Nissan Qashqai e-power review: a different approach to save fuel

Nissan Qashqai e-power review: a different approach to save fuel
  • PublishedApril 25, 2024

Sales of hybrid SUVs are soaring and Nissan is looking to get a slice of the action with its new Qashqai e-Power.

VALUE

Nissan has made the odd call of only offering hybrid power in the top-of-the-range Ti model. At roughly $56,000 drive-away, it is more expensive than all its main hybrid rivals. Buyers can also choose a hybrid version of the bigger X-Trail for less money. The hybrid costs $4200 more than its petrol equivalent but justifies that premium with better performance, efficiency and refinement. The cabin is modern looking and well built, with crisp screen graphics, quality soft-touch materials and impressive technology. The large centre screen is complemented by a customisable digital instrument panel and a heads-up display. In-car entertainment includes smartphone mirroring, a wireless phone charging pad, front and rear charging ports, digital radio and a 10-speaker Bose audio unit. The seats have leather accents and the front two are power-adjustable, while ambient lighting lifts the mood at night. Services are relatively expensive, but the hybrid model costs less over five years than the petrol versions. Service intervals are shorter, though, at 10,000km

COMFORT

Nissan dials up the creature comforts in its top-of-the-range model. The front seats have adjustable lumbar support, heating and a massaging function for reducing aches on longer drives. The driver’s seat has a memory function that allows you to store settings for different drivers and there’s a soft pad to rest your knee on. Rear-seat legroom and headroom is generous for the class and there are individual air vents in the second row. The rear doors have wide openings that make it easier to load young ones into their car seats and the rear tailgate opens and closes at the press of a button, which is handy when your hands are full. The load area has a false floor for storing items out of sight. Radar cruise control reduces fatigue on long trips. The hybrid set-up is smooth and quiet around town, while the suspension soaks up bumps and corrugations with little fuss.

The interior is well put together, with a mix of leather and hi-tech gadgetry. Picture: Supplied.

The interior is well put together, with a mix of leather and hi-tech gadgetry. Picture: Supplied.

SAFETY

The Qashqai has more advanced driver assistance technology than many rivals. It ticks the boxes with auto emergency braking, lane-keep and blind-spot assist, rear cross-traffic alert with braking and traffic-sign recognition. But it also intervenes if it thinks you’re drifting into the path of another car on the freeway. The intervention is quite forceful and takes some getting used to. There are seven airbags, including one to stop the driver and passenger banging heads in a side-impact accident. At low speeds it emits a sound to warn pedestrians. The Qashqai scored five stars in 2021 crash testing, scoring 91 per cent for adult occupant protection, 93 per cent for child occupant protection and 97 per cent for driver assistance.

The Qashqai feels ell balanced through the corners. Picture: Supplied.

The Qashqai feels ell balanced through the corners. Picture: Supplied.

ON THE ROAD

Nissan has taken a different approach with its hybrid technology. While most rivals have an electric motor and battery to boost the petrol engine, usually at take off and when cruising on the highway, the Qashqai’s electric motor takes the lead role. It drives the wheels, while the petrol engine merely serves as a generator to replenish the battery. That means it drives a lot like an electric vehicle, with a strong, silent and smooth surge off the mark when you press the accelerator. The petrol engine can be heard from time to time when it kicks in to charge the battery but for the most part it isn’t noticeable. The Qashqai feels nimble through the corners for an SUV, with good body control, accurate steering and a well-sorted ride. It is slightly thirstier than other hybrids but it is easy to match the official fuel-use claim.

There is an optional two-tone colour scheme. Picture: Supplied.

There is an optional two-tone colour scheme. Picture: Supplied.

ALTERNATIVES

Toyota Corolla Cross Atmos, from about $51,419 drive-away. Cabin is slightly smaller and a little plain looking but cheaper and more fuel efficient.

Hyundai Kona Hybrid Premium, about $52,400 drive-away. Down on power but modern, well equipped cabin and exceptional fuel efficiency.

Honda ZR-V e: HEV LX, about $54,900 drive-away. Slightly cheaper with a classy cabin, good driving manners, similar power and better fuel use.

NISSAN QASHQAI TI e-POWER

PRICE About $56,000 drive-away

ENGINE 1.5-litre turbo petrol electric, 140kW/330Nm

WARRANTY/SERVICING Five years/unlimited km, $2007 for five years (prepaid)

SAFETY Seven airbags, auto emergency braking, lane-departure and blind-spot assist, rear cross-traffic alert, radar cruise, traffic sign recognition

THIRST 5.2L/100km

SPARE Tyre repair kit

LUGGAGE 452 litres

VERDICT

Three and a half stars

A quality cabin, good driving manners and impressive fuel economy but the price is a stretch.

SOURCE: NEWS.COM

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