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New features to enhance the Qashqai

NISSAN has its 2018 year off to a great start with the launch this month of the latest Qashqai, a sleek and stylish two-wheel-drive SUV packed with comfort and intelligent features, with a solid safety base.

The Qashqai has been a steady performer for Nissan for some time, appealing to a wide demographic of buyers. But that has not stopped Nissan from making some additions.

Perhaps the most striking of these is the 360-degree all-round view — part of the five-star maximum possible safety package.

That is far from all.

The new Qashqai ST-L gets satellite navigation, heated front seats, part-leather accented seat trim, and 18-inch alloys, adding greater value to an already very attractive package. Front and rear parking sensors are also added.

An electronic parking brake will automatically engage when the vehicles is in park and the engine has been turned off. It will automatically disengage when the vehicle has been put into a gear and the accelerator pedal has been pressed down — a convenient and idiot-proof feature.

The Qashqai is still powered by a two-litre DOHC 16-valve four-cylinder engine with an impressive 106 kW of power and 200Nm of torque delivered through a CVT automatic.

This combination delivers an outstanding fuel consumption statistic of 6.9 litres/100km.

The Qashqai has intelligent key entry and a push button start, along with LED daytime lights and LED tail lights.

A shark fin antenna adds a sporty look.

The front seats are heated and the dashboard displays all essential information including a personal favourite — a digital speedometer located right in the centre of the steering wheel, where you can see it. This is welcome, particularly for urban driving.

The Qashqai has a quality audio system with hands-free phone and Bluetooth.

On the road it is a pleasure to drive, with light handling, armchair-quality suspension and more than enough grunt for overtaking or hill work.

It has a high stance that allows easy entry and exit, and provides a clear view.

The test drive vehicle was the STL, part of a Qashqai range that starts with the ST at $36,270 and goes up to the top-of-the-range N-Tec at $43,700, all GST inclusive.

This is the second major style change for the present Qashqai body shape and shows that Nissan really knows what the punters want.