By now we've all heard the ads on various radio stations about the new Nissan Qashqai. It's among the most popular Crossover SUVs on the market and the outgoing model proved to be massively popular here in Ireland. This week Nissan were kind enough to hand over the keys of the most recent model and we brought it for a nice drive around Dublin, Wicklow, Wexford, and further afield.
Let’s start off with the physical look of the vehicle. I don’t think that many people would disagree with me if I said that this is a lot more stylish than the last model. There wasn’t much wrong with the outgoing Qashqai in this department, but seeing the more imposing lines and sleeker appearance of the new model you realise that the old model is becoming dated. This is simply a good-lucking machine - but it has brains too. You see the redesign of the exterior of this vehicle has greatly reduced the drag of the car. With the new style changes to the exterior Nissan has succeeded in making it more aerodynamic. According to the manufacturer they studied every detail on the surface of the vehicle - by altering these items not only did they reduce drag, but they also decreased CO2 emissions, improved the fuel economy of the machine and made the car more stable at higher speeds.
Another trick that Nissan pulled to increase the aerodynamic efficiency of the vehicle was adding an "Active Grille Shutter" system. Effectively this closes off the airflow of the radiator of the car when it is not needed. So, the shutter closes at speeds above 30km/h and opens whenever the engine needs cooling.
Step inside and enter a magnificent and comfortable area. When I reviewed the Juke Nismo I went on and on about how comfortable the interior was, well it’s the same with the particular Qashqai I sat into. Everything is laid out perfectly. The chunky centre console gave a nice enclosed feeling to the front. The seats were comfortable. The dash is brilliantly presented as is the on board computer and all of the accoutrements that come with it. This is a generous machine in the spec given to me.
In comparison with the outgoing model the inside of the Qashqai has improved in many areas. The boot, for example, is 20 litres bigger and it now offers 430 litres, which is a good figure in comparison with other vehicles in its segment. Head and leg room have also improved.
I drove their 1.5litre diesel model which offers 109bhp. This is not the most powerful machine you'll ever drive, but the power it does have is delivered in a very smooth, efficient and satisfying way. Nissan tells us that you will get from 0-100km/h in 11.9 seconds. If this isn't enough for you the quickest you will find is the 1.6 DCI 2WD version which will give you the same speed in 9.9 seconds (1.2 DIG-T litre petrol will give you 0-100km/h in 10.8 seconds).
The engine is quiet enough and the drive is more polished than the outgoing model. The gears are smooth too. In terms of handling, this vehicle corners very nicely, the steering wheel takes the weight of the vehicle reassuringly. The ride is best suited for outside the city as this machine wants to go forward too quickly in traffic, but in saying that it doesn't perform badly at all in cities. Another plus for this machine is that when on motorways it doesn't let much road noise in as you speed-up to the 120 km/h.
Thankfully safety is an element which is coming more and more to the forefront among manufacturers and a lot of Nissan's most recent safety equipment is available with the new Qashqai. Like other companies, Nissan has a vision towards zero accidents in their vehicles and as part of this they have a selection of features called "Nissan Safety Shield". Features available with this include; Front Collision Avoidance (which will warn drivers about closing gaps with the car in front and then if needs be it will apply the brakes to avoid collisions); Driver Attention Support (which is designed to check if the driver is getting drowsy (this monitors your driving style in the first ten minutes - after that if it notices erratic behaviour it indicates to the driver that they need a break); Traffic Sign Recognition (does what it says on the tin); Lane Departure Warning; and Blind Spot Warning.
One of the nicest things about this machine is that it's economical as well as everything else. On paper Nissan tells us that it offers 3.8litres to 100km. It's rare that I get the same fuel economy as what's on paper from the manufacturer; I can say that I achieved an average of about 5.3 litres to 100km/h over city and country.
There are four types of Qashqai available; 1.2 DIG-T litre petrol, 1.5 DCI MANUAL (the model I was testing), 1.6 DCI 2WD and 1.6 DCI CVT. Prices and trims can be seen below as well as optional extras available with the Qashqai.
The CBG.ie Verdict
Okay, I won't mess around here. I was really impressed by this vehicle and I understand the hype that surrounds it.
Read our Ford Kuga Review: http://www.cbg.ie/cbg-official-reviews/details/ford-kuga
Read our Nissan Juke Nismo Review: http://www.cbg.ie/cbg-official-reviews/details/nissan-juke-nismo-review