Elise Bennetts holds down two full-time jobs: She’s a mother to three kids, has a dog and a husband, all of whom are highly active and demanding. She also works full-time in a social enterprise looking after disadvantaged young people. It is a full life – one that she wouldn’t ever trade.
What is it?
The Nissan Qashqai (I did ask 10 people how to say it and no one got it right - ‘Cash-Kye’ - so we instead introduced it as ‘this is our Nissan’) is a five seat small SUV aimed at young singles or those with up to two young children. I’m struggling to see how it’d fit more than two car seats and a pram plus shopping, but thinking back a decade… at roughly $38,000 for the Qashqai Ti I’m testing… it would have been perfect for us when we had our first child.
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What's it like to drive?
The Qashqai’s keyless entry and push button start was a nice surprise as I eased into the large and comfortable leather driver’s seat. I have to say, it’s what I didn’t hear that makes it a joy to drive – it’s so quiet compared to my Volvo XC90 that a couple of times I forgot to turn it off before exiting the car. The Qashqai did feel a tad slow at take-off but once it gets going the acceleration is smooth and when I did put my foot down on the freeway the required speed uplift was there.
The Qashqai’s small footprint makes it a breeze in the shopping centres. It’s small enough to fit into the smallest of car spots and I fear not about hitting anything. There are sensors on every corner of this car – it feels like you have invisible cushions back and front. The reversing camera is great for the view and the angles, which makes it very easy to park – and I love the overhead view!
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For the week I had the Nissan, Melbourne decided to put together a combination of bitterly cold weather and torrential rain. The front seat warmers were therefore possibly the week’s best feature – the high setting was as warm as one would require, but perfect after standing out in the cold watching three club footy games.
What's it like to live with?
My initial impression was that it would never suit my family - with a six- foot 16-yo boy, a 14-yo girl and a 10-yo boy. I was concerned about the interior and how we would possibly fit everybody plus three school bags, two sports bags, a trumpet and my work stuff for morning drop offs. The interior is surprisingly spacious; legroom in the back did not require my teenagers to perform yoga moves, and the boot, whilst small - with Tetris-like manoeuvring we soon mastered drops offs with ease.
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The first thing I do when I get into a new car is connect my phone, and the Bluetooth functioning on the colour touch screen took me all of 2 minutes to master. A sigh of relief came over quickly when I also opened the console to find a USB connection for phone charging – yes, my life is on my phone!
The radio did not have my station of choice as a pre-saved selection but a quick automatic tune had my songs up and going, and the teens squealed with delight when they discovered that song titles and album art are displayed on the touchscreen.
I have to mention that the ‘gold class cinema’ sunroof spanning from front window to back seats was a definite highlight for passengers and driver alike. Not only did it provide an enormous amount of interior light, it sparked many conversations about cloud formations and aircraft flyovers – great for keeping kids entertained on longer trips. I did think however, that if a flock of seagulls took aim the view would not have been so incredible and the automatic cover would have had to be deployed immediately.
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At night, the interior lighting and display panel are easy to navigate, the side safety lights were easily sighted - especially on the freeway in torrential rain in the dark. When picking up kids in said torrential rain, one feature, which is missing is an automatic boot - maybe we have been spoilt with this feature in previous cars we have driven, but it does save a lot of hassle.
Is it worth the money?
At around $38,000 this car is a comfortable small SUV. It certainly has most of the latest safety technology – airbags, sensors, and for a low to mid-range SUV I think if you were a single or family of up to four the Nissan Qashqai is a sensible purchase.
Pros: Good value, connectivity is easy, roomy for its size, quiet, great dashboard display
Cons: a little slow off the mark, too many alerts when parking, Bali motorbike sounding horn!
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars – Not quite perfect for my big family, but easy to see how a smaller family or singles would love it.
PS: Every car needs a song and the Nissan Qashqai review is brought to you by “It’s a Beautiful Day”, by Michael Buble. It’s a bit of a daggy song but gets your foot tapping, and whilst a little slow at the start the song picks up as it goes along….that’s the Cash-Kye!