NISSAN has been doing the SUV thing for a while now, and while they may not update their fleet all that often, their formula is pretty solid. Why change a good thing right?
Well, sometimes you need to to keep it fresh and relevant and that’s what they’ve done with the final version of the current generation, creating the Midnight Edition.
But is it mutton dressed as lamb? Well, sort of.
The Midnight Edition includes many of the high end interior, connectivity and intelligent mobility features shared with the premium ST-L and Ti grades. It basically sits inline with the N-Sport variant, which is between both the ST-L and Ti.
The uniquely badged special variant has a large number of gloss black accents seen across the interior and exterior. The black accents do contrast well against the five body colour choices, making it look smarter than normal.
But this is something we have already seen with the N-Sport variant, so it feels a bit like a marketing gimmick.
You can see some small changes to the front end, the gloss black signature grille, complemented by body coloured front and rear bumpers, along with the side moldings, all with gloss black inserts.
Nissan has added a nice touch with the use of 19-inch black ‘wind’ designed alloy wheels, fitted with low profile Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires. These are unique to the Midnight Edition and do make it look like it’s gained a little more street cred.
Open the doors to the interior and your a greeted with illuminated Qashqai kick plates, which make for a bold entry statement.
A black headliner and black air vents define the interior even further, coupled with more black leather accents used on the steering wheel, shift knob and gearshift.
Alcantara and leather accented seats are standard equipment too. The rear seats remain practical, with the versatile 60/40 split, which incorporates a centre armrest, with two additional cup holders.
As with all other models in the Qashqai range, the Midnight Edition is powered by a 2.0-litre direct injection engine coupled to an Xtronic transmission with tiptronic manual shift mode and Eco mode.
On the road, it’s good to drive, and handles corners well. There’s a decent amount of power and responsiveness, but the CVT transmission still remains to let this car down.
We understand that CVT transmissions are cheaper to build in mass production, but it really does diminish the overall feel and drive of the car, constantly hearing that poor engine ring it’s neck, just to get it to move.
Nissan really needs to look at going back to a traditional transmission across their entire range, it would really be a great thing.
The Xtronic CVT gearbox could do with more software manipulation. The mimicked gear changes are still less than well, desirable.
Claimed fuel economy is 6.9-litres/100km, but we couldn’t do better than 9.0-litres/100km.
Safety tech is plentiful too, keeping you and your fam safe. A host of Nissan Intelligent Mobility active safety features, including blind spot warning, lane departure warning, intelligent emergency braking, rear cross-traffic alert and intelligent driver alert, feature.
Suspension is all independent, with multi-link at the rear, and front and rear stabiliser bars.
The Midnight Edition’s LED headlights (just like the Ti variant), sense the changes in light. Whether that be from dusk to dawn, or going through a tunnel, the adaptive front lighting system switches on and provide a great throw of LED light goodness.
It allows low beam headlights to track with the steering angle to provide superior illumination on curving roads.
Audio features and connectivity set the new standard in this SUV class with a digital radio (DAB+), Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth audio streaming with voice recognition, and sat-nav with traffic monitoring.
It’s all controlled via a 7.0-inch colour touchscreen display which we have seen for some time now. Whilst the system is good, it still feels outdated, but it is functional.
We know that the 2022 model is coming at the end of this year (2021), but it just lacks enough of that special edition goodness to make it, special.
The Qashqai Midnight Edition still represents striking value, at $35,900 (plus on-roads) and is available in five colour choices including Vivid Blue, Ivory Pearl, Gun Metallic, Magnetic Red and Pearl Black.
Our test vehicle was provided by Nissan Australia. To find out more about the 2021 Nissan Qashqai Midnight Edition, contact your local Nissan dealer.