FIVE + 2 = QASHQAI MPV?
Even though the crossover/SUV segment isn’t the golden child it once was (say, 12 months ago), Nissan has managed to buck the trend with Qashqai. Boasting European sales of over 250,000 units (32,000 in the UK since it was launched in March last year), the Qashqai is proving to be Nissan’s most successful vehicle, ever. Good news for Nissan and even better news for Sunderland where it’s built. Now they’re targeting the MPV market by placing two further seats in the rear, and have set their sights on having some of the action enjoyed by likes of Vauxhall with the Zafira, and Renault’s Grand Scenic.
The additional seats themselves aren’t that big – child-sized in fact – and perhaps that’s why this particular Qashqai variant isn’t being sold as anything more than a 5+2 (hence, the +2 on the badging). Although the overall length is now 210mm longer than the 5-seat model, most of that extra metal has been added to the central area of the wheelbase – not just the rear quarter – ensuring the Qashqai’s proportions remain intact with short overhangs. They’ve also raised the roofline by 38mm which gives passengers in the front and middle row of seats more headroom, 16mm and 10mm respectively. The third row of seats fold completely flat into the floor, leaving an extra 90 litres of cargo space over the standard 5-seater (if you include the ‘secret’ under-floor stowage compartment and fold down the second row of seats there’s potentially 500 litres).
To allow passengers ease of access, the rear doors have been restyled and widened, as have the front. A new tailgate with a deeper window and a revised back bumper are the main cosmetic differences to the exterior. Little has changed over its shorter brother in the running gear and ride department. The suspension set-up has had a tweak to compensate for the extra length – thankfully, it still retains saloontype handling – but the engine and transmission stay the same. The 6- speed auto still has the astonishing ability to zap the life out of the 2.0-litre dCi engine and without doubt the 6-speed manual is much better suited to geeup all of the available 148 horses.
There are three, highly equipped trim levels on sale now – Visia, Acenta and Tekna – with the option of choosing either front-wheel drive only, or the all mode 4×4. Prices start from £18,599.
RIVALS: RENAULT GRAND SCENIC DYNAMIQUE S dCi 150, VAUXHALL ZAFIRA ELITE 1.9 CDTi 16v, VW TOURAN SPORT 2.0 TDI
- Engine: 1994cc, 4 cylinder turbodiesel
- Gearbox: 6-speed manual
- Max Power: 148bhp at 4,000rpm
- Max Torque: 236lb ft at 2,000rpm
- Max Towing Weight: 1,400kg
- Combined Consumption: 40.4mpg
- CO2 Emissions (taxband): 188g/km (F)
- 0-62mph: 11.3secs
- Max speed: 117mph
- Insurance Group: 10