Even base models get a 6.0in touchscreen infotainment system, which is bigger than that of a Qashqai, although our range-topping Deluxe model gets an 8.0in unit which incorporates MirrorLink to integrate smartphones with the infotainment system. There are also more standard features, such as a reverse camera with dynamic guidelines and sat-nav. The unit is, however, excessively sunken into the dashboard.
In the back there is no large transmission tunnel, which in turn means there's ample room for three people. Leg and head room is good, too. Obvious cost-cutting, however, means that the bench does not fold up, but the backs of the seats do fold down to a pretty much flat surface. The boot is impressively sturdy with an additional cover for the spare wheel, while the capacity is more than 50 litres greater than that of a Qashqai.
The GS is available with both a six-speed manual and a seven-speed dry dual-clutch automatic gearbox, but we drove a 1.5 with the latter, which provided seamless shifts up there with some of the best systems. Unfortunately there are no paddles (these are only available on the 2.0T) but manual control is possible through the drive selector.
Power is abundant, giving a spirited performance, but this seems to come at the cost of fuel efficiency, which on our journey showed figures poorer than those you'd expect from some of the competition. The steering needs better weighting for the European market, too, as it's currently too light, while the brakes suffer from limited pedal travel, meaning that even a light touch with your foot leads to disproportionately heavy braking.
The fact that our test route consisted of mainly straights roads meant it was difficult to get a true feeling for the GS’s handling. It seems as though the dampers could do with stiffening for the European market, although a corrugated ramp did produce a large amount of jarring.