2019 Nissan Qashqai ST+.
2019 Nissan Qashqai ST+.

Don’t pay full price for this SUV

Value

At $34,400 drive-away, the Qashqai ST+ would be reasonable value - if Nissan didn't have the entry-level Qashqai ST with auto for $28,990 on the road.

That's the bargain buy but it should mean you can seriously haggle on the price of an ST+, the mid-spec version with a fun-sapping continuously variable transmission.

Over the base ST you get seven-inch touchscreen with digital radio, satnav, 360-degree camera and power and heated mirrors.

That adds to 17-inch alloys, halogen headlights, LED daytime running lights, push button start, Bluetooth and audio streaming. You miss out on such treats as part-leather electric heated seats as found on the $36,999 drive-away ST-L.

No Qashqai has desirable Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity.

The sharp body design is best jazzed up with colour - blue or red metallic adds $595.

Warranty's a decent five-year/unlimited-km, services are cheap at $803 for three-years/30,000km but 10,000km service intervals are short.

For better value, Nissan's larger X-Trail ST 2WD with auto is $32,990 drive-away.

The ST+ is more expensive than some X-Trails.
The ST+ is more expensive than some X-Trails.

Comfort

Cloth seats feel robust and supportive and cabin design, soft-touch plastics and build quality are strong points. It just doesn't feel special.

The dated seven-inch touchscreen trails most rivals and Bluetooth connectivity can be sketchy.

The cabin's well insulated from road noise and it trumps most small SUVs for cabin space, making it a viable family car.

Head and legroom for rear passengers are brilliant, eclipsing smashes sales leaders Mitsubishi ASX and Mazda CX-3.

Disappointingly, there are no rear air vents. The 430L boot won't swallow the kids' bikes but trumps the ASX's 393L and CX-3's 264L.

Safety

It gets a decent tick for the family here, with five-star ANCAP rating, six airbags including full side curtains, two Isofix points, AEB, front and rear sensors, forward collision warning, lane departure warning and a 360-degree camera with Moving Object Detection feature.

The range-topping Ti gets blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert and radar cruise control.

The ST+ comes with a good amount of standard equipment.
The ST+ comes with a good amount of standard equipment.

Driving

Sounds good so far but driver enjoyment is the let-down. The sole engine, a non-turbo 2.0-litre with just 106kW/200Nm, delivers few thrills.

It handles competently, cruises peacefully on its 17-inch wheels but takes an age to get up to speed. The transmission whines when pushed and there are no paddle-shifters to give you a say.

It's front-drive only so beach or basic bush trips are off the cards. For the school run and city traffic, it's just fine. Claimed thirst is 6.9L/100km; we returned 7.8L

Alternatives

Mazda CX-3 FWD sTouring auto $32,335 drive-away

Smaller but sweeter handling than the Nissan, the CX-3 is a good-looking tiddler but rear seat and boot space are limited. It has a classy cabin and better safety and infotainment but servicing is pricier at $1219 over three years.

Skoda Karoq110TSI $35,290 drive-away

As with the Qashqai, the Karoq sits close to the small SUV/medium SUV border. Really roomy inside with a 479L boot, the turbo engine has good urge via the dual-clutch auto. Generous equipment includes adaptive cruise, eight-inch screen and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. Three years' servicing totals $1112.

Hyundai Kona 2WD Elite, $33,266 drive-away

Love-it-or-hate-it styling but Konas certainly stand out. The mid-spec Elite is full of goodies - leather appointed cabin, eight-inch touchscreen, premium audio and long active safety list. For another $3500, you can have a turbo AWD. Services are just $792 over three years.

Verdict 3/5

The ST+ looks overpriced now the entry-level ST is on sale. Even a larger X-Trail ST is cheaper. Bargain hard on one or look at the massive list of quality small SUV rivals.

Nissan Qashqai ST + vitals

Price: $34,400 drive-away

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cyl, 106kW/200Nm

Safety: 5 stars, 6 airbags, AEB, front and rear sensors, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, 360-degree camera

Thirst: 6.9L/100km


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