The Nissan ST is the entry-level offering in the Qashqai range.
The Nissan ST is the entry-level offering in the Qashqai range. Photography by Mitchell Oke

Basement is where the price is right for Nissan Qashqai

BOG stock. Basement. Entry-level. They're not typically phrases you'll see the marketing types embracing in the glossy brochures.

This is where the fiscally savvy buyers are shopping as it's typically where the range starts and the price point is what entices buyers into showrooms.

Nissan's Qashqai is the brand's second biggest seller behind X-Trail, and is among the compact SUV segment's most popular offerings with lovely proportions and a starting price of $26,990 for the ST variant.

Add $2000 for the automatic transmission, which is what about 90-odd per cent of buyers do, and the Qashqai becomes an alluring buy for the young and young at heart.

The Nissan Qashqai ST.
The Nissan Qashqai ST. Photography by Mitchell Oke

VALUE

Often it's the range middle ground which proves best bang for buck, but the "ST+” is a $6000 jump over this entrees to the range.

Hard-wearing black cloth seats and a basic interior indicate its position in the range, basic five-inch colour touchscreen, phone and audio streaming connected to a six-speaker stereo with a CD player (that's becoming a rarity), push-button start, as well as a leather-accented steering wheel and shift knob.

From the outside it doesn't look like you've skimped, with 17-inch alloys, LED daytime running lights, a sharkfin antenna along with body-coloured door handles.

Nissan recently joined the five-year unlimited kilometre warranty party, joining the likes of Volkswagen, Ford, Mazda and Toyota. That's still two years short of the mainstream leader, Kia.

Servicing will cost at least $1817 over the first six services if you go back to the dealer, with maintenance needed annually or every 10,000km.

Complimentary colour options are ivory, black, silver, gun metallic, bronze, red and blue.

Accessories are the only add-on extras, among the options are aluminium side steps ($1055), cargo barrier ($680), floor mats ($145) and towbar ($980).

The Nissan ST is the entry-level offering in the Qashqai range.
The Nissan ST is the entry-level offering in the Qashqai range.

SAFETY

Australia's crash testing agency awarded the Qashqai five stars in 2017.

It achieved the status courtesy of dual frontal, side chest and side head-protecting airbags, along with autonomous emergency braking which can slow or stop the car if a frontal impact is detected. It also comes with front and rear parking sensors and lane departure warning.

Technology has rapidly improved in this realm, and some base models around the price range also have radar cruise control, which keeps the vehicle a safe distance from other cars in front, along with autonomous braking when reversing.

The Nissan ST is the entry-level offering in the Qashqai range.
The Nissan ST is the entry-level offering in the Qashqai range. Photography by Mitchell Oke

COMFORT

Sitting the compact realm of SUVs, the Qashqai has reasonable space for a growing family or for those who regularly carry adult passengers.

Nothing too technical means finding your way around the dash and operations is simple.

Soft touch plastics and a high build quality make for a pleasant cabin.

Among the big omissions is the lack of Apple CarPlay or Android Auto - both have become standard inclusions in most vehicles nowadays and drastically improve the infotainment functionality. Once experienced you never go back. The next generation of the Juke will have the smartphone mirroring apps, but Nissan says it can't be retrofitted.

The driver has a central digital display which can be configured to show various information, including caller ID when smartphones are connected, audio information and parking sensor details. It's flanked by an analogue tachometer and speedometer.

Boot space is useful 430 litres (the Mazda CX-3 offers 264, a Mitsubishi ASX has 393, while Hyundai's Kona is 361), and the ability to drop the rear seat in a 60-40 format enabled accommodation three suitcases and one adult bike.

The Nissan ST is the entry-level offering in the Qashqai range.
The Nissan ST is the entry-level offering in the Qashqai range.

DRIVING

Quarter mile entries can be put on hold. The 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine is steady and reliable. Fast it is not.

All aspects of the performance remain satisfactory while never completely disappointing nor impressing.

With cabin noise reasonably well insulated, only coarse bitumen generates a rumble, the primary struggles come under acceleration. Jump on the right pedal and the Qashqai whines as it aims to keep pace.

Careful use of the acceleration returns smooth operation while the handling is confident and easy.

Being a front-wheel drive means gravel is the toughest terrain this variant will tackle, but that would no doubt suit most buyers.

The Nissan ST is the entry-level offering in the Qashqai range.
The Nissan ST is the entry-level offering in the Qashqai range. Photography by Mitchell Oke

HEAD SAYS

The numbers stack up and while some rivals have improved technology the simplicity of the Qashqai appeals. Even if the name is hard to pronounce (which apparently in honour of a semi-nomadic tribe from the southwestern mountains of Iran).

HEART SAYS

There are less expensive SUVs around but this and European good looks and doesn't break the bank.

The Nissan ST is the entry-level offering in the Qashqai range.
The Nissan ST is the entry-level offering in the Qashqai range. Photography by Mitchell Oke

ALTERNATIVES

MITSUBISHI ASX ES $26,490 D/A

Selling primarily off price, the performance from this 110kw/197Nm 2.0-litre 4-cyl can also be underwhelming. Safety advantages include lane change assist as well as rear cross traffic alert, while it also has the smartphone apps missing from the Qashqai.

MAZDA CX-3 NEO SPORT

Powered by a 2.0-litre 110kW/195Nm 4cyl petrol engine, it's the most polished of this lot. Tiny boot counts against it, which partly explains the new CX-30 coming soon.

The Nissan ST is the entry-level offering in the Qashqai range.
The Nissan ST is the entry-level offering in the Qashqai range.

VERDICT

European good looks, spacious interior and a brilliant-size boot, the Qashqai offers the best of many worlds. The performance isn't scintilating, but it's certainly capable in town and on the highway.

AT A GLANCE

NISSAN QASHQAI ST

PRICE $28,990 drive-away (pretty good deal)

WARRANTY/SERVICES 5yr unlim' km w'ty (good), $1817 for six services (OK)

ENGINE 2.0-litre 4-cyl, 106kW/200Nm, 2WD auto CVT (average)

SAFETY 5 stars, 6 airbags, AEB, front and rear sensors, forward collision warning, lane departure warning (missing some items)

THIRST 6.9L/100km (on par)

SPARE Space-saver (not ideal)

BOOT 430 litres (big for this size SUV)


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