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Nissan Qashqai 1.5 dCi Acenta Premium 2WD

Click to view picture galleryIt might have a Japanese name but
  the Qashqai is built in Britain

Right here. Right now, as Nissans
  TV ad says. More than just a sound-
  bite, its huge global sales success
  prove it
s also the right car at the
  right price

A NISSAN QASHQAI ROLLS off the Sunderland production line every 59 seconds! The plant produces a total of 550,000 new cars a year, eighty percent of them shipping overseas for export. In the UK, the Qashqai sells in big numbers to retail, business, fleet and Motability customers.

Last year it was the UK's sixth best-selling model range with over 50,000 registrations this year it occupies position seven in the new car sales Top Ten. This new third generation Qashqai is slightly larger and offers more interior space, is better to drive with higher equipment levels, boasts more driver aid functions, and it uses a new range of more fuel- and CO2-efficient engines.

The less popular seven-seater versions have been dropped from the line-up leaving just the roomier five-seater models. The low-selling 4WD models are limited to just one choice of engine the 130hp 1.6-litre dci turbodiesel, fitted with either a manual 'box or a new CVT automatic transmission. For the record, this engine, like all others, is offered with 2WD as standard.

“The 110hp 1.5-litre turbodiesel is a plucky unit and, generally, once on the move it’s responsive and more than just copes with maximum motorway cruising speeds without stress...
The two other powerplants are the new 115hp 1.2 DIG-T direct injection turbocharged petrol unit, and the equally new 110hp 1.5-litre dci turbodiesel. A 150hp 1.6 DIG-T turbo petrol unit will be available later in 2014.

The trim levels, dependent on engine, are Visia, Acenta, Acenta Premium and Tekna. I've been driving the likely best-selling retail version the 1.5 dci Acenta Premium with 2WD priced at 22,690.

Now this might seem like downsizing an engine too far in a vehicle of this size and load carrying potential, but the 110hp 1.5-litre turbodiesel is a plucky little number that serves up its 192lb ft of torque from 1,750rpm.

Generally, once on the move it's responsive and it more than just copes with maximum motorway cruising speeds without stress. Admittedly it's a tad sluggish coping with rolling starts in second gear at road junctions and roundabouts, but once the turbo is blowing the acceleration picks up smartly enough. It takes 11.9 seconds to get from zero to 62mph. Top speed is 113mph.

For most owners the fuel economy and tax implications will be far more important than outright speed. So they'll be pleased to hear that the official Combined Cycle figure is a headline 74.3mpg. In the real world, racking up miles mostly on long motorway journeys at 70mph or in stop-start traffic, it averaged 52.6mpg. True, that's nowhere near the official figure but for a family car of this size I didn't feel short-changed. Another big advantage is the low CO2 emission figure of 99g/km, which means no road tax to pay.
So for most Qashqai customers the 1.5-litre dci unit will satisfy most needs.

It's easy to drive; it has an elevated seating position, so getting in and out is easy; there's now more headroom and better rear seat space and legroom and the seats offer more support; the ride comfort is much better with this new generation Qashqai; and the handling will not disappoint most drivers. And there are more plusses: quality and design of the interior trim looks and feels a much higher grade it certainly looks posher!

The extra boot space (now 430 litres with as much as 1,585 litres available with the rear seats folded), and the height-adjustable load floor is very useful, especially the 16-combination luggage board system which offers a variety of solutions for securing parcels, bags and such like. All very well thought out.

“You don’t need a week
behind the wheel
to understand why it’s
s most
successful vehicle
to date — a first rate
family car that
s roomy,
easy to drive,
well designed inside
and out, and affordable
to run..
The specification of the Acenta Premium is first class, including as it does power windows and heated door mirrors, AirCon, the Smart Vision Pack (which includes traffic sign recognition, auto high/low beam headlights, lane departure warning, front collision warning, and front and rear parking sensors).

Also included is Nissan Connect with its 7-inch touchscreen navigation and entertainment functions, DAB radio, Bluetooth, colour reversing camera, cruise control, on-board computer, panoramic glass sunroof (which does a fine job of brightening up the dark interior), 17-inch alloy wheels, and a fuel-saving stop/start system.

And there's even more: push-button Start and an electronic parking brake. It really is the complete package and complements the overall desirability and functionality the new Qashqai offers motorists who want a functional and smart-to-look-at family car.

The design doesn't differ that much from the first generation Qashqai: it's slightly larger and a bit more curvaceous, with a bolder and stylish front grille flanked by new headlights. The rising waistline lends a hint of coupe suggesting 'pace'. Unfortunately, the glass windows at the rear corners are small so visibility in those areas is not as good probably the only area of the car where fashion outdoes function.

You don't need a week behind the wheel to understand why it's Nissan's most successful vehicle to date. A first rate family car, roomy, comfortable, easy to drive, well designed inside and out, and with affordable running costs, this latest Qashqai invites only minor criticisms (restricted rear quarter visibility, annoying electronic parking brake, no spare wheel). — David Miles

Nissan Qashqai 1.5 dci Acenta Premium 2WD
| 22,690
Maximum speed: 113mph | 0-62mph: 11.9 seconds | Test Average: 52.6mpg
Power: 110hp bhp | Torque: 192lb ft | CO2 99g/km