‘City proof’ Qashqai

AL­WYN VILJOEN goes to the Big Smoke to ex­pe­ri­ence the facelifted Qashqai on dirt and tar

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING -

NIS­SAN has “cityproofed” the Qashqai. By this the Ja­panese man­u­fac­turer does not mean no one will steal the ve­hi­cle, but that the pop­u­lar cross­over has been given a facelift.

How­ever, with theft statis­tics an im­por­tant con­sid­er­a­tion when buy­ing a new car, it is re­as­sur­ing to know that the Qashqai does not top the most stolen lists at in­sur­ance com­pa­nies. The facelift fo­cused on con­nec­tiv­ity and higher lev­els of in­te­rior qual­ity, im­proved per­for­mance and a con­tem­po­rary ex­te­rior de­sign.

Own­ers of the 2016 year mod­els will no­tice the a big­ger touch-screen satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion unit and that the roof an­tenna is now in the shape of a shark fin, as well as a new D-shaped multi-func­tion steer­ing wheel.

One-touch power win­dow switches are now avail­able across the range and all win­dows can now be opened and closed re­motely via the key fob.

The front seats have been com­pletely re­designed with ta­pered shoul­ders to of­fer ad­di­tional sup­port while also im­prov­ing vis­i­bil­ity for rear pas­sen­gers.

The cabin has space for bot­tles, cups, keys and phones. A 430-litre boot in­creases to 680 litres when the 60:40 split rear seats are folded flat.

Adapt­ing to cus­tomer sug­ges­tions for ex­cel­lent au­dio qual­ity, the Nis­san Qashqai now has an all-new sev­en­speaker BOSE Pre­mium sound sys­tem with tweet­ers, woofers and a dig­i­tal am­pli­fier.

Cus­tomers who choose the com­pre­hen­sively specced Tekna model will get en­joy con­cert-like lis­ten­ing ex­pe­ri­ences while blaz­ing a trail through the chaotic city. Peo­ple who choose the en­try-level Visa still get good sound, but no sat­nav nor power sock­ets for charg­ing the cell­phones.

While on the topic of sat­nav, it is out of date — like most of the op­tional maps sold with the car be it Audi or Nis­san, so I’d rec­om­mend stick­iong to Google Maps.

From the front, day­time run­ning lights show the new model best, although ex­perts will no­tice the clamshell bon­net and rear bumper have also been re­designed.

The Qashqai rides on ei­ther 17inch or 19-inch al­loy wheels, de­signed to re­duce drag. City slick­ers who will only ever use their Qashqai on tar will be well served by the firm ride of the 17-inch with its lower side­wall, but any­one who faces pot­holes or stones will do bet­ter with the higher side­walls of the 19-inch al­loys.

From the two op­tions, my choice goes to the diesel, but those who don’t like to drive stick have the CVT 1,2 to ex­pe­ri­ence.

Yes, the “stretchy” feel­ing of vari­able trans­mis­sions takes get­ting used to, but these sys­tems are cheap and ef­fi­cient and do keep the rev­o­lu­tions in the op­ti­mum power­band, un­like man­ual trans­mis­sion sys­tems where the driv­ers al­most al­ways rev too high or too low to get op­ti­mum power from their en­gines.

The new Nis­san Qashqai main­tains its five-star Euro NCAP Safety Rat­ing and is backed up by Nis­san As­sured in­clud­ing 24-hour road­side as­sis­tance and has a class-lead­ing six-year or 150 000 km war­ranty, and a com­pre­hen­sive three-year or 90 000 km ser­vice plan. It com­petes against a raft of crossovers from ev­ery man­u­fac­turer in SA, but to my mind the com­peti­tor that mat­ters most is the new Haval, which is tak­ing on all com­ers with keen pric­ing.

Qashqai prices

1.2 T Visia R334 900 1.2 T Visia + Al­loys R346 700 1.2 T Acenta R367 000 1.2 T Acenta CVT R381 000 1.2 T Acenta Plus CVT R394 000 1.5 dCI Acenta R394 000 1.5 dCI Acenta Plus R407 000 1.5 dCI Tekna R434 000

PHOTO: AL­WYN VILJOEN

Cur­va­ceous from any an­gle, the new Qashqai aims to be a bar­gain buy for city slick­ers,

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