WE all crave a little individuality in this materialistic world we live in. We strive to be different and unique. You should take a closer look at the 2020 Nissan Qashqai ST-L N-Sport, it may be your first step to exclusivity.
A 600 unit limited run of the mid-range ST-L spec Qashqai, the N-Sport changes things up by adding some spicy bits here and there. It isn’t until you’ve driven a Qashqai though, that you realise there is an abundance of them on the roads.
But this is for good reason, the Qashqai is one of the top selling small-SUVs on the crossover and small-SUV market right now, and they’re obviously doing quite well against their competitors.
So as previously mentioned, to spice things up a little, Nissan have applied a mostly aesthetic package to the ST-L, including removing the ST-L badge and replaced it with an N-Sport badge.
We had the chance to sample one in Vivid Blue, and from the get go, we loved it. Sure, it might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it was definitely ours.
The metallic blue is reminiscent of 90’s Japanese sports cars like Nissan’s Bayside Blue on their R34 GTR Skyline. It suited the lines of the car and it was a nice change of pace to see a Qashqai with colour matched bumpers, wheel arches and skirts.
Included in the N-Sport pack, which adds a very affordable $1,000 on top of the standard ST-L spec, are silver mirror covers, roof racks, and silver moulding above the fog lights, above the rear bumper, and above the skirts.
Aside from that, the only other upgrade the N-Sport receives are 19-inch wind alloy wheels. It’s available in four other colours too, including Ivory Pearl White, Pearl Black, Gun Metallic and Magnetic Red.
Inside the cabin, you’ll find a nice D-shaped leather steering wheel, and part leather, part graphite cloth seats with electronic adjustment, for the driver’s seat only. A lack of seat memory settings is a bit of a disappointment but it’s not the end of the world.
The centre console and infotainment unit are fairly minimalistic, with the buttons and knobs spaced out evenly, this will appease those who are obsessive compulsive. The rest of the dash and surrounding bits are your typical black hard plastic.
Thankfully, Nissan have included a black headlining which is a nice little touch. Legroom and cabin space is plentiful, and we were able to fit five adults fairly comfortably inside the cabin without suffocating anyone.
With a 60:40 split folding second row, the N-Sport boasts 1598-litres of cargo space with the rear seats folded down, and 430-litres with the rear seats up. Owners of previous Qashqai models will be glad to know Nissan have finally caught their tech up too.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now available across the Qashqai range, including the N-Sport, although the infotainment display could use an upgrade. The screen looks low resolution and dated, but not unexpected of a small-SUV at this price-point.
The ride is comfortable, and the car behaves exactly how a small-SUV should. It drives well around town, and cruises nicely on the highway, with a bit of body roll around corners. The seats do well to hold you in place and negate that though.
The N-Sport is powered by the same 2.0-litre naturally aspirated inline 4-cylinder petrol engine that you’ll find across the range. It’s severely under-powered, making just 106kW of power and 200Nm of torque, to the front wheels.
That’s fine when it’s up against similar vehicles in its class, but throw in some forced induction powered cars with more torque, and the Qashqai N-Sport gets left behind.
It’s mated to a rev-happy CVT (continuously variable transmission) gearbox that likes to hover between 3000-4000rpm. That goes some way to explaining the fuel economy figures you’re about to read.
Nissan claims 6.9-litres/100km (combined), but we weren’t even close, with an average of 9.1-litres/100km over our week long test. Some trips even resulted in figures in the low to mid teens per 100km.
The Qashqai range received a 5-star ANCAP safety rating across the board, and comes with six airbags, intelligent emergency braking, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert.
It does miss out on some other modern features such as adaptive cruise control. Priced at $35,000 plus on-roads, the N-Sport is an affordable compromise for a limited run model. It’s an altogether excellent A to B car, with plenty of practicality.
As previously mentioned though, it is under-powered when compared to some of its boosted competitors.
Our 2020 Nissan Qashqai ST-L N-Sport was supplied by Nissan Australia. To find out more, contact your local Nissan dealer. Images courtesy of J_Hui Design/Photography.