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Nissan Qashqai finishes sixth in our small SUV megatest

By Tom Fraser, 19 Mar 2020 Reviews

2020 Nissan Qashqai small SUV megatest

Stylish euro goes large, inside and out

Final Position: 6th

Score: 7/10

5 0 5

Plus & Minus

  1. Plus Effective CVT; space; economy; design; comfort

  2. Minus Dated infotainment; pricing; so-so driving experience

The hard-fought battleground of the small SUV is littered with cars vying for your attention, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to offer a unique entrant, especially at the lower end of the price spectrum.

The UK-built Nissan Qashqai ST does things differently, though, presenting more like a medium SUV that majors on practicality while also offering the drive experience of a more substantial crossover.

2020 Nissan Qashqai steering

Each Qashqai in the range comes with a naturally aspirated 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine that produces 106kW/200Nm. The $29,490 ST we have on test includes a CVT, which is impressive in how it steplessly arranges the appropriate revs to keep things near the modest summit of the power curve. Even then it’s the equal slowest-accelerating car on test, highlighting the fact that – in this 1375kg crossover at least – there just aren’t enough herbs in that 2.0-litre unit to go around. On the flipside, although it’s one of the bigger cars here, the Qashqai returned a respectable 8.6L/100km fuel consumption average, aided by the undoubted efficiency of that CVT.

Despite being one of the larger SUVs in this particular class, the ST still offers a keen change of direction and is easy to manoeuvre about town thanks to light (though lifeless) steering and a fairly wide track. However, there’s not much in the way of a fun steer to be had and the Nissan displayed a particularly late ESC intervention a number of times on test, especially over gravel where we rated it as the worst.

Read next: The next Nissan Z car: everything you need to know

2020 Nissan Qashqai examined

Its lack of dynamic prowess is compensated by a well-packaged and practical interior with quality touchpoints. A quite lovely flat-bottomed, leather-wrapped steering wheel features clear controls, and the instrument cluster contains a neat colour display showing driving data and a digital speed readout (unlike the Suzuki Vitara) between the speedometer and tacho.

There’s a commanding driving position and the ride quality is fairly supple, even with four adults on board. Those sitting in the back are also well catered for in terms of space, with decent leg and head room, as well as space to tuck in feet, but something that may annoy taller people is the low-mounted seat base which has knees waving about in space. Plus, while road noise is mostly kept in check, there’s a degree of reverberation in the second row which can grate on longer drives.

The rear pews aren't quite as luxurious as those up front, either. The door cards are hard and the black plastic door handles aren’t the nicest to use. There's also a gaping hole in the centre console bin where rear air vents would reside in higher-spec variants.

Read next: Nissan Qashqai gains Android Auto/ Apple CarPlay

2020 Nissan Qashqai interior

The infotainment system on our base Nissan struggled to connect to a phone through Bluetooth and the system itself is far from the most intuitive of this group thanks to clumsy menus and poor graphics.

While the Qashqai is not as cleverly packaged as the Honda HR-V, there’s no shortage of space. The boot which is a capacious 430 litres – one of the largest in this segment.

Considering its $29,490 spend, it’s hard to excuse some of the Qashqai’s weaker points, such as the infotainment, and the drive it offers is not sufficiently engaging to compensate. However, its roomy interior and the bold statement its external dimensions make on-road ensure it retains appeal as an ownership proposition.

Read next: Boot sizes of Australia's favourite SUVs

 2020 Nissan Qashqai rear

Nissan Qashqai ST specs

Price: $29,490

Engine: 1997cc 4cyl, dohc, 16v

Power: 106kW @ 6000rpm

Torque: 200Nm @ 4400rpm

Transmission: CVT

Dimensions [L/W/H/WB]: 4394/1806/1595/2646mm

Weight: 1375kg

Cargo capacity: 430L

Tyres: Bridgestone Desert Dueler H/P 215/60R17

Economy: 8.6L/100km (tested)

0-100km/h: 10.5sec (tested)

80-120km/h: 8.5sec (tested)

100-0km/h: 39.8m (tested)

ANCAP rating: 5 stars


2020 Small SUV Megatest




Score 6/10 
Score 6.5/10 
Score 6.5/10 
Score 7/10 
Score 7.5/10 
Score 7.5/10 
Mazda CX-3 MAZDA CX-3
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Braking Data


Fuel Efficiency