Crossovers are big business in the UK. They’ve successfully bridged the gap between full-on 4x4s that were in favour with buyers a few years ago and the current trend for compact, clean and economical cars.
Despite their larger than average size, buyers seem to be able to keep a clean conscience with a crossover – they don’t look like bulky, gas-guzzling SUVs even if there is sometimes a heavy and unnecessary four-wheel drive system lurking underneath.
Throw in some original styling and chances are you’ll have hit. That’s exactly what Nissan did with the Qashqai. The chunky looks and practicality of a large car went down an absolute storm with British buyers, and keen pricing has proved it to be a viable alternative to a conventional family hatchback like the Ford Focus or Volkswagen Golf.
Due to its massive success, values are starting to drop. The Qashqai is still a young car, so it’s not as big a bargain as older rivals that have taken the brunt of their depreciation. However, if your budget stretches to £10,000 or more and you’re after capable and practical family transport with a twist, then the Nissan could be right up your street
Engines, specs and running costs
The Brit-built Qashqai is available with a choice of two diesel engines in 1.5 and 2.0-litre guise. To keep things simple, we’ve focused on the smaller 1.5 dCi unit, not least because it’s the most economical of the pair with average fuel economy of between 52.3 and 54.3mpg, depending on the year. The 1.5-litre model comes in lighter, front-wheel drive form only, which keeps running costs down and makes more sense for most buyers.
At launch, CO2 emissions sat at 145g/km, but they were reduced to 139g/km during 2008. The model you buy will dictate whether you pay £125 or £110 for your annual tax disc. Insurance isn’t a killer either, as most models sit in group 16, while the top-spec Tekna is one group higher. Originally there were three basic trim levels – Visia, Acenta and Tekna and they’re specced up in that order. N-Tec models were introduced in 2009, and sit between the Acenta and Tekna models with extra kit like satellite navigation. Mid-spec Acenta is the most commonly found version on used forecourts and represents the best value for money with plenty of standard kit.
What to look for
Japanese cars are renowned for top reliability and it seems that the Nissan is no exception – it’s certainly well put together. Due to the model’s youth, it’s difficult to identify any common niggles, but the most important thing to find out is whether the car has been recalled or not. Five recalls is a lot for a car that has only been in production for three years and if you take a look at our list, you’ll see that they’re not minor issues. See www.dft.gov.uk/vosa for a list of exactly what cars were affected. A quick phone call to a Nissan dealer should confirm whether the car in question was recalled or not.
Look out for damp patches on top of the dashboard. Some owners have reported a leak from the windscreen seal that creates condensation inside. It’s not unknown for the brakes to wear prematurely, either. Have a good look through the wheels to see if each brake disc and set of pads looks as though it has roughly the same amount of life left. If there’s a glaringly obvious difference between any of them, then you could be in for an early and expensive set of replacements. Listen out for a creaking or rattling sound. The Qashqai’s first recall in
2007 was down to a suspension fault and some owners have complained of noisy underpinnings, so keep your ears pinned back on the test drive.
Early petrol-powered Qashqais can be found for less than £10,000, but, as is always the case, diesel versions are that bit more desirable due to their lower running costs. Good 2007 Visia and Acenta models with above average mileage start at £10,000, but £11,000 is more realistic – you’re more likely to find one at this kind of price.
Around £13,000 or £14,000 will usually bag a 2008 Qashqai in Acenta trim, but don’t discount a slightly older, lower mileage car for the same money – especially if you can find one in top-spec Tekna trim. Anything over £15,000 should be a 2008 or 2009 model with modest miles. The trim levels tend to blend into one another at this point, so just try and get the best model you can for the money – we found a 2009 Tekna with 17,000 miles on the clock for £14,995 from a Nissan showroom, which is a top deal – especially seeing as it was covered by the firm’s used approved scheme. Franchised dealers are definitely worth a look, as many well-maintained cars will still be within the dealer network and salesmen will often throw in extras to sweeten the deal. Haggle hard – the Nissan has yet to absorb all of its depreciation, so chances are you won’t get your money back on the resale. Stress this to the seller to see if you can glean an extra bit of discount.
Was your car subject to a recall? Check out VOSA’s website to find out what went wrong and when, then ring a Nissan dealer directly. The Qashqai is quite a new car, so owners may know about the recalls but there’s no guarantee that they’ve got around to sorting them out yet.
Get on your hands and knees and inspect the brakes and suspension thoroughly. If you spy anything that looks out of place then walk away. Have the brakes worn evenly? If not, then expect to shell out for new pads and/or discs soon.
Can you hear any noise from the exterior of the car when it’s moving? Creaks and rattles could be down to dodgy suspension. If you’re unsure, get the seller to take the car for a quick spin and ride shotgun with them. Listen carefully to see if you can pinpoint the sound. If you’re struggling, then roll down the window to make it easier.
Is there any damp on the dashboard? If there is, then the seal around the windscreen could need replacing. Ask the seller if you can pour a jug of water across the screen to double check.
Nissan Qashqai 1.5 dCi
Engine: 1461cc, 4-cylinder, turbodiesel
Max Power: 105bhp at 4,000rpm
Max Torque: 177lb ft at 2,000rpm
Max towing weight: 1,200kg
Top speed: 108mph
Economy: 52.3 to 54.3mpg
CO2: 139 to 145g/km (E to F)
Insurance groups: 16 to 17
Nissan UK: www.nissan.co.uk
Qashqai Club: www.qashqaiclub.co.uk
Nissan Owners Club: www.nissanownersclub.com
Club Nissan: www.clubnissan.co.uk