Longer, wider and lower the new Qashqai certainly looks better than the old one but can Nissan really improve on such a winning formula writes Geraldine Herbert
What is it? Nissan may not have reinvented the wheel when they launched the Qashqai but they certainly came close and spawned a whole raft of imitators with this clever crossover. Now the second generation model promises to build on that success.
Who is it aimed at? The real strength of this car lies in its practicality and versatility; it blends a family hatchback and a compact 4×4 with all the flexibility and adaptability of an MPV so it makes an ideal family car.
Styling? The new model adds more kerb appeal than the outgoing variant thanks to the more aggressive styling which gives it a more purposeful intent.
Under the Bonnet? Our car was powered by a 1.5 diesel engine. Also available is a turbocharged 1.2-litre petrol engine and a 1.6 litres diesel.
What about inside? It is now a lot classier behind the wheel and there is a much more premium feel throughout. It is also a good size for a family car with more than enough room for five adults and plenty of room for heads and shoulders. But it is the boot that most impresses, it’s so spacious, it could swallow any number of shopping trips whole. There is also a useful false floor that can be raised or lowered to create a separate storage space. But be warned visibility is not great so extra care is needed when reversing.
On the Road? Once on the move the 1.5-litre diesel engine is a gutsy one and it copes well on motorways but we would have preferred just a little bit more power. It can feel sluggish at low speeds and you’ll find yourself constantly changing gears in an effort to find that extra bit of oomph. But with emissions down to under 100g/km this engine makes a lot of sense. On the road it feels a lot better built then before and it grips well with safe handling and road-holding. It is also quiet and very comfortable soaking up even the worst roads.
And Safety? No shortcuts have been taken as far as safety is concerned and the five-star Euro NCAP crash test rating is reassuring. There are also an abundance of items including ABS with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist system, six airbags, vehicle dynamic control, hill start assistance, an electric parking brake and Isofix child seat anchor points.
Options? Three trims are on offer XE, SV and the range topping SVE. Prices start at €24,495 for the entry grade XE 1.2 Petrol rising to the entry price of the top grade SVE of €29,595. The 1.6 Diesel is also available with four wheel drive.
Economy? In a market where efficiency is the buzzword with 99g/km and a very frugal fuel economy figure of 3.8 litres per 100km or 74.8mpg it is not hard to understand why the 1.5 diesel is the likely best seller of the range.
Verdict? The previous Qashqai was the one to choose for 4×4 looks with hatchback running costs. With so much at stake the second generation model could well have proved the “difficult second album” but instead Nissan have delivered a smarter interior, improved build quality and a better overall car. The new model not only has more kerb appeal but under that smart styling lurks a very tempting family car that is hard to beat.
Why you’ll buy one? Build Quality, Economy; Space
Why you won’t? Visibility; Can be pricey when you move up the range
Skoda Yeti – priced from €24,490
Suzuki SX4 S-Cross – priced from €20,995
2014 Nissan Qashqai 1.5 SV
Engine: 1,461cc 1.5-litre turbodiesel
Max speed: 182km/h
0-100 kph: 11.9 seconds
Emissions (Motor Tax) : 99 g/km (€190)
Model price range: €24,495 – €34,495 (Test Car – €27,695)
No of Doors: 5 doors
Euro NCAP : 5 stars
Fuel type: Diesel
Fuel Economy (combined cycle): 3.8 l/100km (74.3 mpg)
Boot Capacity Seats up(down) : 430 litres (1585)
Car Seats: 3 Isofix fittings in the rear
Wheelbase: 2646 mm
17th July, 2014