Latest Nissan Qashqai packs a surprising amount of punch
As Nissan’s best-selling model in Europe, the Qashqai is incredibly important for the Japanese brand. Simon Davis puts the latest version to the test.
The Qashqai is a hugely important car for Nissan. In fact, with around 2.3 million units sold since it was first launched in 2007, it’s the best-selling model the Japanese manufacturer has ever brought to the European market – so it’s absolutely essential it gets this new version spot on.
The crucial changes that Nissan has implemented for the new model are a slightly revised exterior, a greater focus on interior refinement and quality, improved driving performance and the introduction of new Nissan Intelligent Mobility solutions, which place a greater emphasis on safety.
There’s also a new flagship grade – dubbed Tekna+ – and Nissan will introduce ProPilot autonomous drive technology in spring 2018.
Looks and image
You’d be forgiven for missing the visual changes that Nissan has introduced. At a glance, the new model and the older car look incredibly similar, but under closer inspection you’ll notice a revised, sleeker front end, with a similar theme continued around the back. Redesigned head- and taillights really help the new Qashqai stand out against its predecessor give the crossover a distinctly more upmarket image.
The cabin has also been subjected to a mild overhaul, with the most obvious revision being a new steering wheel design. This is far less chunky-looking than that of the older Qashqai, and lends the new model’s interior a far more grown-up aesthetic.
However, in the Tekna specification that we put to the test, the cabin wasn’t exactly an inspiring place to sit, much in the same way that the older Qashqai was a bit dull. That said, while it may not look amazing, it feels as though it’s been built to last, and will more than serve the needs of the average family.
Space and practicality
Cars in this sector wouldn’t do well if they didn’t have room for a family, and the new Qashqai certainly won’t be a let-down as far as cabin space is concerned. Front passengers will find an abundance of head and shoulder room awaits them, as well as a number of handy storage spaces in the central console, door bins and glove box.
Those in the back will find they have a comfortable amount of space between the tops of their heads and the roof, even with the panoramic glass roof specified. There’s also a good deal of legroom in the back, meaning two adults will easily be able to ride in comfort on those longer journeys.
As far as boot space is concerned, the Qashqai offers 430 litres of storage capacity, which is the same as the older model but still more than enough to accommodate the day-to-day needs of a regular-sized family. With the rear seats folded down, luggage capacity stretches to 1,598 litres.
Behind the wheel
That 1.6-litre petrol engine with its 161bhp and 240Nm of torque make the Qashqai quite a fun little car to throw down the road. The manner in which it picks up speed is impressive considering the car’s size, and it doesn’t sound too bad either.
While the Qashqai is never going to be able to hold a candle to the likes of a smaller supermini when it comes to threading together a couple of sharp corners, it’s still fairly impressive. There is a fair amount of lean owing to its rather tall stature, but this is to be expected from a car of this nature.
One area where the Qashqai ticks a lot of boxes is when you settle down to a cruise. It really is a comfortable car – a lot of which is down to its superb seats. These manage to be both very soft and decently supportive – both of which add up to you being less fatigued when you eventually arrive at your destination. It also deals with uneven surfaces with aplomb, and doesn’t crash about or feel unsettled when the road gets a bit lumpy.
Value for money
Although a base-spec Qashqai will cost from £19,295, only a tiny percentage of buyers will opt for this trim level. In the Tekna specification that our test car was built to, the new Qashqai will set you back from £27,450 when equipped with the 1.6-litre petrol.
For your money, you’ll be treated to a fairly generous level of standard equipment. Some of the toys include DAB radio – which is standard across the range – satellite navigation, a rear parking camera, heated seats and a panoramic glass roof.
There’s also a suite of safety equipment included as standard on Tekna models, such as lane keep assist, traffic sign recognition and intelligent emergency braking, which will bring the car to a halt if it detects a hazard in front of the car.
In 2018, Nissan will also start to roll out ProPilot – which will allow the Qashqai to accelerate, slow down and keep itself in a single lane at both cruising speed and when in heavy traffic with no input from the driver.
Who would buy one?
As the original crossover vehicle – according to Nissan, at least – the Qashqai has always been targeted firmly at family buyers. The manufacturer hopes the new model will continue to appeal to the urban family, and thanks to its strong levels of practicality, safety technology and ease of use, it should be successful in doing so.
FACTS AT A GLANCE
Model: Nissan Qashqai 1.6 Tekna 163PS
Price as tested: £27,450
Engine tested: 1.6-litre DIG-T four-cylinder petrol
Max speed: 124mph
0-60mph: 8.7 seconds
MPG: 48.7 (combined cycle)
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