By Asian Journal Auto Editor

Introduced for Canada in 2018, the Qashqai enters the Nissan lineup between the cool, left- field looking Juke CUV and the popular Nissan Rogue. Looks wise, there is an angular edgy design to the Qashqai, and it fits right in to the Nissan CUV lineup The Qashqai arrives in Canada in three trims lines – S, SV, and SL. Front-wheel drive is available on S and SV grades. Qashqai SV and SL grades include Nissan Intelligent Key, a push-button start, and optional Bose audio system with nine speakers – are featured to the SL trim for 2019. Interior wise, there is a deeper centre console with an integral armrest and a 12-volt power outlet. Only one engine is offered for now, it is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder rated at a 141 horsepower and 147 lb-ft of torque. The Qashqai is based on the same architecture as the popular Nissan Rogue, is smaller exterior wise, but does not compromise on interior space or cargo room behind the rear seats. Nissan claim best-in-class cargo with the rear seats folded. Pricing for the new Qashqai starts at $19,998 for the S trim with front-wheel drive and six-speed manual transmission, with a CVT automatic optional. Upgrades continue as you move up from the S AWD, SV FWD or AWD, and SL AWD, all with CVT, with the top SL AWD at $31,198.

As per usual- with Nissan, Technology features are high with Bluetooth and a rear-view camera are standard on all trims, while a seven-inch touch-screen with NissanConnect Navi, comes in at the SL level as we tested. The Qashqai arrives with a number of segment leading as standard and optional high technology driver-assist features such as Nissan’s Pro Pilot Assist, semi-autonomous driving system. Our tester was outfitted with as standard safety features such as: intelligent cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, intelligent lane intervention, LEd headlights and high beam assist. Base price for our SL test model was $31,548. Options added another $2,400. Total MRSP with options, freight and PDE came to $35,548.

The Qashqai interior features a cool, neat handsome design. The dashboard in particular is very well executed with a good blend of form and function. Instruments are legible and a five inch display touchscreen is standard with an optional seen inch upgrade screen for some models. The quality of the plastics is high with some hard and soft touch textures Seats are also comfortable and well proportioned. Moving to the rear, back seat room is fairly roomy. Cargo space is also very good with – 649 litres available with the seat duo and 1730 seats folded on the S trim.  Nissans handy underfloor Divide-and-Hide cargo system also adds to the versatility

On the road, the Qashqai offers impressive performance for its class. The four-cylinder mill offers 141 horsepower at 6,000RPM and 147 lb-ft. of torque at 4,400RPM, and arrives with either a six-speed manual gearbox or the Xtronic CVT (Continuously variable transmission) as on our tester. The Qashqai offers decent road holding and light, responsive steering. The four-cylinder engine is a smooth unit, and it seems like there have been some improvement in the CVT transmission as it is more refined with smoother transitions. The available AWD automatically varies front/rear torque as required, and also has an AWD Lock feature for low speeds on rougher terrains. Fuel economy wise, the all-wheel-drive, Qashqai with the CVT is rated at 9.1L/100km in the city and 7.5L/100km on the highway. Front-drive manual models are rated at 10.0L/100km city and 8.1L/100km highway, and front-drive CVT Qashqai’s can do 9.10L/100km city and 7.6L/100km highway.

To sum up, with competition very high in the subcompact crossover class, but the 2018 Nissan Qashqai will do very well I predict in this sector. With its sleek looks, a wide choice of models with good as standard and optional equipment, the Qashqai is highly a highly attractive option for families. Add the availability of all wheel drive and a manual transmission and Nissan’s reputation for reliability, and it’s a tempting buy. Highly recommended.

2019 Nissan Qashqai priced from $19,998. Price as tested for SL AWD ($31,198) plus options, freight and PDE – $35,548.