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First drive: Nissan Qashqai. Image by Nissan.

First drive: Nissan Qashqai
Nissan's segment-defining Qashqai gets a new look, more space and versatility to ensure it maintains its sales dominance.

   



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| First Drive | Madrid, Spain | Nissan Qashqai |

Overall rating: 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5

Sharper looks, more equipment, greater space and increased safety ensure Nissan's Qashqai crossover will continue to dominate the sales charts for the foreseeable future.

Key Facts

Model tested: Nissan Qashqai 1.5 dCi Tekna 2wd
Pricing: 24,840
Engine: 1.5-litre dCi turbodiesel
Transmission: front-wheel drive, six-speed manual
Body style: five-door crossover
Rivals: Kia Sportage, Ford Kuga, Volkswagen Golf
CO2 emissions: 99g/km
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

In the Metal: 4 4 4 4 4

Nissan's genre-defining crossover might have sold in astronomical numbers since its 2007 launch, but nobody was buying it for its exciting looks. The new car addresses that, adding some visual appeal to the forgettable appearance of its predecessor, being more confidently styled. It needed to be too, as the crossover class is now awash with Qashqai-alike rivals. The new car's looks are genuinely stand out, with Nissan widening, lengthening and lowering its proportions.

That greater attention to detail is carried over into the cabin. The materials all feel of a higher quality, while the fit and finish is improved too. There's more equipment as standard, while space for passengers is improved - particularly headroom. There's more oddment storage inside, while the boot gains - on Acenta trim upwards - a clever load partitioning system.

Driving it: 4 4 4 4 4

New looks bring revised and new powertrains, the 1.5 dCi engine delivering both respectable performance and class-leading emissions. Its 130hp and 320Nm outputs give it adequate rather than sparking performance, the Qashqai filling its everyday brief of ease of use very well indeed. Refinement is significantly enhanced over its predecessor, with wind, road and engine noise nicely suppressed, while the suspension manages to balance a good ride and respectable handling - even when riding on the larger 19-inch alloy wheels. The gearshift feels a bit long in throw across its gate, the driving position good and the steering adding weight over its predecessor. It won't thrill in the bends, but it remains composed in most situations, Nissan's 'Chassis Control' - which aids the Qashqai's trajectory in bends - can be felt giving a helping hand when the speed rises.

It's all very safe and surefooted, the Qashqai's increased steering weight adding a touch more feel and assurance in the bends, while body roll is largely contained by the suspension at regular speeds. It'll never handle like a conventional hatchback, but isn't overly compromised by its additional height over such rivals. That it manages its class-leading economy and emissions figures - officially it'll achieve 74.3mpg and 99g/km of CO2 - without feeling like an economy model is impressive, too. It's a talented all-rounder, despite the front-wheel drive models (four-wheel drive only offered in 1.6-litre dCi form) getting a less sophisticated twist beam rear suspension system.

What you get for your Money: 4 4 4 4 4

Prices for the new Nissan Qashqai start at 17,595 on-the-road. Trim levels are Visia, Acenta, Acenta Premium and Tekna. Engine options are 1.2-litre petrol and 1.5- or 1.6-litre dCi turbodiesel.

All versions of the Qashqai come with a comprehensive standard specification, including cruise control, air conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity and LED daytime running lights. Acenta adds alloy wheels and the useful luggage board system while Acenta Premium gains a panoramic roof and Nissan Connect, which includes a rear-view camera. Nissan also offers a range of driver aids including an around view monitor, blind spot warning system, moving object detection and support assist as part of its safety shield on Tekna models, while adding the 450 Smart Vision Pack brings Traffic Signal Recognition, Lane Departure Warning, Front Collision Avoidance and front and rear parking sensors.

Worth Noting

This model's sub-100g/km CO2 emissions rating means no road tax for the next few years, and it will also keep company car tax bills low. If you're after four driven wheels to match the SUV looks then you'll need the 1.6-litre dCi engine, while the automatic - a new CVT, which is a serious improvement over the old one - is also only available with the 1.6-litre dCi unit, though only in front-wheel drive guise.

Summary

A significantly improved Qashqai means Nissan can be sure of continued sales success in a class it defined. It's safer, more spacious, more refined and looks smarter, which, allied with the promise of excellent economy, make it a difficult package to fault. Nissan has owned this segment since 2007, and with the new Qashqai it looks set to continue to do so.


Kyle Fortune - 13 Jan 2014



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2014 Nissan Qashqai. Image by Nissan.2014 Nissan Qashqai. Image by Nissan.2014 Nissan Qashqai. Image by Nissan.2014 Nissan Qashqai. Image by Nissan.2014 Nissan Qashqai. Image by Nissan.

2014 Nissan Qashqai. Image by Nissan.2014 Nissan Qashqai. Image by Nissan.2014 Nissan Qashqai. Image by Nissan.2014 Nissan Qashqai. Image by Nissan.2014 Nissan Qashqai. Image by Nissan.



2014 Nissan Qashqai. Image by n.
 

2014 Nissan Qashqai. Image by Nissan.
 

2014 Nissan Qashqai. Image by Nissan.
 

2014 Nissan Qashqai. Image by Nissan.
 

2014 Nissan Qashqai. Image by Nissan.
 

2014 Nissan Qashqai. Image by Nissan.
 

2014 Nissan Qashqai. Image by Nissan.
 

2014 Nissan Qashqai. Image by Nissan.
 

2014 Nissan Qashqai. Image by Nissan.
 






 

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