TRIED AND TESTED: THE NEW TECHFOCUSED NIS­SAN QASHQAI CROSS­OVER

The new Nis­san Qashqai has landed in the UK. Si­mon Davis takes the orig­i­nal cross­over for a drive to see how it fares

Belfast Telegraph - NI Carfinder - - Front Page - SI­MON DAVIS

WHAT IS IT? Ask any­one at Nis­san and they’ll tell you that the Qashqai is the orig­i­nal cross­over ve­hi­cle. The first-gen­er­a­tion model was launched back in 2007, and since then the Ja­panese man­u­fac­turer has gone on to sell around 2.3 mil­lion ex­am­ples in Europe alone.

Now in its sec­ond gen­er­a­tion, Nis­san is con­fi­dent that the lat­est Qashqai will be able to con­tinue on the suc­cess of its pre­de­ces­sor.

WHAT’S NEW? From an aes­thetic point of view, not a huge deal has changed with the new Qashqai com­pared with the sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion model that was launched in 2014. There’s a slightly re­vised front end, with a larger ‘V-mo­tion’ grille, sleeker head­lights and tail­lights and more chrome bright­work to help give the Qashqai a more up­mar­ket im­age.

A new top-flight trim level has also been in­tro­duced – called Tekna+ – which Nis­san hopes will ap­peal to those buy­ers af­ter a more pre­mium cross­over. There’s also greater em­pha­sis on re­fine­ment in the cabin.

The big­gest head­line with the new Qashqai, how­ever, is Nis­san’s Propilot au­ton­o­mous driv­ing tech­nol­ogy. This will be avail­able from 2018, and will al­low the Qashqai to con­trol its steer­ing, ac­cel­er­a­tion and brak­ing in a sin­gle lane on mo­tor­ways at cruis­ing speed and in heavy traf­fic.

WHAT’S UN­DER THE BON­NET? We were handed the keys to the range-top­ping Tekna+ model, which was fit­ted with Nis­san’s 1.5-litre four-cylin­der diesel en­gine. This power plant de­vel­ops a mod­est 109bhp and 260Nm of torque, which al­lows for a 0-60mph sprint time of 11.7 sec­onds and a top

speed of 113mph.

While per­for­mance might not be this en­gine’s forte, it’s cer­tainly im­pres­sive as far as econ­omy is con­cerned. Nis­san claims the 1.5-litre diesel unit can man­age a com­bined fuel con­sump­tion fig­ure of 74.3mpg, while CO2 emis­sions stand at 99g/km.

WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE? To say the Nis­san Qashqai is an ex­cit­ing car to drive would be an over­state­ment. It’s cer­tainly ca­pa­ble, but it’s not go­ing to set your heart rac­ing with any out­stand­ing dy­namic abil­i­ties. Through the cor­ners, it’s pre­dictable and while there is a bit of body roll, it’s not enough to make you feel un­set­tled.

While the Qashqai may not be at home on a wind­ing coun­try back road, as a long-dis­tance cruiser it makes a great deal of sense. Even on those large 19-inch al­loy wheels, our test ve­hi­cle dealt with imperfections in the road rather well, and there wasn’t a great deal of road or wind noise that made its way into the cabin. The seats are also im­pres­sively com­fort­able, com­bin­ing a good amount of soft­ness and sup­port. HOW DOES IT LOOK? Com­pared with its pre­de­ces­sor, not a great deal has changed. The front end has been touched up a bit, while the back end of the car has also been slightly re­vised. There’s new head­light and tail- lights, while the V-mo­tion grille at the front end of the car has also been en­larged.

Higher-spec­i­fi­ca­tion mod­els fea­ture a greater amount of exterior chrome bright­work to help give the Qashqai a more up­mar­ket look.

While these changes cer­tainly aren’t dras­tic, they do help the Qashqai look fresh when com­pared with its im­me­di­ate ri­vals. That said, they don’t go far enough to mak­ing the Qashqai look truly de­sir­able. It’s cer­tainly not unattrac­tive, but it’s not go­ing to ex­cite any­one, ei­ther.

WHAT’S IT LIKE IN­SIDE? You can tell that Nis­san has re­ally worked hard to make the

“THE BIG­GEST HEAD­LINE WITH THE NEW QASHQAI IS NIS­SAN’S PROPILOT AU­TON­O­MOUS DRIV­ING TECH­NOL­OGY. THIS WILL BE AVAIL­ABLE FROM 2018, AND WILL AL­LOW THE QASHQAI TO CON­TROL ITS STEER­ING, AC­CEL­ER­A­TION AND BRAK­ING IN A SIN­GLE LANE ON MO­TOR­WAYS AT CRUIS­ING SPEED AND IN HEAVY TRAF­FIC.”

in­te­rior of the lat­est Qashqai an ap­peal­ing place to sit. Our topflight Tekna+ model fea­tured plush quilted leather seats, a pre­mium Bose stereo sys­tem and smart-look­ing pi­ano black pan­elling around the in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem. How­ever, while these fea­tures might go some way to lift­ing the ap­peal of the Qashqai, there are still a num­ber of sur­faces that re­mind you it isn’t quite the pre­mium cross­over it’s cracked up to be.

As far as in­te­rior space is con­cerned, the Qashqai will eas­ily meet the needs of most fam­i­lies. There’s more than enough room across the back seats for three chil­dren, and two taller adult pas­sen­gers will also be able to ride in com­fort over longer jour­neys. Boot space stands at 430 litres with the rear seats in place, and can be in­creased to 1,598 litres with the seats folded down.

WHAT’S THE SPEC LIKE? As you would ex­pect from a top-level trim, Tekna+ of­fers Qashqai buy­ers plenty of kit for their money. Prices start at a fairly con­sid­er­able £27,830 and will get you stan­dard equip­ment such as full Nappa leather up­hol­stery, a pre­mium Bose sound sys­tem, elec­tron­i­cally ad­justable driver’s seat and a panoramic glass roof.

How­ever, the vast ma­jor­ity of Qashqai cus­tomers will likely opt for the mid-range N-Con­necta mod­els, which start at £23,805. Stan­dard equip­ment with this trim level in­cludes a seven-inch touch­screen with satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion, 18-inch al­loys, and a range of driver as­sist sys­tems such as in­tel­li­gent emer­gency brak­ing and lane de­par­ture warn­ing.

VER­DICT The new Nis­san Qashqai may not be the most ex­cit­ing on sale, or even in its seg­ment, but that’s not to say it isn’t in­cred­i­bly ca­pa­ble. We’d prob­a­bly steer clear of the top-flight Tekna+ model and opt in­stead for one of the more af­ford­able mid-range mod­els, as they rep­re­sent bet­ter value for money in our eyes, but if you can af­ford it, it’s un­likely you’ll be dis­ap­pointed with the top-flight car.

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