Nissan Qashqai 115 DCI N-Connecta
When Nissan launched their crossover model the Qashqai in 2006, it started a revolution of sorts. Viewed initially as strange, it has since gone on to revolutionise the sector it started, where by 2018 all major car manufacturers have a Qashqai ‘copy’, determined to make the most of the Qashqais success & have some for themselves.
Nissan unveiled a new Nissan Qashqai in 2013, sleeker, more frugal & just as practical as it’s predecessor & judging by the sales figures, incredibly popular as well. In late 2017 Nissan refreshed the Qashqai, with revised styling, improvements in interior quality & new equipment. There was also minor revisions to the way it drives, while a new high-end trim level pushes it further upmarket.
Basics first. The latest model is powered by a choice of four engines: 1.2 and 1.6-litre turbo petrols, plus 1.5 and 1.6-litre diesels. The five trim-levels available on the Nissan Qashqai are Visia, Acenta, N-Connecta Tekna & the flagship Tekna + & prices start at £17,795. The new Qashqai adds a huge range of clever in-car technology & a choice of manual or Xtronic automatic gearboxes. The interior quality is better than in the Mk1 which it has to be bearing in mind the competition from the likes of the Mazda CX-5, Toyota Rav4, KIA Sportage, Hyundai Tucson, Honda CRV as well as the up-market copies from BMW, Audi & Mercedes-Benz.
Nissan have also increased the space and practicality inside the Mk2, another step in the right direction although it’s not class leading. They’ve also stopped producing the Qashqai+2, so if you want seven seats you’ll have instead to consider the larger Nissan X -Trail.
The second-generation Nissan Qashqai looks far more upmarket than the original model. The overall shape is similar to it’s predecessor, it’s still typical crossover, with a raised ride height, chrome roof rails and black plastic trim giving a familiar rugged off-roader look. But look closer & it’s far more angular, with a sharper nose inspired by the latest Micra, angular headlamps, LED running lights, twin chrome bars on the grille. At the back, the LED tail-lamps wrap around the corners of the car and on to the tailgate, making the rear of the Mk2 far more interesting than it’s predecessor.
Inside, the Qashqa’is been smartened up. Gone are the circular air vents replaced by slim & sleek ones. There’s now sporty cowled dials & a full-colour trip computer display, while the gloss black trim on the dashboard as well as coloured ambient lighting on the centre console give this Qashqai an upmarket feel. Material quality has been boosted, with a plusher feel to the materials & some higher grade leather on top trims.
My test model was the 1.5 dCi N-Connecta, which was nicely equipped, with the NissanConnect 7″ touchscreen nav & entertainment system including a CD radio with DAB & with nicely judged colour front, rear & side cameras, which enable one to view the car on the screen. There should be NO excuse for a prang in this Qashqai ! Add a keyless Start button, Bluetooth, cruise control with limiter, intelligent park assist, & a tyre pressure monitoring system & the whole package impresses. There’s also a panoramic glass roof, leather heated front seats, electrically adjusted drivers seat, dual zone climate control & rear privacy.
Safety features include ESP, ABS, EBD & brake assist, chassis control, hill start assist, around view monitor with blind spot warning on the mirrors, driver attention alert, traffic sign recognition- great for the 30 mph zones you don’t know about, forward emergency braking, high beam assist & even lane departure warning.
The diesel engines available on the Nissan Qashqai have been manufactured by Renault. My test models 1.5-litre diesel dCi has been around for a while & although adequate, it feels a little underpowered for this car compared to some similar sized rivals. Still, it’s quiet & the smooth gear changes make town or motorway driving enjoyable & it’s definitely more refined as a whole than the Mk1 with less wind & road noise in the cabin.
The 1.5dCi diesel may be underpowered but it’s great for staying away from petrol pumps. Claimed combined fuel economy is 74.3mpg with excellent CO2 figures of 99g/km, which should appeal to SME’s.The 1.6-litre diesel is similarly frugal claiming 65.7mpg and 115g/km of CVT, while opting for the excellent Xtronic CVT auto on this model only penalises things slightly with 62.8mpg and 119g/km.
Also included is Nissan’s Active Engine Brake function, which reduces jerkiness in the transmission when you lift off the throttle. Plus, the Body Motion Control constantly dabs the brakes to smooth out body movement over bumps. It works well, particularly at low speed, but hit a series of imperfections and the ride gets fidgety as the brakes and dampers fight to keep control. Safety experts at Euro NCAP awarded the new Qashqai the full five stars, with the car scoring well in the adult and child occupant categories.
It has a slightly larger cabin than before, but it’s still a squeeze getting three adults on the back seat. The interior also comes with useful storage. A large glovebox and several cubbies perfect for water bottles & things. An electric handbrake also frees up the centre console for extra stowage and cup-holders.
The Qashqai’s 430-litre luggage area is impressive, and also features a flat loading lip and base, plus it benefits from a clever false floor that doubles as a boot divider. Fold the rear bench seat flat and the capacity increases to 1,585 litres. A friend asked what the compartment in the back was for so I looked in the guide book & discovered, that it’s for storing the parcel shelf, great if you hire one & have four suitcases which won’t fit in the back with the parcel shelf, as has happened to me on many occasions in Europe !
I drove the Qashqai almost 500 mile in the week I had it for & I can honestly say that it didn’t skip a beat. It was as happy in traffic in town as it was cruising on the motorway & a lot of this was due to the light clutch employed here. As a family we owned a Mk1 Qashqai & this version is more attractive, is better built, with a higher quality feel & is more frugal than it’s predecessor, so all in all it’s definitely a winner. My 1.5 DCI 115 test car would set you back £25,295, which considering the equipment levels on board, seemed about right.
Criticisms ? Only one. There’s not enough USB connections in the cabin, but otherwise none. The Qashqai has been copied by everyone, but the original is still one of the best all-rounders in the sector.
A great all-rounder 4/5