We motoring journos are an impartial bunch, of course, always keen to review every car we drive at a launch event fairly and squarely. But when weíre looking to buy a car ourselves, or even running one as a long-termer for six months or more, small, niggling loyalties or preferences can creep into focus. Take the lovely Magnetic Red Nissan Qashqai we have here as a prime example, exhibit (a) if you like. Now, I have no problem with the Nissan brand, but Iím ashamed to admit the sheer blinding success of the Qashqai in the UK means itís rarely a car to chat about with fellow car fanatics, or recount sighting stories. At some point in the past, a witness for the prosecution may even recall a time Iíve uttered the terrible term ìNissan cash cowî.
But that was then. The old me. Iíve since repented my sins against the original crossover and best-selling diesel car in Britain, for I have seen the light. Yes, on reflection and japes aside, the Qashqai is really rather good, and worthy of its enormous popularity. Iím sure the specification of ëourí car helps, because itís pretty much ideal as far as I can see. Sitting in the middle of the range, the N-Connecta trim gets you all the really handy equipment youíre sure to want, but wonít set you back as much as the more luxurious, but expensive Tekna and Tekna+. Who really needs leather upholstery in a Qashqai anyway?
And yes, for £25,555, it really does represent quite a good haul of kit. Not only do you get the dashing SUV pictured, with its stylish new V-Motion grille, but features like a birdís-eye view camera system that were the preserve of Range Rovers not so long ago. It makes parking far easier and is shown on the seven-inch display with DAB radio and navigation. Another really important benefit of N-Connecta trim is its Smart Vision Pack, because as well as front and rear parking sensors, lane departure warnings, automatic high-beam for the headlights and traffic sign recognition, it also brings autonomous emergency braking that reduces your chance of a collision and brings down the cost of insurance. Considering you get all this for around the cost of a well-specified Volkswagen Golf, itís not hard to see why over two million Qashqaiís have left Nissanís Sunderland factory.
Most customers will never need to delve into the options list, something that canít be said for a more upmarket model like the BMW X1, Mercedes-Benz GLA or MINI Countryman. Indeed, the only extras fitted to our test car are Nissanís Heat Pack and Comfort Pack. The former adds heated front seats and a ThermaClear heated windscreen for a highly reasonable £295, the same price Volkswagen charges for just a heated windscreen in the aforementioned Golf. The £595 Comfort Pack is somewhat oddly named, as it adds a fixed panoramic glass roof with a retractable shade and matte silver roof rails. Iím not sure how these boost comfort, but they do make the Qashqai more desirable and are similarly well priced compared with rivals.
Under the sculpted bonnet sits a 1.5-litre dCi engine with 109bhp. Shared with numerous Renaults and other Nissans, this is a proven motor that sends its 192lb ft of torque to just the front wheels. Itís no powerhouse then, but by far its most important vital statistics are the 74.3mpg fuel-economy figure and the 99g/km CO2 emissions published by Nissan. Youíll also notice how much quieter it is, because the popular diesel Qashqai is impressively smooth and refined. Thereíll be more on how OY17 LKK drives next month, but first impressions are mostly good. Its ride comfort and handling seem extremely well sorted on British roads, which is undoubtedly thanks to its development at Nissanís Cranfield Technical Centre. Its 1.5-litre diesel initially feels a little sluggish when pulling away, but performs better once on the move, so long as youíre in the right gear.
Date arrived 23rd October 2017
Fuel economy urban/extra urban/combined 67.3/78.5/74.3mpg on test 48.8mpg
In N-Connecta trim, the Qashqai comes loaded with equipment at an affordable price.
The 1.5-litre can feel a bit sluggish and it is easy to stall in first gear.