Car reviews - Nissan - Qashqai - Ti
Exceptional crash protection, extensive suite of advanced driver-assist systems, grippy tyres, strong brakes, electric park brake automatically engages when ignition is switched off
Room for improvement
Autonomous emergency braking does not detect pedestrians or cyclists, lane-keep assist is disabled by default, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are not reactive
GoAuto farewells long-term Nissan Qashqai Ti small SUV by assessing its safety systems
7 Jan 2019
SAFETY features, such as autonomous emergency braking (AEB) and lane-keep assist (LKA), are more than just punchlines in the automotive industry – they can quite possibly be the difference between life and death. However, not all of these systems are created equally, so it’s pays to know the degree to which your vehicle can provide you protection if need be.
GoAuto has been bringing you coverage of its current long-term test car, Nissan’s Qashqai Ti small SUV, for the past six months, and its finally time to return it. What better way to say goodbye than to take an extensive look at its safety level, especially when it competes in the fastest-growing segment in Australia. Read on to find out how it stacks up against the rest.
The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) awarded the entire Qashqai line-up a five-star safety rating in December 2017, with it achieving a very impressive overall score of 36.56 out of 37, or 98.8 per cent.
Perfect results were recorded in the side impact at 50km/h (16 out of 16) and oblique pole at 32km/h (two out of two) crash tests, while whiplash protection was assessed as ‘good’.
The frontal offset at 64km/h crash test was close to perfection, at 15.56 out of 16, with ground lost for ‘acceptable’ passenger chest protection.
Dual front and side airbags protect the driver and front passenger, while dual curtain airbags cover both rows, bringing the total to six. Second-row side airbags are not available.
The standard fitment of seatbelt reminders for all passengers earned another perfect score (three out of three).
The Qashqai faired less favourably in the pedestrian test, rated as ‘acceptable’ with a total of 24.87 out of 36, due to ‘poor’ outboard bonnet edge and A-pillar protection, while the bonnet itself provided predominantly ‘adequate’ protection.
In an unusual development, we can actually vouch for the Qashqai’s crash safety, having been sideswiped at low speed by a merging truck that didn’t see us in its blind spot on a busy highway. The body held up really well, and the repair process was pain-free. Winner!
Our Ti test car features an extensive suite of advanced driver-assist systems (ADAS), dubbed ProPilot by Nissan. Forward collision warning (FCW) is one such system and, like most of which we’ll discuss, can be turned off via the 5.0-inch multi-information display (MFD).
While some ADAS features leverage sensors and cameras, FCW uses a radar to detect other vehicles and warn the driver if a collision is imminent. In the Qashqai, this takes two forms: an audible alert played through the speakers and a flashing graphic shown on the MFD.
Of course, FCW is the precursor to autonomous emergency braking (AEB), which will engage the brakes from 5km/h if the driver does not react in time to the former. The sensitivity of this pair can be adjusted to one of three levels via the MFD.
Disappointedly, the Qashqai’s AEB is only able to detect vehicles and not also pedestrians or cyclists – something a number of small SUVs can already do. After all, it’s not only the vehicle’s occupants that need protecting on the road.
While we can thankfully say that we’re yet to experience the Ti’s full AEB intervention, FCW has proven to be diligent in situations where the vehicle in front has begun hard braking unexpectedly, allowing more than enough time for us to react accordingly.
Lane departure warning (LDW) is another key ADAS feature, alerting the driver from 60km/h when the Qashqai begins to drift outside of its lane. It promptly delivers audible and visual warnings in the same manner that FCW does.
However, if the driver fails to a react after a few seconds, lane-keep assist (LKA) will step in from 70km/h and intervene by braking the inside front wheel and guiding the Ti back into its lane. This intervention is very subtle in reality but works as advertised.
For some unknown reason, LDW and LKA are disabled by default every time the Qashqai’s ignition is switched off, with the driver required to activate the pair by pushing a button located towards the lower right side of the steering wheel. The opposite should absolutely be the case here.
Furthermore, these two lane-support systems (LSS) are unfortunately not complemented by steering assist, which is available in other small SUVs and constantly helps the driver keep their vehicle in the middle of its lane, in turn reducing reliance on LDW and LKA.
While the Ti does have blind-spot monitoring (BSM), it is set up a little differently to most of its rivals’ systems. Instead of having its warning lights located in the side mirrors, they are instead found in lower A-pillar trim inside the cabin.
Operational from 32km/h, BSM keeps tabs on the Qashqai’s blind spots, with its corresponding warning lights illuminating on the left or right side when another vehicle is within three metres of the rear and/or side of it.
If the driver activates its left or right indicator and another vehicle is in the associated blind spot, the corresponding warning lights will start to flash while an audible alert is played through the speakers.
An extension of BSM is rear cross-traffic alert (RCTA), which functions in a similar manner but from standstill in reversing scenarios, such as when leaving a carpark. If another vehicle is driving past the Ti from behind, the same visual and audible warnings are delivered.
True to their word, BSM and RCTA behave as promised and prove to be quite useful, even for those more confident drivers who claim to be constantly aware of their blind spots. There are, of course, situations where the unexpected can happen…
Speaking of which, as good as BSM and RCTA are, they could go a step further. Some rival systems are now reactive, meaning that if the driver tried to follow through with their lane change or exit and ignored the warnings, the brakes will be applied to prevent a collision.
Additionally, exit assist is an extension of RCTA that is currently missing from the Qashqai. This newer system is able to prevent occupants from exiting the parked vehicle by briefly locking its doors if a vehicle, pedestrian or cyclist is approaching from close behind.
The Ti’s adaptive cruise control (ACC) is controlled via several buttons on its steering wheel, one of which enables it to be adjusted to one of three following-distance intervals at any time. With any interval, the higher the speed, the longer the following distance.
Able to be engaged between 32km/h and 170km/h, ACC maintains the speed set by the driver and can brake to match the speed of a potential slower vehicle in front and then accelerate back to its pre-set speed when the road ahead is clear again.
While the Qashqai’s ACC works really well and reduces driver fatigue and increases safety on long high-speed highway journeys, it lacks the wide-ranging stop and go functionality of rival systems.
ACC is able to bring the Ti to a standstill in traffic jams, but unless it is stationery for less than three seconds, it will deactivate and require the driver to engage it again when accelerating from the stop. This process can prove tiresome in heavy congestion.
If you’d prefer to not use this system, regular cruise control can instead be activated by pressing and holding the ACC button on the steering wheel for about 1.5 seconds.
Alternatively, a manual speed limiter is also available and particularly handy for those drivers with only a few demerit points remaining.
However, the Qashqai lacks traffic sign recognition and cannot automatically adjust the limiter in response to different speed zones.
The Ti also has park assist, which works in tandem with its surround-view cameras and front and rear parking sensors to handle the steering inputs in perpendicular and reverse parking situations.
Controlled by and viewed on the Qashqai’s 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, park assist requires the driver to pull up next to their desired carpark and follow the on-screen prompts regarding acceleration, braking and gear selection.
While this version of park assist works well enough, it is not the full system that is available in other models, which require next to no driver intervention, save for selecting the desired carpark. Either way, we’re still not a fan of park assist, as manual parking is much quicker.
Disappointingly and just six months into ownership, our test car is already being plagued by an electronical issue, with its front parking sensors consistently activating at random, as if they’ve detected an object. This will hopefully be fixed at its first service due soon.
Driver attention alert (DAA) is the final ADAS feature in the Ti’s toolkit. While we’re yet to incur its wrath, it is capable of detecting when the driver takes their eyes off the road for an extended period of time and will deliver audible and visual warnings if this occurs.
Electronic stability control (ESC) is naturally standard in the Qashqai but has not been encountered during our time with it. Either way, it’s good to know that this potentially life-saving technology has your back.
Similarly, the Ti’s traction control system (TCS) has rarely activated in the past six months, partly due to the exceptional grip provided by its 225/45 R19 Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres that may be considered overkill on a non-performance vehicle.
The Qashqai has strong-performing ventilated front and solid rear disc brakes, which are backed up by an anti-lock braking system (ABS), plus electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) and brake assist (BA).
An electric park brake provides auto-hold functionality that keeps the vehicle in place while at a standstill, and it intelligently automatically engages when the ignition is switched off. Hill-start assist works in a similar manner on steep inclines.
In a great move, the Ti uses LED bulbs for its headlights, daytime running lights, foglights and tail-lights, helping to greatly improve visibility in low-light situations, which are quickly responded to by its dusk-sensing functionality.
The headlight package is enhanced by high-beam assist, which automatically switches to low beam when another vehicle is detected. It is also adaptive, responding to steering inputs and helping the driver to see around the corner as their next manoeuvre begins.
Rain-sensing windshield wipers, auto-folding and -dipping side mirrors, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror are also standard equipment in the Ti, with each reinforcing its already strong safety credentials.
With families in mind, two ISOFIX anchorages are available for the Qashqai’s outboard rear seats alongside three tethers for all second-row pews. However, given its small-size dimensions, fitting three child seats abreast can prove to be tight.
By now, you’ll probably agree with us that the Ti has a comprehensive safety package, and it should. Priced from $37,990 before on-road costs, it is one of the most expensive offerings in its segment.
However, buyers should rest assured that if the buy the Qashqai, they’ll not only be taking care of themselves, but also their family and friends that might also jump in and go for a drive.
There will always be more innovations that excite in the future, but for now, the Ti is pretty damn good where it really, really matters. Bravo, Nissan.
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Model release date: 1 July 2018
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