We drive the fun Nissan Qashqai ST-L

We drive the fun Nissan Qashqai ST-L


Qashqai continues where Dualis left off, and is Nissan’s small SUV in a segment that is rapidly expanding segment that includes LCVs like pickups and utes.

SUVs are up 10.9%, and LCVs 20.3% in a market that is up 4.3% on this time last year. In fact, 3 of the top 5 bet sellers were SUV/LCV vehicles, so it is vital that new models have to get it right.

Qashqai has done that, and done it well. Nissan’s range is almost exclusively SUV/LCV cars now. They’re seen the writing on the wall.

There are 3 models in the Qashqai range, ST, ST-L and N-TEC.


The new model retains the chunky SUV shape of the old model, while adding features to keep the range fresh.

The exterior gets halogen headlights, LED DTRLs (daytime running lights), and LED tail lights. There is a new range of wheels, with the ST-L having 18” in a double-5-spoke design.

The side profile has a coupe-like look, with the waist line kicking up over the muscular rear quarter. Back seat and cargo area windows are darkened for privacy in a style you’d expect in a posh limo.

Lights wrap generously around front and rear to illuminate the car from the side for safety.

Ground clearance is a modest 186mm, so this small SUV is restricted to road duties only.

Body-coloured door handles have external locking pads for the smart entry/start system. Front doors can be locked and unlocked without having to use the key fob.


The cabin is spacious, and feels light and airy. Most of the plastic is good quality, with soft feel material used on light wear areas.

The centre stack houses a 7” touch screen, and manual air conditioning controls, surrounded by a neat piano black bezel. The design is crisp and uncluttered with most of the function split between the infotainment system, and setting controls on the steering wheel.

Some of the trim is metalised plastic, which like the piano black, will scratch easily, but since all manufacturers are doing that look

The steering wheel has a ‘sporty flat bottom” and auxiliary controls for infotainment and cruise control. The simple layout makes them easy to use, with each button being raised of sloped. You need not take your eyes off the road once you know the layout.

Vents are well placed to direct air exactly where desired.

The start button is on the dash behind the wheel, and all buttons and controls are easily reached without having to strain.

Al 4 doors have automatic function for the windows

Seats have new upholstery, with a mix of fabric and leather on the ST-L. Padding is not quite as sumptuous as in X-Trail, but manages to be fairly comfortable none the less.

I was able to get the perfect driving position with enough adjustment on both seat and wheel to be high enough, but close enough  to the controls so as to be easy to use.

There are no automatic wipers or lights on ST-L, nor is there Apple Carplay/Android Auto. Music streaming is by conventional USB and Bluetooth. Pairing is very easy with the system guiding you through the simple process.

TOP TIP: To get the perfect position, set the seat to the height you want, and make the steering wheel a comfortable height. Move it in or out so that when you lay your wrists on the top of the wheel, your shoulders are on the seat back.

It will be right every time.


  • 7” colour touch screen
  • Satellite Navigation
  • Fog lights
  • Advanced Driver’s Instrument Display
  • Smart entry/start
  • 360° view camera with selectable modes and moving object detection
  • Rearview camera with predictive path
  • Intermittent wipers
  • 4 cup holders, 4 bottle holders
  • Flexible cargo system
  • Power drivers seat controls
  • AEB, lane departure warning, forward collision warning


2.0L 4 cylinder,

106kw @ 6,000

200Nm @ 4,400

CVT XTronic automatic with engine braking

Front Wheel Drive

Hill Start Assist


5 stars

Good Bits

Spacious, 360° camera, quick responding infotainment

No So Good Bits

CVT, some plastics feel to hard, no Blind Spot/auto lights/auto wipers


Nissan Qashqai ST-L is a good mix of inclusions VS price, but the driver aids should be range-wide.

The ride is smooth, and the engine nippy enough to be perfect for city work. But, the CVT tends to make the engine scream for mercy with even moderate stressing of the go peddle. Tech such as auto parking is reserved for the top model.

In a tough battle ground like the small SUV segment, I’d have hoped for a cabin brimming with goodies. The omission of CarPlay/Android Auto feels a little careless. I was told on the down-low that Apple and Android integration is coming, but not soon enough.

Even with those few foibles, Qashqai makes a good argument to buyers spoilt for choice.

The cabin was reasonably quiet, but SUV aspirations are restricted to say the least. Front wheel drive cars will only go a very little way off road.

Nissan knows most SUVs never go further than gravel drives, so rather than pack full 4WD into a car only 4,394mm long, weighing 1,392kg, they’ve gone the CVT/Fwd route.

We liked the Qashqai at launch. Read about it here.

Facts and Figures

Price: $32,990

Engine: 2.0L 4cyl, 106kw/200Nm, 6.9L/100k

Transmission: CVT Xtronic with engine braking

Economy: 6.9L/100k

CO2: 159gm/km


2 thoughts on “We drive the fun Nissan Qashqai ST-L

Tell us what you think. We promise to reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s