The Herald Magazine - - CONTENTS - SIMON DAVIS

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.

From an aes­thetic point of view, not a huge deal has changed with the new Qashqai com­pared with the sec­ond­gen­er­a­tion 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.

We were handed the keys to the range­top­ping 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.

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 longdis­tance 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.

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 are new head­light and tail lights, while the V-Mo­tion grille at the front end of the car has also been en­larged. Higher­spec­i­fi­ca­tion mod­els fea­ture a greater amount of ex­te­rior chrome bright­work to help give the new 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.

You can tell that Nis­san has re­ally worked hard to make the in­te­rior of the lat­est Qashqai an ap­peal­ing place to sit. Our top-flight 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 mod­ern fam­i­lies.

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 midrange N-Con­necta mod­els, which start at £23,805. Stan­dard equip­ment with this trim level in­cludes a seven-inch touch­screen with sat nav, 18-inch al­loys, and a range of driver as­sist sys­tems such as in­tel­li­gent emer­gency brak­ing and lane de­par­ture warn­ing.

While the Qashqai may not be at home on a wind­ing coun­try road, as a long dis­tance cruiser it makes a great deal of sense

The Nis­san Qashqai now has new pre­mium cross­over en­hance­ments that of­fer out­stand­ing tech­nol­ogy and steady on-the-road per­for­mance

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