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MotorBar - New Car Reviews
Nissan Qashqai Tekna+ 1.5 dCi 110 2WD

Click to view picture gallery“The Qashqai is Nissans most
  successful model to date with over
  one million sold since launch and,
  better still, it’s DBGB — Designed
  and Built in Great Britain...”


SO SHOULD WE ALL, in the words of The Vapors, be turning Japanese? Actually, when you look at what you get then the answer, certainly for most car-owners, could very well be Hai! (Yes!).

The Qashqai is the UK's fourth best-selling car (and the only crossover/SUV in the top ten) with getting on for 60,000 bought in the past twelve months. These latest five-seater Qashqais are bigger and roomier than any that have gone before, and earlier this year benefited from a facelift.

This latest Qashqai is a bold looking machine, fronted by a stylish 'V' chrome-and-black grille and wraparound headlight units capped by a strongly profiled clamshell-style bonnet that in turn runs back to a steeply raked screen. The flanks are sculpted, and the waistline rises to a kicked-up rear-three-quarter glasshouse treatment that adds a flourish of coupe. Finished in Vivid Blue metallic paint and riding on 19-inch diamond cut alloy wheels, the Qashqai undeniably stands out from the crossover crowd.

Diesels remain popular
for one very good reason:
their torque takes the
strain out of hauling full
loads — peeps or cargo
— while going easy
on the fuel.
And unless you’re giving
it some wellie, the four-
pot 1.5-litre diesel under
the Qashqai’s bonnet
is fairly discreet; at times
you barely hear it at all.
It’s also green-hued
enough to make a
difference, emitting just
99g/km of CO2...”
Whichever fuel you favour there's a Qashqai to suit: choose between two diesels (110hp 1.5-litre and 130hp 1.6-litre) or a pair of petrol-drinkers (1.2-litre with 115hp and 163hp 1.6). And if you'd like your crossover with four-wheel grip or just plain ole (but perfectly fine) two-wheel drive, again the choice is yours.

There's much to recommend the 1.5-litre 108bhp (110hp) diesel, not least the 191lb ft of torque that's on tap from 1,750rpm and which contributes to its willing nature; it's nicely responsive, picking up crisply in traffic. Top speed is 113mph and it will kick the dust up to hit the benchmark 62mph from standstill in 11.9 seconds. It's also green-hued enough to make a difference, emitting just 99g/km of CO2.

Diesels remain popular for a very good reason: their torque takes the strain out of hauling full loads — peeps or cargo — while going easy on the derv. If you regularly drive solo or two-up, so much the better. And unless you're giving it some wellie, the four-pot 1.5-litre diesel under the Qashqai's bonnet is fairly discreet; at times you barely hear it at all. Obviously with only 108bhp you'll be best served making proper use of the gears in overtaking situations if you really need to scoot past — not a problem because the six-speed manual gearbox is an easy-changer.

Cruising motorways it's more than happy at the legal limit. Cars generate a lot of wind noise, most of it from air streaming under the floorpan, but the Qashqai has a solution that makes use of underbody Vortex Generators to sort things out. And it works — inside the cabin you won't hear much of any noise, wind or engine.

These days more drivers are more impressed with miles-per-gallon than miles-per-hour. Officially, this 1.5-litre unit is good for 74.3mpg. At the end of a hard week's testing over a mix of roads from single-track lanes to four-lane motorways and plenty of urban (but decidedly not urbane) stopping-and-starting in between, our Qashqai had recorded a real-world average of 55.7mpg — for a decent-sized family-friendly car this is more than acceptable. There is, of course, a fuel-saving idle stop/start system fitted although we do tend to keep them switched off so the mpg figures we get are worst-case.

And for many drivers, the Tekna+ version's cabin will be as equally appealing as its engine's restrained thirst. Taking up a usefully compact 4.4-metres of road space, the Qashqai's interior is genuinely accommodating; it's also well-designed and upscale attractive — with ambient lighting, metallic and high-gloss black finishing, Monoform sports seats with quilted centre panels upholstered in black Nappa leather, well stocked with kit, and open to the skies…
Well, almost — the standard-fit full-length glass roof makes for a great cabin ambiance, and there's a powered one-shot blackout shade for when things get too dazzling.

These days more drivers
are more impressed
with miles-per-gallon
than miles-per-hour.
At the end of a hard
week’s testing over a mix
of roads from single-track
lanes to four-lane
motorways and plenty of
urban (but decidedly
not urbane) stopping-
and-starting in between,
our Qashqai had
recorded a real-world
average of 55.7mpg —
for a decent-sized
family-friendly car
this is more than
acceptable
...”
You sit high off the floor, so that sought-after 'commanding' driving position is a given, along with good visibility in all directions and a proper view down the bonnet — it also makes getting in and out physically easy. Once in there's generous headroom, and you'll find the seats long-term supportive (especially around your shoulders) with bolstering that keeps you nicely located.

The driver gets a meaty-rimmed, flat-bottomed multifunction steering wheel, powered seat adjustment with powered 4-way lumbar and a memory function that includes the door mirrors (the front passenger also enjoys a power-operated seat but with manual lumbar adjustment); both front seats are also heated (very effectively too), while height-adjustable front seatbelts ensure a nice fit when you're belted-up.

Making life even easier for the driver is a hassle-free auto releasing electric parking brake that self-applies when the engine is switched off and can be set to automatically hold the car when stopped in traffic (don't worry, it then auto releases as soon as the accelerator is pressed). All of which makes the Qashqai is a very easy car to just get in, start and drive away — perfect in our hectic and complicated world.

The instrument panel has very clear, white-on-black, reflection-free dials covering speed and revs, separated by a multifunction driver's information display that shows, at your fingertip's command via the multifunction wheel, everything from your road speed to traffic signs recognised by the onboard camera (helpfully, any conditional speed limits appear alongside the official posted speed limit), cruise and speed limiter info, trip control data, turn-by-turn navigation prompts, tyre pressures, and vehicle settings, to the status of your Qashqai's driving aids (lane departure, blind spot, emergency braking, etc).

In-cabin storage easily passes muster with a very deep and sizeable bin (and inner upper tray) beneath the wide-enough-to-share padded armrest between the front seats, large cupholders, another deep open tray ahead of the gearlever, and a usable damped glovebox.

The Tekna+ specification is at the top of the tree in the Qashqai line-up and it wants for nothing — in-car entertainment highlights include a Premium Bose audio system with eight speakers and a dual-driver subwoofer, digital amplifier, and DAB digital radio with CD audio system that's linked to the NissanConnect 7-inch touchscreen navigation and entertainment system.

Naturally this includes smartphone integration to keep you in touch with the likes of Facebook and Twitter and makes easy work of using Google search (even easier using voice commands!) and Trip Advisor. Plus, not only is it easy to find your way around the 3D SatNav but there are some really useful features such as 'sharp bend' and 'over speed' warnings; you can even find your destination on your laptop then send it to the Qashqai's SatNav long before you set out.

The ride comfort
will be to your
passengers’ liking;
most road surfaces are
ridden over without
any sort of disturbance
which is good news.
Equally, the handling
will satisfy the driver;
overall the Qashqai feels
planted and handles
with confidence...”
Along with essentials such as automatic dual-zone climate control with pollen filter, ambient lighting, keyless entry and locking, push-button engine start, a smart parking jockey to do it all for you, electric one-shot windows, powerfolding heated door mirrors, auto-dimming rearview mirror, cruise control and speed limiter, Bluetooth with audio streaming, Aux and USB ports, and rear privacy glass, the Tekna+ also comes with a panoramic glass roof with a one-shot sunblind.

Safety-wise there are driver and passenger side and curtain airbags, a Smart Vision Pack (includes traffic sign recognition, auto dipping headlights, lane departure warning, and Intelligent Emergency Braking that assists in avoiding collisions with autonomous braking activated should the driver ignore the warnings), as well as Safety Shield Plus (driver alert system to make sure you're not nodding off, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, and a system that detects moving objects ahead, particularly foot traffic, and chassis control to improve ride comfort and handling).

You also get an Electronic Stability Programme, front and rear parking sensors, tyre pressure monitoring, puncture repair kit, LED headlights with adaptive front lighting and automatic levelling, LED signature daytime running lights with directional indicators, LED signature rear lights, heated windscreen, rain-sensing wipers, front, rear and side view cameras that provide a 360-degree colour view of what's around the car — it's triggered automatically when reversing or you can select it manually. All of which cover your back (and front and sides) and make for relaxing and reassuring driving on today's dicey roads.

Travelling in the back of any car was once bad news. Not any more and definitely not if you're in the back of a Qashqai where you'll be well accommodated in the head, legs, knees and feet departments. The backrests are set at a relaxing angle and thanks to the extensive glass roof panel that stretches all the way to the rear headrests the rear cabin is brilliantly light and airy. Enhancing comfort is a drop-down centre armrest with twin cupholders along with padded outer armrests.

Adding interest are the wide-ranging views out, including forwards between the front seats helped by front seatbacks that are not the usual tombstone shape but more rounded. And Yes, a third in the middle is doable. Those needing to carry young 'uns will be glad of the Isofix child seat anchorage points and the seatbelt monitoring that alerts the driver to any belt being unbuckled.

Maxed out the loadbay
swallows 1,569 litres of
cargo —
401 litres
in its standard ‘boot’
configuration with
the rear seats in use.
Adding plenty of
versatility is a height-
adjustable floor and a
Luggage Board system
of shelves and dividers
that allows the boot
to be configured eighteen
different ways so
there’s a place for
everything and
everything can be in
its place...”
The Qashqai's ride comfort will be to your passengers' liking, even with the large 19-inch wheels (they're shod with 225/45 Michelin Pilot Sport rubber). Most road surfaces are ridden over without any sort of disturbance which is good news for passengers.

And as the ride quality will satisfy passengers, so too will the handling satisfy the driver: body roll is well managed, the brakes (discs at each corner) provide reassuring stopping, and the steering is sharp and precise. Overall the Qashqai feels planted and handles with confidence.

In town, and when grabbing that last (but inevitably tight) parking space, you can enjoy the lighter-weighted 'normal' steering; out on the open road you might prefer to select the heavier 'Sport' setting for a better sense of control.

Maxed out the loadbay swallows 1,569 litres of cargo (401 litres in its standard 'boot' configuration with the rear seats in use). Adding plenty of versatility is a height-adjustable floor and a Luggage Board system of shelves and dividers that allows the boot to be configured eighteen different ways so there's a place for everything and everything can be in its place.

The Qashqai makes use of a lightweight rigid parcel shelf for its luggage cover; it rises with the light-to-lift keyless-op tailgate for quicker access to the boot than a roller blind, and takes but a jiffy to store under the floor. The boot sill is level with the loadbay floor and with the 60:40-split backrests folded down you get a flat and seamless cargo bay floor. The gloss silver roof rails (that match the gloss silver door mirror skins) aren't just for show — you can carry more on top, or you can tow a braked 1,350kg.

The satisfyingly practical Qashqai is the perfect fit with most drivers' motoring needs and makes a serious do-it-all family car; smart-looking, it's comfortable, roomy and refined, and easy to drive — spend just a day behind the wheel and you'll understand perfectly why it's so popular (these past twelve months it's even been outselling VW's Golf). And no doubt at all it will continue to trump its rivals. Turning Japanese? I think I already am! ~ MotorBar
.
Nissan Qashqai Tekna+ 1.5 dCi 110 2WD | £29,580
Maximum speed: 113mph | 0-62mph: 11.9 seconds | Test Average: 55.7mpg
Power: 108bhp | Torque: 191lb ft | CO2: 99g/km

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