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Nissan Qashqai J11 Midnight Edition

Nissan Qashqai J11 Midnight Edition (2020-2021)

Also referred to as: Nissan Qashqai J11 Midnight Edition 2020 and Nissan Qashqai J11 Midnight Edition 2022.

Expert Review

3.7 out of 5 stars

Introduction

This is the swansong special edition review of the second generation Nissan Qashqai, before the recently announced third generation lands here sometime in the near future.

The Nissan Qashqai Midnight edition sits below the top of the range Qashqai Ti, and is meant to be Nissan’s ‘Dark Knight’. The name increases the sinister factor (and luxury factor) of one of Nissan’s most popular compact SUVs.

To be specific, Nissan has built over 1.2 million units of the second generation Qashqai.

By the time we’d reviewed this Qashqai Midnight edition, a new Qashqai had already been announced, with pricing and timing into the market unknown at the time of writing.

It was of course logical that Nissan was busy working to develop a third generation to continue these sales figures into the future.

When Nissan handed me the keys to the Qashqai Midnight edition, one question was on my mind: Should someone buy this generation Qashqai, or wait until the new one arrives?


Build Quality

3.8 out of 5.

midnight_edition_badge

I was generally quite impressed with the build quality of the Qashqai, with most touch points being solid and sturdy.

On the outside, the Qashqai is absolutely to spec. There was nothing obvious that would indicate that you had large panel gaps or poorly fitted plastic trim. It’s all typical Japanese fit and finish on the exterior.

Moving inside, most pieces of trim were of decent quality.

Leather seats, buttons and other plastic trim pieces were all great to engage with, and certainly feel like they will stand the test of time. This is especially the case if you’re planning on using this to haul the family around in.

What I wasn’t a fan of were the door handles, which just felt a tiny bit too cheap, made of exceptionally hard plastics. In addition, up on the dash, there was a trim piece that ran along the base of the windshield, where the far edges were visibly raised above the dashboard itself. However, both elements which only slightly diminished the overall interior build quality feel.

Value for Money

3.6 out of 5.

Qashqai_rear

The Nissan Qashqai range starts from $28,290 driveaway.

If you want better lights, seats, wheels, cameras, and tech, you’ll need to up the ante to this Qashqai Midnight edition, which starts from $37,690 driveaway.

If you ask me, I think the price point is fair for the vehicle you receive. However, I’m not jumping for joy at the price point, seeing as the Qashqai is currently missing a few bits of key equipment.

It’s on the pointy end of the price range, against the likes of the Mitsubishi Outlander or the Mazda CX-5, but right on par with the entry level Toyota RAV.

Overall, for the price, you receive some decent features. These include, black alloy wheels, alcantara and leather seats, cornering headlamps, LED front and rear lights, 360-degree cameras, sat-nav, and illuminated door sills.

However, that’s where my justification for the price ends. I do think that for this price, the Qashqai is missing some key bits of kit that would go a long way to help make this SUV just that bit more competitive. This includes the absence of radar cruise control, a hybrid or turbo option for the motor, and the failure to include rear air vents and rear USB ports.

These are small inclusions (apart from a hybrid or turbocharged engine option) that would help convince more buyers to consider the Qashqai over key rivals, like the Mazda CX-5.

Seeing that this model is at the end of its life, I’m sure your local dealer will offer a decent price reduction when the third generation Qashqai gets closer to being released here, which may allow you to overlook these missing features.

Cleaning and Maintenance

4.1 out of 5.

Qashqai_side_view

It doesn’t get easier to clean and maintain a compact SUV with the Qashqai.

There’s nothing to consider here when taking your Qashqai to the car wash, nothing special to remove or any special paint to care for. It’s all standard, and I believe that the Qashqai was almost designed to be driven through endless cycles of drive-through car washes, seeing as this is meant to be the family hauler.

As for maintenance, the Qashqai comes with a standard 5 year/unlimited kilometres warranty, which provides plenty of coverage over a reasonable amount of time.

Nissan doesn’t disclose its servicing costs online, unless you own a Nissan, or have access to a VIN number.

All I can say is that mechanically, it doesn’t get more simple than the Qashqai's powerplant.This is because it features a naturally aspirated motor, paired to a CVT automatic transmission, with limited tech to go wrong. I think you’ll be just fine over many years of ownership, as you’ll be able to expect typical Japanese reliability and maintenance costs with the Qashqai.

There’s a reason why there are plenty of older Qashqai’s (and Dualis’) being driven around on the roads today.

Noise Level

3.7 out of 5.

Qashqai_interior

This is where I desperately wished the Qashqai came with a turbo, or a hybrid option.

Driving around town and on the highway, this Nissan provides pretty good sound isolation from the tires and outside world.

That’s until you need to accelerate, which is when the drone of the CVT and the naturally aspirated motor announce their presence.

CVT transmissions don’t actually change gears, they usually hold a rev and ride that rpm all the way up to speed. Combine this with a naturally aspirated motor, which usually delivers its power at the high end of the revs (aka the loudest part), and you get plenty of engine noise when modulating the accelerator.

Another noise intrusion comes in the form of a loud suspension knock that announces its presence when driving just a smidge too fast over speed bumps, or in slightly deeper potholes.

It sounds as if the front wheels are being lifted and suddenly dropped, as most of the weight is carried at the front. It can be concerning as it really is an overly dramatic sound for what the wheels are actually moving over. So much so, I actually had to get out of the car at one point to see if the alloy wheel was damaged after I drove over a medium sized pothole.

The engine sounds are really to be expected for this car and engine, but that suspension knock - that’s the one that could put some people off when test driving.

The speaker system in the Qashqai is pretty standard, offering the level of audio depth and clarity you’d expect, nothing that’s of note here. It does however feel as if it handles bass a little better than the Juke’s speaker system could.

Braking

3.9 out of 5.

Qashqai_wheels

Brakes are very standard and as expected here.

Braking in the Qashqai was an element that upon reflection, really impressed greatly helped by how light the Qashqai weighs, which comes in around 1300kg. Brakes are progressive and will bring the car to a stop as you would expect. In addition, you have emergency autonomous braking systems which will help you brake a little earlier than you would in the event of an emergency. There’s also the use of an emergency brake warning, which will alert you if the car detects you’re about to run into an obstacle or another car.

This system is a little excitable, especially when changing lanes where there is a divider at the end of the lane. However, I always believe that a sensitive braking system is better than one that alerts you when it’s too late to do anything.

Another element of the braking system is the auto-hold. I know many cars come with auto-hold, but when in slow moving traffic, or engaged at a long wait for the traffic lights, it was nice to be able to relax your foot, and let the car hold before you need to set off again. A small inclusion, but absolutely appreciated.

Acceleration/Power

3.8 out of 5.

Qashqai_engine

You’re likely not buying a Qashqai for its straight-line speed, however, the 106kW and 200Nm produced from this naturally aspirated four cylinder definitely deliver reasonable performance.

Acceleration is around the 10 second mark to 100km/h, but that doesn’t really matter.

What does matter is how the Qashqai performs, when getting up to speed, and for when you might need to accelerate to get around an obstacle.

The overall power-to-weight ratio is around 78kW per tonne, which is actually nearly a full 10kW over the lighter and turbocharged Juke that I tested.

Combine this with the improved responsiveness of a naturally aspirated motor, and you have a relatively impressive motor that can get this Qashqai moving.

The CVT transmission does a fine job at getting the car up to speed, as it’s not banging through gears, instead, just riding the revs out to the speed you need it to be at.

Would I see this transmission as being capable of the ultimate test of a single lane highway overtake? Sure! However, just be ready to put the pedal to the metal, as you really need to rev this motor out to extract all of its power.

Gear Shifting

4 out of 5.

Qashqai_shifter

CVT’s aren’t known for being the best gearboxes for feel and engagement, but that’s not the goal here.

Instead, it’s actually the preferred gearbox of choice for city-dwelling SUV’s, as it delivers power from a petrol motor in a linear and progressive way.

There are no indecisive gear shifts here, instead, you just chuck the shifter into D, and away you go. You won’t have to worry about jerky changes, or needing to wait for the gearbox to kick down when you need to quickly get move up to speed.

There is a momentary lag when you push the accelerator suddenly to the floor, of about 1.5 seconds, which was a little annoying. Besides that, in most applications, this gearbox is ideal as it’s just one of those things you don’t need to think about.

It’s a lot smoother than the dual clutch we tested in the Juke, and even better, doesn’t include paddle shifters on wheel, which can often feel unnecessary in cars like this.

If you plan on driving the Qashqai frequently on highways and need to accelerate up to highway speeds of 100km/h+ all the time, the CVT does feel weird and isn’t as quiet as a quick shifting torque converter or dual clutch. However, when up to speed, that’s all forgotten, as this gearbox holds cruise speeds with great ease and efficiency.

Suspension & Handling

3.5 out of 5.

Qashqai_seats

As mentioned in the ‘Noise’ section of this review, the suspension does have one downside over it’s competitiveness, and that’s the excessive knocking sound it can produce when travelling over speed bumps and potholes at higher speeds.

When driving the Qashqai, you’re offered a pretty comfortable ride. Wallowing and tilting through corners is pretty minimal. Although, the steering rack does feel as if it’s a little slow, meaning you feel as if you’re turning your hands a little more than you would in cars that have quicker racks.

I can feel that the suspension is a little stiff, but it’s nothing over the top. It’s better than a spongy feeling setup, as it allows you to move off the line easily and navigate urban areas swiftly.

That knock I mentioned earlier is the only downside here. I’m unsure if this is something other Qashqai owners experience, or if this is something exclusive to the larger alloy wheels fitted to this Midnight edition Qashqai.

It’s easily avoided once you know that you need to slow down a little more for speed bumps, and like you should in all cars, avoid potholes. However, in those instances when you can’t avoid these obstacles, it will produce a noise that might make you pull over to check your wheels for damage, or wake any sleeping passengers. This is not ideal, but it’s certainly something that you rarely incur once learnt.

Fuel Efficiency

3.8 out of 5.

Qashqai_compass_and_range

Combined, Nissan claims the Qashqai will achieve an urban fuel consumption figure of 9.2L per 100km, or 6.9L per 100km combined.

What was the fuel efficiency I managed to get when travelling predominantly around dense urban areas? 9.1L per 100 km is what I achieved.

This is impressive, considering almost all of my comparative figures to claimed fuel consumption figures usually are a little higher.

Although I keep banging on about the need for a turbocharger or hybrid alternative (which the third generation will bring), I do believe Nissan has done a decent job at transforming traditionally thirsty petrol non-turbocharged motors into motors that are competitively restrictive in their fuel consumption.

The tank size of the Qashqai measures in at 65L, with a roughly calculated total range of anywhere between 700km to 900km. A full tank will cost you around $92 to fill from empty

Interior Design

3.2 out of 5.

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Pretty basic. That’s the headline here.

The Qashqai is stripped down to the bare essentials inside. There’s nothing here that’s designed to be eye-catching or different, everything in here serves its purpose to the bare minimum.

Qashqai_screen

However, the 7-inch touchscreen is an exception, for two reasons. One, it’s incredibly responsive for a lower cost SUV, and two, it has a unique coating on the surface which helps with swiping movements but also prevents fingerprints from remaining on the touch screen. This is something that I wish more cars featured on their screens.

The flat bottom steering wheel is meant to evoke a bit more visual theatre, but obviously doesn’t translate what the car’s core purpose as a family car.

I loved the use of leather and alcantara throughout the interior, paired with the other Midnight edition appointments, like the illuminated ‘Qashqai’ door sill. These help lift the interior of the Qashqai into something that feels a little more premium.

Qashqai_centre

There are some weird omissions, which I mentioned in the ‘Value for Money’ section, including no rear air vents, no rear USB ports (there is only one USB port for the entire cabin), and no lights for the vanity mirrors found in the sun visors.

Qashqai_12V

If you’re planning on charging items inside the Qashqai, you’ll need to pay for some 12V USB chargers, for the two 12V ports found under the climate controls and in the centre console.

Boot Size & Comfort

4 out of 5.

Qashqai_boot

The Qashqai boasts 430L of boot space, with the seats up, and up to 1598L with the rear row folded down.

There’s nothing unique about the boot, besides the feature of an elastic loop, found on the rear right-hand side of the boot to hold loose items such as a water bottle.

Qashqai_boot_full

What is a great addition, however, is the inclusion of an inflated spare tire and tools for a tire change. Nice to see this, considering many cars are moving to space-savers spares which require an air compressor to be filled up, or with some cars failing to include any spare tires.

Qashqai_boot_toolkit

Seats fold in a 60:40 split, which allows a parent and a baby seat to remain in place, and fold down one seat to pass through additional cargo.

There are ISOFIX points found on all three rear seats, however the removable cover doesn’t remain with the seat, and is a small piece that I can see easily being lost. There are anchor points on the rear row seats as well.

There is plenty of space inside the Qashqai, which helps for longer trips, as you won’t feel like you’ve been tucked up inside this cabin. These leather seats provided plenty of support, and gave a commanding view of the road, thanks to their ride height. Taller drivers may have an issue with the fact that the seats don’t exactly get too low with their manual adjustment, which could prove to be a small pain.

Qashqai_rear

In summer, I wouldn’t envy rear passengers, as there are no adjustable air vents found in the rear. Instead, passengers will need to ask the front occupants to blast the AC so they can cool down in the back.

Qashqai_rear

Along with the missing AC vents, the single USB port will prove to be a pain, as it’s the only way to display Apple CarPlay or Android Auto on the centre screen. This means that anyone who wants to use that USB port will need to disable whatever functions you were using with your smartphone. When you add the fact that the centre console lid doesn’t fold flat, this makes plugging in your device from the rear seats a bit of a pain.

I genuinely thought the Qashqai was extremely comfortable for daily driving. If you regularly carry occupants in the rear seats that demand the control of air con and charging devices, this could prove to be distracting, from what is a relatively well thought out interior.

Features

3.4 out of 5.

Qashqai_reversing_camera

The second generation Qashqai has been on the market for some time now. Does that mean its features are showing their age? Well, not quite.

There are some key features missing, like radar cruise control and heated seats, but there are plenty of features that can make this generation an enticing choice for those looking to upgrade their vehicle for the first time in a long time.

  • Petrol 2.0L 4-cylinder (non-turbo) naturally aspirated
    • 106kW, 200Nm
    • 0-100km/h in around 10 seconds
    • Power-to-weight ratio of 78.5kW/tonne
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
    • Voice Recognition
    • AM/FM/CD/AUX audio system
    • Six speakers
    • 1x USB port
    • Bluetooth® audio streaming
    • Digital radio (DAB+)
  • Front, front-side and front curtain SRS airbags
    • Intelligent Emergency Braking
    • Forward-Collision Warning
    • Lane Departure Warning
    • Child restraint anchorage (RH/LH isofix + tether and centre tether)
    • Electronic park brake with auto hold
    • Intelligent Trace Control
    • Intelligent Engine Brake
    • Intelligent Ride Control
    • Hill Start Assist
    • Blind Spot Warning
    • Rear Cross Traffic Alert
    • Intelligent Driver Alert
  • Bluetooth handsfree phone system
    • Front and rear parking sensors
    • Intelligent Key with push button engine start
    • Tilt and telescopic steering adjustment
    • Cruise control
    • Speed sensitive variable intermittent windshield wipers
    • 12V power outlets (x2)
    • Remote window control
    • One touch window control (front and rear)
    • 7.0" colour touch-screen display
    • Satellite navigation with live traffic alerts
    • Intelligent Around View® Monitor with Moving Object Detection
    • Rearview camera with predictive path
    • Rain-sensing wipers
    • Rear centre armrest with two additional cup holders
  • Petrol 2.0L 4-cylinder (non-turbo) naturally aspirated
  • 106kW, 200Nm
  • 0-100km/h in around 10 seconds
  • Power-to-weight ratio of 78.5kW/tonne
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Voice Recognition
  • AM/FM/CD/AUX audio system
  • Six speakers
  • 1x USB port
  • Bluetooth® audio streaming
  • Digital radio (DAB+)
  • Front, front-side and front curtain SRS airbags
  • Intelligent Emergency Braking
  • Forward-Collision Warning
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Child restraint anchorage (RH/LH isofix + tether and centre tether)
  • Electronic park brake with auto hold
  • Intelligent Trace Control
  • Intelligent Engine Brake
  • Intelligent Ride Control
  • Hill Start Assist
  • Blind Spot Warning
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert
  • Intelligent Driver Alert
  • Bluetooth handsfree phone system
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Intelligent Key with push button engine start
  • Tilt and telescopic steering adjustment
  • Cruise control
  • Speed sensitive variable intermittent windshield wipers
  • 12V power outlets (x2)
  • Remote window control
  • One touch window control (front and rear)
  • 7.0" colour touch-screen display
  • Satellite navigation with live traffic alerts
  • Intelligent Around View® Monitor with Moving Object Detection
  • Rearview camera with predictive path
  • Rain-sensing wipers
  • Rear centre armrest with two additional cup holders

Should you buy one?

Qashqai

There are three types of potential buyers for the second generation Nissan Qashqai, and not all of them are going to buy this car.

The first type of buyer is someone who is looking to buy a new Qashqai, needs it now, and is upgrading from an older car. This buyer is definitely going to appreciate all the appointments that the Qashqai Midnight edition offers, and will be more than happy with their purchase. They will be fine overlooking some minor feature omissions that this vehicle has.

The second type of buyer is someone who is looking for a new Nissan compact SUV, needs it now, but doesn't necessarily need all the space. For them, I’d recommend the new Juke. Being recently updated, the new Juke brings better features, a more efficient engine, and updated styling. I think if you don’t need the space, the Juke really offers a compelling set of features that make it appealing to these buyers.

The third type of buyer is someone who needs a new car, but not just yet. Maybe you’re looking to buy over the coming 12 months. I’d wait for the third generation Qashqai to land on local soil. Unfortunately, the current generation of Qashqai doesn’t exactly stack up against the likes of the Mazda CX-5. Until the third generation Qashqai arrives in showrooms that is. When the third generation Qashqai arrives, it should solve many of the small quirks the current Qashqai possesses. Not to mention there’s going to be a hybrid option that should sell well, if it makes it Down Under.

Qashqai_kickplate

The Nissan Qashqai Midnight edition isn’t a bad car at all. There’s a reason why it’s extremely popular. It’s just that it’s getting long in the tooth now, and Nissan have done everything they can to make this generation remain competitive. Now it’s time for this generation to rest, and welcome in Nissan’s next best seller.

In short, put this generation Qashqai on your list. It’s genuinely quite good, however, make sure you work out a good deal from your dealership. Consider grabbing a second generation Qashqai closer to when the third generation is about to release, when dealerships will be more likely to be more flexible on stock that’s still on the lot.

CameronPicture

About the author
Cameron is your typical car nut, but also drives and writes about cars for ProductReview.

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Nissan Qashqai J11 Midnight Edition (2020-2021)

Details

Compare all 11 Nissan Dualis / Qashqai
CategorySmall / Compact SUVs
TransmissionContinuously Variable (CVT)
Drive TypeFront Wheel Drive (FWD)
Fuel TypePetrol
Wheels19" Alloy
Doors 4
Seats 5
Fuel Consumption6.9 L/100km
Fuel Tank Capacity 65 L
Engine4 Cylinder 2.0L
Engine CodeMR20DD
Max Power106kW @ 6000rpm
Max Torque200Nm @ 4400rpm
Boot Capacity430 L
Country of ManufactureEngland
Manufacturer Warranty5 year(s)
Release dateOct 2020
Compare all 11 Nissan Dualis / Qashqai
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