What should have been?
Irvine, California - I’ve never hidden the fact that I’m not a fan of Nissan’s Rogue. Of all their products, the Rogue has always been the least like a modern Nissan: bland, uninspired, and plain looking. This has not stopped the Rogue from being fairly popular with the North American buyer.blog comments powered by Disqus
My main issue with our Rogue has long been the subject of this review: the Qashqai. I’m fortunate enough to travel to Europe a few times a year, and regardless of which country I end up in I see Qashqais everywhere. I now know why.
The Nissan Qashqai is not only far more appealing visually but also more involving once behind the wheel. As with most products aimed at European markets (the Micra is an exception), ride and handling settings are tuned for sharper responses that worked out well on the roads north east of Irvine. The 1.6L diesel is a fine example of power and efficiency, and the cabin is familiar territory, which is a good thing.
I almost want to wish that we’d never had the Rogue and got the Qashqai from the very start, but I need to give the ’14 Rogue seen at the Nissan 360, a chance first.
What is a Nissan Qashqai?
The 2014 Nissan Qashqai is qualified in certain market as the ultimate urban car. Over on our shores, it would be considered a compact crossover given its tall-ish stature and 5-door body configuration -- an equivalent to our Rogue.
In fact, the Rogue and Qashqai share the same platform and therefore resemble each other size-wise. This also explains why the 2014 Rogue will now feature a 3rd row of seats as the Qashqai is offered with a +2 configuration.
2014 Nissan Qashqai Price and Specs
In the United Kingdom, the Qashqai is offered at a staring price of £16,895 or at 20,540€ in France. My tester was a 1.6L dci diesel FWD with the 6-speed manual gearbox. As best as I can make out, the retail prices are at £23, 590 or 27,010€ in each country respectively.
Obviously, and as with the Micra, these are astronomical sums for this type of vehicle on this side of the Atlantic Ocean. In order to be competitive, a base Qashqai could not sport a base price of more than $24,000, like the Rogue, in Canada.
The Qashqai can be ordered with no less than five engine and three transmission choices. My tester sported the mid-range 1.6L diesel engine good for 130 horsepower. Both 5- and 6-speed manual transmissions are standard depending on trim, while a CVT and AWD are optional.
Driving the Nissan Qashqai
I was not disappointed with my time at the wheel of the Nissan Qashqai. As I stated earlier, this is a vehicle aimed at the European and Japanese (as the Dualis) markets where handling typically trumps comfort.
The ride proved very taut providing expected excellent handling abilities for this type of vehicle. On the smoother, twistier stretches, the Qashqai danced with confidence. On the whole, the suspension’s firmness would have to be dialed back for North America.
In line with the ride, steering was quick and direct, perfectly matched to the chassis’ tuning. The Nissan Qashqai’s 4-wheel discs were easily up to the task, and I especially appreciated the middle pedal’s response and feel.
The turbo diesel 1.6L dci engine affords the Qashqai with better than decent off-the-line acceleration. On some of the steeper mountain passes, a little more oomph would have been valued, hence why I would suspect that the larger 150 horsepower 2.0L dci engine would be the only diesel to come our way, should that ever be the case.
Shifting is a pleasure in the 2014 Nissan Qashqai as the shifter’s six throws are short and sharp. Throttle and brake pedal placement is fair for those who enjoy heel-toeing.
Inside and Out of the 2014 Nissan Qashqai
The 2014 Nissan Qashqai has a very trendy and current Nissan design, whereas the current 2013 Nissan Rogue sports an especially insipid and (let’s face it) uninspired shape. Thankfully, the 2014 Rogue addresses the issue.
The principal differences come from the front quarters of the Qashqai which feature a strong hood line, and squat shoulders. Again, let’s give the 2014 Rogue a chance…
The 2014 Nissan Qashqai’s cabin is a near carbon copy of the 2013 Rogue’s. This translates into fair to spot-on ergonomics, decent build and assembly quality and comfortable front seats. Trunk space is quite good, in line with what would be its competition.
Comparing the 2014 Nissan Qashqai
The 2014 Nissan Qashqai would make (or is that would have?) a killing in its segment, as would the Micra.
It would challenge the likes of the Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, Mazda CX-5, and others. It is clear that this is a tough category to crack, and I’m not saying that the Qashqai would clean up but it would have done better than the Rogue. As we all know, attractive styling is vital and the Qashqai has it.
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