and the A-Class Mercedes-Benz (and its related siblings), powers the Qashqai. This gets an additional boost from a 12-volt mild-hybrid system.
Since this is Singapore, the Qashqai now with 157PS and 270Nm of torque, needs a more costly Category B COE.
While the small 1.3 litre engine might be shared with Mercedes-Benz, Nissan had chosen to stick with a CVT, as opposed to a DCT found in the “Merc”. While CVTs tend to be less engaging, I am glad that this transmission is more reactive than on the previous Qashqai, being capable of delivering spirited take-offs from the lights. What came unexpected though, were engine revs being kept reasonably low (CVTs tend to hold the engine at 4,000rpms, under firm acceleration, while it works to bring the car up to speed).
Also, that notorious roughness we expected, which is commonly found in compact Mercedes-Benz cars using this same engine, was not present in the Qashqai. There are some less pleasant things though. As speed builds, the CVT begins swapping virtual cogs, which makes the driving experience not as smooth as it should be. Also, at crawling speeds, when you lift off the accelerator and go back on shortly after, you do get a rather unpleasant judder..
Jerks aside, the Qashqai still feels even more refined than we’d expect. If you are someone in a GLA, and happen to come alongside one of these, you can be sure that its occupants are travelling in better comfort, and in greater silence (especially since both cars use the same engine).
Slip the car around the bends with some added pace, you will find that there is a bit of body roll, since the suspension is tuned for comfort; however, the Qashqai feels composed for its height, in-part thanks to a rear multi-link suspension. Interestingly, the ‘Premium’ variant has to make do with a simple torsion beam setup, which will also deal you a less pleasant ride over rougher patches.
There is a $13,000 difference between the ‘Premium’ and upmarket ‘Prestige’ model, and it might put some buyers off. But you do get quite a list of goodies with the latter. Beyond what additional extras which were earlier mentioned, the Nissan Intelligent Mobility suite on the ‘Prestige’ also has more features, which includes in the mix, the all-important Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and you also get Adaptive Cruise Control (maybe not the best, but yeah you have it).
Competition here is stiff, since every brand has its own take on what a C Segment SUV should be, including cars like the Hyundai Tucson, Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross, Citroen C5 Aircross and Peugeot 3008.
PHOTOS Clifford Chow
Nissan Qashqai 1.3T M-Hybrid Prestige
Engine 1332cc, inline4, turbocharged
Fuel Consumption 5.5l/100km