The Nissan Qashqai has been a popular choice with motorists for quite some years, its popularity not brought due to refinement and quality, rather, due to affordability and Motability scheme offers.
It is hard to believe that the Qashqai has been on the market for 13 years now and, let’s be honest, despite being good to drive, its interior was terribly dated with materials akin to a commercial vehicle.
A couple of years ago,the second generation Qashqai received a face-lift, offering sharp attractive styling, it has helped keep the Nissan within sight of rivals such as the Peugeot 3008 or Ford Kuga.
The cabin of the latest Qashqai has change dramatically from the early cars, it’s an incredibly quiet place to be now, though is still on the utilitarian side compared to rivals.
It is fair to note that on the higher trim levels, more quality materials are apparent, however some buyers may not feel that they represent the quality expected from a car priced at over £36k.
More recently, the engine range has been revamped and, priced from £20,565, the full model range offers a decent amount of equipment.
So what exactly do you get for a snap over £20,000?
Well, the ‘Visia’ trim offers all the basic amenities and safety features that you would get with any vehicle these days as well as electric parking brake with hill start assist and auto hold, DAB radio with USB port and Bluetooth connectivity, and a D-shape steering wheel with cruise control.
An ‘Acenta Premium’ starts from £23,470 and adds NissanConnect navigation and entertainment system with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Tom Tom connected services, 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, and rear view camera.
A smart vision pack features also, which includes high beam assist, traffic sign recognition, anti-dazzle rear view mirror, intelligent emergency braking with pedestrian recognition, and lane departure warning as well as front and rear parking sensors.
The ‘N-Connecta’ trim starts from £25,170 and adds 18-inch alloy wheels, intelligent key and start push button, intelligent around view 360 degree camera, rear privacy glass, roof rails, and safety shield technologies which include rear cross traffic alert, blind spot warning, intelligent driver alertness and intelligent park assist.
Priced from £26,845 is an ‘N-TEC’ which adds a sporting feel thanks to fully colour-coded lower front and rear bumpers and side skirts, Alcantara upholstery, panoramic glass roof, and LED headlights with adaptive front lighting.
A ‘Tekna’ starts from £27,515 and adds a Bose premium audio sound system, 19-inch diamond cut alloy wheels, thermaclear heated windscreen, and half leather upholstery with heated front seats and electrical adjustable driver seat.
Finally, priced from £29,795 a ‘Tekna+’ adds premium Nappa leather, memory function driver seat and door mirrors, electrically adjustable passenger seat, and silver finishing around the filly colour-coded body trim.
There is a limited, yet ample range of four-cylinder engines.
Starting with a 1.3-litre DIG-T turbocharged petrol which produces 140ps and paired only to a 6-speed manual gearbox and front-wheel-drive system, it will see 0-62mph in 10.5 seconds with combined return of around 40mpg.
This same engine also comes with a more powerful 160ps. Again, available only as front-wheel-drive, you have the choice of a 6-speed manual or 7-speed DCT automatic ‘box which will see 0-62mph in the region of 9.9 seconds with a combined return of around 40mpg.
A 1.5-litre dCi turbocharged diesel engine producing 115ps is also only available in front-wheel-drive, but with the option of a six-speed manual or 7-speed DCT ‘box. Seeing a combined return in the early 50’s mpg, you can expect 0-62mph in around 12.3 seconds.
If you require a little extra grunt, there is a 1.7-litre dCi which produces 150ps and with a 6-speed manual gearbox, is available in front-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive. Seeing 0-62mph in around 9.5 seconds you can expect a combined return in the late 40’s mpg.
This engine is also available with a CVT automatic transmission and comes as four-wheel-drive only.
The model tested and pictured, a ‘Blade Silver’ 1.3 DIG-T 140ps 6-speed manual, in ‘N-Connecta’ guise will set you back £26,195. Check on Nissan’s website to tailor a suitable leasing option for your needs to get an accurate monthly payment option.
Despite the still slightly dated feel inside, the Qashqai offers plenty of room with comfortable seating and a nice driving position, whilst all switch-gear is within easy reach. The load space in the boot, although not capable of carrying our double buggy, is more than capable, I feel, of coping with the needs of a school aged family.
Usually when I receive a car equipped with the entry-level engine and gearbox, they’re quite underwhelming. This cannot be said for Nissan Qashqai however. Its baby engine is punchy around town, yet offers enough torque that it never feels too strained when on the open road.
The Qashqai feels not only safe on the road, but surprisingly sure-footed too. With minimal body roll present, Nissan have managed to retain a vast amount of ride comfort.
Nissan over 3-year, 60,000 mile warranty and servicing of this petrol model tested recommended annually, or at 18000 mile, whichever comes first.
Fact File for model tested
Make : Nissan
Model : Qashqai
Trim : N-Connecta
Engine : 1.3 turbocharged petrol
Gearbox : 6-speed manual
Cost : £26,195
Words & Photos: GRAHAM BAALHAM-CURRY
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