Feature article

Best Nissan Cars Available in NZ: Buying Guide

Nissan has quite a few options for Kiwis. As to which is the best Nissan for you, depends what you're after.

Last updated: 17 June 2024

Nissan has quite a few options for New Zealanders within its local line-up, as long as you like SUVs that is. However, it has an SUV to suit a wide range of needs from urban commuting to off-road adventures. For those after something smaller, the funky Juke and the compact Qashqai (that’s cash - kai for those who struggle with that one) are good options. Need something bigger? The mid-sized X-Trail can be had with seven seats or there is the larger Pathfinder which offers ample space and good towing capacity too. And at the apex sits the Patrol, a full-size SUV designed for those requiring mega off-road capabilities and loads of luxury.

Nissan does have a couple of cars left in its line up, one being the electric Leaf, although that is getting towards the end of its life cycle now, and there’s the Z. That’s a niche offering though, perfect for those that want something sporty. And Navara is still trucking along for those who need a vehicle to balance work and family life.  

Nissan offers a five-year, 150,000km factory warranty, along with five years of roadside assist. And these benefits are transferable to a new owner when you sell your Nissan within that period. 

Nissan also has pre-paid service plans available so that you can pay for your scheduled servicing costs up front, avoiding any price rises in the future. 

As to which is the best Nissan for New Zealanders really depends what you're after, but try these ones out first. 

Qashqai - small and nicely formed

Qashqai ranges in price from $46k right up to $65k, which is quite expensive for a compact SUV. The entry-level ST and ST-L use a 1.3-litre turbopetrol running via a CVT. This front drive machine makes do with 110kW and 250Nm, with fuel consumption rated at 6.8L/100km. 

The higher spec’d Ti and Ti-L models can also be had with the option of Nissan’s e-Power hybrid powertrain, although it adds $8000 to the price. This uses a petrol engine to charge a battery that powers an electric motor to drive the wheels. It gives a smooth and torquey delivery, and drives like an electric car in some ways, while lowering your overall fuel consumption, it being quoted at 5.8L/100km. 

Qashqai is a little larger in its new guise, but still a compact SUV at 4.4m long. With its raised ride height, entry is tops and, once in, the seat comfort’s good. Hop in the back and with the increase in dimensions there’s a bit more room for a pair of adults, and good space for kids. The boot space is acceptable too, a practical 429L offered.

Qashqai has stepped up its quality quotient, and offers a heap of spec not previously available. The Ti-L model adds more things like panoramic glass sunroof, head-up display, quilted leather trim and massaging front seats. The wide format screen provides a welcoming visual interface for the infotainment system, which features a raft of connectivity.  

Nissan’s intelligent mobility driver safety features include blind spot monitoring and intervention, high beam assist, traffic-sign recognition, lane departure assist and intelligent cruise control. 

The Qashqai does its best work in the city. The steering is quick and light, and turnarounds are easily executed. There’s sound outward vision, good side mirrors and that parking camera is swell too. It’s an easy thing to pilot. 

View listings on Trade Me Motors: Nissan Qashqai

Nissan X-Trail - all the family SUV you’ll ever need

There are a good range of options within the X-Trail lineup; front-drive models or all wheel drive, five-seater or seven, petrol and hybrid offerings. The range starts with the ST $47,990, or $49,990 for the all-wheel drive model with seven seats. This uses a 2.5-litre petrol engine with 244Nm of torque driving via a CVT. Fuel consumption is rated at 8.2L/100km, or 8.7L for the AWD version.

You then step up to the better specified ST-L which starts at $53,990, the seven-seat 4x4 costs an extra $2k, and there’s also the e-Power model (4x4, five-seats) at $62,990. It uses a similar set-up to the Qashqai, but here there are two electric motors, one on each axle. This delivers 150kW, 330Nm and an EV-like drive (except for the noise of the engine working away to charge the battery) while cutting the fuel consumption back to 6.8L/100km. The Ti-L is the top spec model at $59,990 for the 2.5 petrol and $66,990 for the e-Power. 

X-trail is a great option for families; the rear doors open up nice and wide for good access, there are Isofix points for the little ones, and plenty of legroom for adults. Boot space is thoroughly decent, rated at 565L. The 2.5 models can tow up to 2000kg (e-Power 1650kg).

It’s a safe bet too, it scored top marks in ANCAP crash testing. All models have active cruise, lane keeping, blind spot monitoring and the like, while the ST-L and Ti-L add the Pro Pilot system; an enhanced active cruise to keep you trucking along on well marked roads

It’s well made, with a quality feel to the cabin. The wide format screen for the infotainment system appeals, while it responds quickly and is easy enough to navigate. There’s also Apple and Android compatibility and top models include a good surround view camera. 

Refinement is a strong point, it rides well over most surfaces, the engine works away quietly and the X-Trail is easy to drive.  

It is one of those SUVs that does everything quite well, and nothing much annoys. It’s refined, safe, practical and easy to live with, which is what you’d want in this sort of vehicle. 

View listings on Trade Me Motors: Nissan X-Trail


Kyle Cassidy
Kyle Cassidy
Editor NZ Autocar magazine - autocar.co.nz

Kyle has been reviewing cars since starting at NZ Autocar magazine in 2003 and has been editor since 2009. In that time he’s become an expert on what makes for a good vehicle while also gaining insights into the local automotive industry.