Seven up as Nis­san aims for fam­i­lies

Yorkshire Post - Motoring - - FEATURES -

COT­TON­ING on to the fact that there ex­ist a host of fam­i­lies who want nei­ther a big, bulky 4x4 nor the style vac­uum that most MPV peo­ple movers rep­re­sent, Nis­san brought us the sev­enseat Qashqai+2.

A true “cross­over” ve­hi­cle with el­e­ments of a num­ber of gen­res built in, it looks stronger than ever in the lat­est facelifted guise.

The Qashqai has also been a big hit, of­fer­ing an al­ter­na­tive to the con­ven­tional fam­ily hatch with­out look­ing like a big, prof­li­gate ur­ban 4x4. In Qashqai+2 form, it’s big­ger but still looks any­thing but a Chelsea trac­tor.

This seven-seat ver­sion taps into a mar­ket that needs a size­able fam­ily car that will oc­ca­sion­ally host more than five oc­cu­pants but which still looks so­cially ac­cept­able and has a mod­icum of style.

Think for a mo­ment how many other cars can ful­fil that brief and you’ll un­der­stand why Nis­san is so bullish about this model.

There’s a wide choice of en­gines avail­able to Qashqai cus­tomers with two diesels and two petrol pow­er­plants to con­sider.

Things start off with a 1.6litre 115bhp petrol unit and move up through 106bhp 1.5dCi diesel and 140bhp 2.0-litre petrol units be­fore top­ping-out with the 150bhp 2.0-litre dCi diesel.

Nis­san hasn’t skimped when it comes to trans­mis­sion op­tions ei­ther, the Qashqai be­ing sup­plied with five and six-speed man­ual boxes, a six-speed auto op­tion and even an ad­vanced Con­stantly Vari­able Trans­mis­sion (CVT).

The ALL-MODE 4x4 sys­tem is avail­able on the 2.0-litre ve­hi­cles, with the oth­ers send­ing drive to the front wheels only. This is an elec­tronic sys­tem which au­to­mat­i­cally en­gages four­wheel drive the mo­ment a loss of trac­tion is de­tected.

It of­fers more safety and se­cu­rity in ex­treme weather on-road.

Nis­san makes no bones of the fact that the Qashqai is any­thing but an off-roader, cit­ing its lack of ground clear­ance.

What pre­cludes it from tack­ling rut­ted tracks makes it a bet­ter car on the black­top, the hun­kered down cen­tre of grav­ity giv­ing the Nis­san its nim­ble feel.

The Qashqai+2 weighs 100kg more than its five-seat sib­ling and the sus­pen­sion and steer­ing sys­tems have been re­tuned to take ac­count of this.

Ev­ery­thing from the wind­screen pil­lars for­ward is stan­dard Qashqai. Ev­ery­thing be­hind this point has been mod­i­fied in the Qashqai+2. The wheel­base has been ex­tended by 135mm and the over­all length has grown by 211mm to 4,526mm.

To make sure that rear seat oc­cu­pants don’t feel too hemmed in, the roof line has been re­pro­filed as well, adding 38mm to the car’s height.

The doors have been re­designed and the side win­dows are now big­ger, as is the rear tail­gate win­dow, mak­ing the back feel any­thing but claus­tro­pho­bic. The mid­dle row of seats splits 40/40/40 and the back­rest re­clines to no fewer than nine ad­just­ment po­si­tions.

A more ag­gres­sive frontal styling treat­ment marks out the lat­est Qashqai+2 from its pre-facelift for­bear. It wasn’t merely an ex­er­cise in re­shap­ing the head­lights and grille ei­ther: bon­net, bumper, grille, head­lamps and wings all got the treat­ment. Around the back, lit­tle has changed aside from sub­tle aero­dy­namic tweaks and LED lights.

Like the five-seat Qashqai, the +2 is avail­able in var­i­ous dif­fer­ent trim and equip­ment ver­sions –Visia, Acenta and Tekna. De­pend­ing on the ver­sion, stan­dard equip­ment in­cludes au­to­matic light­ing, au­to­matic wipers, speed sen­si­tive door lock­ing, cruise con­trol, pri­vacy glass, elec­tric win­dows, park­ing sen­sors, a choice of 16 or 17-inch al­loy wheels and Nis­san’s In­tel­li­gent Key.

Man­ual or au­to­matic air con­di­tion­ing in­cor­po­rates mild flow ven­ti­la­tion, while to pro­vide suf­fi­cient air­flow for the rear­most pas­sen­gers, a larger com­pres­sor is fit­ted.

The N-Tec and Tekna mod­els fea­ture the Nis­san Con­nect sys­tem which in­cor­po­rates Blue­tooth con­nec­tiv­ity, touch-screen satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion, a colour re­vers­ing cam­era, an MP3 com­pat­i­ble CD stereo and a USB in­ter­face for con­nect­ing MP3 play­ers.

There’s lit­tle doubt that the Qashqai will find ready buy­ers when the time comes to sell as it seems to have struck a chord with Bri­tish cus­tomers look­ing for a so­cially re­spon­si­ble al­ter­na­tive to the usual “Chelsea trac­tor”.

The front-wheel-drive cars are in even hot­ter de­mand than the four-wheel-drive mod­els as a re­sult.

BIG TIME:

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