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Nissan Qashqai 2.0 dCi Tekna 2WD

Click to view picture gallery“The Qashqai has been a huge sales
  hit for Nissan because it ticks all the
  right boxes — a versatile family car
  for all seasons and more reasons
...”


NISSAN CLAIM TO HAVE INVENTED the term 'crossover' with the launch of the Qashqai in March 2007. Since then it has become the best selling model range ever for Nissan Europe.

In its size sector, only the Vauxhall Astra, Ford Focus BMW 3 Series and VW Golf outsell it. The Qashqai appeals to a broad spread of customers because it offers so much for so many, whether they are retail, business user-choosers, fleet or a considerable number of Motability users.

As a crossover the Qashqai is a family-sized hatchback with styling elements of an SUV soft off-roader and seating elements of a compact MPV people carrier.

Prices for the most popular five-seat versions, following recent updates, now range from 15,695 up to 26,195; the seven seat Qashqai+2 models cost between 16,995 and 27,345. The vast majority sold are two-wheel drive versions. Four engines are available: 1.6 and 2.0-litre petrol and 1.5 and 2.0-litre diesel. Automatic transmission options are available on some versions of the 2.0-litre petrol and diesel units.

The Qashqai is easy
to drive, easy to load
with passengers,
luggage, the family dog
or just ‘stuff’
...”
Extensive updates in Spring 2010 and now the introduction of the 2011 model year range mean Qashqai is even better, and all models are now fully compliant with the Euro 5 emissions regulations.

The changes earlier in the year saw a complete makeover at the front, with an all-new bonnet, front bumper, wings, grille and headlamps combining to give the Qashqai a greater sophistication with improved presence and quality.

At the rear, the lights were updated with a more transparent lens design featuring a clear upper portion housing the reversing lights and indicators, and a red lower section with the brake and night-time running lights. For maximum clarity the brake and tail lights now operate using 12 LEDs.

Three new exterior colours Gun Metallic, Magnetic Red and Mineral Grey complement the overall restyling, while 16- and 17-inch alloy wheels are new five-spoke designs that enhance the Qashqai's kerbside attitude.

Inside, there's a new design to the main dials which gives added clarity and legibility; the redesigned driver's computer features a new white LCD screen. Further improvements come in the shape of low-level lighting around the front footwells, creating a warmer cabin ambience.

Additional oddments storage takes in a new cubby at the base of the central cluster that's ideal for a mobile phone or portable audio player. Additionally, on the two-wheel drive versions (where the All-Mode selector isn't fitted), there's a new space for keys and swipe cards conveniently located between the seats just behind the gear selector.

And life aboard the Qashqai has been made even quieter courtesy of an all-new multi-layer insulation material around the front bulkhead and an 'acoustic' windscreen that reduces noise transmission. Occupants will also notice a reduction in wind noise around the A-pillar, achieved by changing the window sealing.

Customer research
has shown that drivers
love the
Qashqai
s blend
of solidity and agility
...”
Qashqai customer research has shown that drivers love the blend of solidity and agility however, some small but significant changes have been made to the suspension tuning to further improve ride comfort and responsiveness.

ESP is now fitted as standard across the range; Acenta models and above gain a speed limiter and Tekna models now feature a Bose speaker system. There are now, depending on the engine chosen, Visia, Visia Pure, Acenta and Tekna levels of specification.

The introduction of the 2011 model year Qashqais also sees the availability, for the first time, of a Stop/Start system on 1.6-litre petrol models. This not only improves fuel economy by up to 3% but also drops the Qashqai down one VED tax band, resulting in a welcome reduction in road tax.

One of the most significant changes to the range is the addition of a new Visia Pure Drive 1.5-litre dCi diesel variant. Wearing the badge reserved only for the Nissan models with the most environmentally efficient economy and emissions, this Qashqai Pure Drive produces only 130g/km of CO2 (down from the 137g/km of the standard model) with a Combined fuel consumption improved from 54.3 to 57.6mpg. This model has a 0 VED First Year road tax rate (90 a year thereafter). Company car drivers will like the reduced BIK tax, down to 18%.

Having driven a number of new crossover models which have entered the market recently, including the Peugeot 3008, Ford Kuga 2WD, Mitsubishi ASX 2WD, Hyundai ix35 and the Kia Sportage, it was time to get to grips with the latest Qashqai a 148bhp 2.0-litre dCi Tekna 2WD; not the best selling model as such but it has the most popular five-seat layout.

Carrying a price tag of 23,445 it is a model very close to the top of the range only the 4WD and 4WD automatic versions are more expensive, at 24,995 and 26,195. The auto 4WD version would be my choice; I live in the country and we get lots of snow, ice, mud and rain and, generally speaking, retail customers not hindered by company car tax prefer diesels and an auto 'box and the 4WD automatic is the ideal model for all seasons and all uses.

A smartly styled,
well equipped
comfortable and roomy
family car with
low running costs
...”
However, the 2WD version ticks virtually all the boxes and I can very easily see why the Qashqai continues to be very successful. The latest versions look better, have a really comfortable ride and handle better than other crossovers except for the Ford Kuga 2WD.

The Qashqai is also easy to drive, easy to load with passengers, luggage, the family dog or just 'stuff'. With five seats in use, the luggage space is an acceptable 410 litres but with the rear seats folded away this goes up to a very practical 1,513 litres. The only snag is that the rear seats do not fold completely flat.

For active users who need a vehicle for towing, the Qashqai's maximum braked towing weight is a lowish 1,400kg which isn't in the same league as an out-and-out SUV.

This Qashqai is economical on fuel my test car returned a very impressive 47.4mpg; the official Combined Cycle figure is 47.9mpg, so the vehicle does what is claimed by Nissan. With CO2 emissions of 155g/km, road tax is 155. Company car tax is 23%.

All Qashqai models are well equipped but the Tekna's specification is superb and really does bring home what good value this model is. All the usual features are there: power windows and door mirrors, air-conditioning, electronic stability programme, auto wipers and lights, cruise control, on-board computer and ambient lighting. Plus it includes leather upholstery, heated front seats, 18-inch alloy wheels and a 7-speaker Bose audio system pretty much the lot.

Downsides include some body roll when cornering, the long load floor is not flat when the rear seats are folded down, high gearing means frequent changes between fourth, fifth and sixth gears and there are annoying 'nanny-ing' warning chimes for too many functions.

On the plus side you get a smartly styled, well equipped comfortable and roomy family car with low running costs. And when you put all the 'goodies' the styling, the driving manners, ride comfort and the user-friendliness together it's no wonder this is a winning sales package. David Miles


Nissan Qashqai 2.0 dCi Tekna 2WD
| 23,445
Maximum speed: 121mph | 0-62mph: 9.5 seconds | Overall Test MPG: 47.4mpg
Power: 148bhp | Torque: 236lb ft | CO2 155g/km