Nissan Qashqai Review: 2014 TS Diesel

Vehicle Style: Small SUV
Price: $33,200
Engine/trans: 96kW/320Nm 1.6 turbo diesel 4cyl | CVT automatic
Fuel Economy claimed: 4.9 l/100km | tested: 6.6 l/100km


Nissan’s latest addition to its ever-evolving range of SUVs, the Qashqai, is arguably one of the brand’s best cars to date - particularly in the mid-grade diesel trim tested here.
Don’t recognise the name? That’s because the Dualis moniker has been dropped in favour of the European-market Qashqai badge.
But that’s not all that’s changed. Equipment levels are up, the interior has been modernised and the diesel now gets an automatic CVT gearbox as standard.
Across the board, this is a car that’s greatly improved over the model that preceded it.
We liked it during the local launch, and after spending a week at the wheel of the Qashqai TS diesel, we like it even more.
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  • Standard features: Leather steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, cruise control, keyless entry and ignition, reversing camera, rain-sensing wipers, dusk-sensing headlamps
  • Infotainmet: 6-speaker AM/FM/CD audio with 5-inch colour display, USB audio input, iPod compatibility, NissanConnect smartphone interface with Pandora, Facebook and Google search apps.
  • Cloth upholstery, leather steering wheel
  • Boot capacity - 430 litres seats up, 1585 litres seats down.
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Interior quality is high; compared to its predecessor the Qashqai carries a distinctly more premium look and feel to the interior.
There’s a leather-bound steering wheel, padded centre-console sides, upholstered armrests in the doors and atop the console box.
There's a level of fit and finish that’s generally hard to fault.
The adoption of an electronic parking brake also frees up a lot of space on the centre console, which is appreciated in a car of this size.
However, its placement right under the centre stack can make it a little hard to reach.
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The manually-adjusted front seats are well-bolstered and comfortable, and the driving position gives a good view of what’s ahead.
The Pandora and Google Search apps - the latter of which brings a cut-down sat-nav functionality - refused to activate.
Though it’s smaller than the X-Trail, the Qashqai still boasts a sizable 430 litre boot capacity, expandable to 1585 litres by dropping the 60/40 split rear seats.
A false floor also boosts cargo carrying options, and can provide under-floor storage for small/flat items, act as a cargo divider for shopping bags, or both at the same time.
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  • 96kW/320Nm 1.6 litre turbo diesel inline four
  • Continuously Variable Transmission, front-wheel drive
  • MacPherson strut front, multi-link rear suspension
  • Disc brakes all around. Electronic parking brake
We know this 1.6 litre diesel from the outgoing Dualis, and outputs haven’t changed from that model’s 96kW and 320Nm.
However, while that model was strictly a manual-only offering, the situation is reversed for the Qashqai diesel.
A CVT automatic is now the sole transmission offering, which should see the Qashqai’s diesel models account for a greater proportion of sales.
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The new car is front-wheel-drive only (there are no AWD models in the Qashqai range), but the new CVT works a treat with the 1.6 litre diesel.
All 320Nm of torque is available from just 1750rpm, which makes the Qashqai TS an effortless performer. Few revs are needed for it to step along smartly, and it barely breaks a sweat up hills.
The petrol, by contrast, needs plenty of revs on board if you want to get moving quickly, and, though it's on-par for the segment, performance is relaxed rather than zesty.
The CVT does exhibit some strange quirks though.

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