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Driven: Nissan Qashqai 2018MY. Image by Nissan.

Driven: Nissan Qashqai 2018MY
The segment-defining crossover, updated and facelifted for 2018.

 



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Nissan Qashqai 2018MY

4 4 4 4 4

Good points: Does everything required of it to a very high standard, facelift looks good, gorgeous 19-inch diamond-cut alloys on the Tekna+

Not so good: It's not very memorable, price as tested

Key Facts

Model tested: Nissan Qashqai Tekna+ dCi 110 2WD
Price: Qashqai range starts from 19,295; Tekna+ dCi 110 2WD from 29,580, car as tested 30,325
Engine: 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel
Transmission: front-wheel drive, six-speed manual
Body style: five-door crossover
CO2 emissions: 99g/km (120 VED first 12 months, then 140 annually thereafter)
Combined economy: 74.3mpg
Top speed: 113mph
0-62mph: 11.9 seconds
Power: 110hp at 4,000rpm
Torque: 260Nm at 1,750- to 2,500rpm

Our view:

Setting the benchmark in whatever field you happen to work in is both a blessing and a curse. If you're out there as the yardstick, then you've obviously done something right in order to lead the way - but, obviously, your rivals are all out to take you down.

It could be said that the Nissan Qashqai is in that unenviable situation... and you might even argue that it has already been taken down, superseded by more interesting and more competent alternatives. Nissan, though, would hasten to disagree, and in the minds of the British car-buying public, it seems the Qashqai is still king (qing?); sales are up on 2016 and in September 2017, the unthinkable happened and the Qashqai outsold the Ford Fiesta on these shores. That, we don't mind telling you, is a phenomenal achievement.

Part of the success in recent months has been down to this facelifted model, launched midway through 2017 for the 2018MY. A more daring grille is the most obvious giveaway of the newcomer, while better materials have been used inside - on this range-topping Tekna+ trim, that includes natty 'watchstrap' leather seats, which are highly attractive. There's also a pleasing swoopiness to the Nissan's otherwise sombre dashboard and, as the flagship specification, a kit list that's positively exhausting to read through in full. Vivid Blue, a new colour, suits its lines well and the 19-inch wheels on the Tekna+ have to be some of the loveliest alloys on sale on a mainstream car right now. Mind you, paying more than 30 grand for one of these things, even with tempting PCP deals, has to be some form of lunacy. Anyway, despite that, none of the Qashqai's practicality has been lost during the update and so, in terms of its showroom appeal, the customer want will remain strong with the Nissan.

Dynamically, however, the Qashqai is rather unremarkable. This 1.5-litre turbodiesel is just about borderline acceptable in terms of the motive power it bestows on a physically large machine, and while it is smooth and hushed enough in operation, it's by no means the standard-bearer for refinement in this class. The Nissan's handling is above average without ever being thrilling, but the ride quality and noise suppression both stand comparison with anything else in the sector - at speed, the Qashqai dCi is impressively graceful and quiet. The major controls, in the form of the steering, brakes and gearbox, all operate with a light, easy fluidity but none of them provide a noteworthy, pleasing action, instead being merely adequate for the job in hand. In short, the Nissan drives perfectly proficiently, and a little bit boringly too. It's good on fuel, though; we saw 48.3mpg average across 125 miles conducted exclusively away from dual carriageways and motorways - so 60mpg on a cruise wouldn't be out of the question.

Nevertheless, staid kinematics have never harmed Nissan's phenomenally successful crossover before. No, the main problem for the Qashqai today is that, while it remains a solid contender in all departments and it's by far and away the best-selling crossover of its size, there's now a wealth of talent out there nipping at its heels that there never was before. All three of the rivals we list below offer something extra over and above the Nissan, which makes its safely-safely approach to seeing off the competition seem, contrarily, a touch risky. Indeed, we could go through the vast array of crossover and SUV rivals on offer in the UK and find you examples which are better-looking, or which have nicer interiors, or which drive in a sharper manner, or which possess finer drivetrains, or which represent superior value-for-money, and so on and so on.

The fact is, though, that there are few competitors that can do such a broad range of things as well as the Qashqai can. It's almost Volkswagen-esque in that regard - there's no one area where you think it's absolutely stunning, yet if you think hard about it, you'll struggle to conjure up any real weaknesses with the Nissan. OK, you need a cheaper model than our test car, and if you're after excitement, then you're better off looking elsewhere, but if you're in the market for a competent crossover, you'd be mad to ignore this facelifted Qashqai. It's not the crossover yardstick any more, but it's still one of the finest all-rounders of its type.

Alternatives:

Hyundai Tucson: Representing the two strong Korean motors in this class, the Tucson is our choice because it looks nicer than a Kia Sportage. Interior is as plain-Jane as the Qashqai's, though.

Peugeot 3008: Has a knockout cabin and it looks superb on the outside, while a range of appealing, modern engines make the 2017 European Car of the Year our favourite machine in this class.

SEAT Ateca: Not far behind the Pug is the Ateca, a typically brilliant SEAT product with a wealth of top-notch drivetrains and the Spanish brand's chiselled appearance.


Matt Robinson - 24 Nov 2017









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2017 Nissan Qashqai UK drive. Image by Nissan.2017 Nissan Qashqai UK drive. Image by Nissan.2017 Nissan Qashqai UK drive. Image by Nissan.2017 Nissan Qashqai UK drive. Image by Nissan.2017 Nissan Qashqai UK drive. Image by Nissan.

2017 Nissan Qashqai UK drive. Image by Nissan.2017 Nissan Qashqai UK drive. Image by Nissan.2017 Nissan Qashqai UK drive. Image by Nissan.2017 Nissan Qashqai UK drive. Image by Nissan.







 

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