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MotorBar - New Car Reviews
Nissan Qashqai Tekna 1.3 DIG-T 160 DCT

Click to view picture gallery“Theres something particularly
  gratifying about driving a car made
  in your homeland. And if that car
  happens to be a made-in-Britain
  SUV wearing a Qashqai badge,
  so much the better...”


IN THE HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT the longest-serving MP is accorded the honorific of 'Father of the House'. Not because of any particular talents they may have but purely because they've been around longer than their peers. Unlike the Qashqai, which has earned its 'Father of the Crossover' moniker the hard way — by being one of the first of an entirely new breed of car that is, more than a decade on and in a market awash with crossovers and SUVs, still the go-to crossover for many.

Measuring a city-practical 4.4-metres between bumpers and sporting the brand's signature V-Motion grille, the Qashqai, after thirteen years in the job, still cuts a dash. The sharply-creased clamshell bonnet with sleekly cut-in full-LED headlights looks bang up to date, while the sculpted flanks and standout diamond-cut-faced black 19-inch alloy wheels, 'kicked-up' rear shoulders and rakish glasshouse with spoiler and roof-mounted shark-fin antenna keep it all visually interesting.

Along with a recent
makeover, helping extend
the Qashqai’s
long-time popularity are
two economical new
powerplants: replacing
the previous 1.2-litre
and 1.6 petrol engines
are a pair of turboed
1.3-litre, four-cylinder,
petrol units with outputs
of 138 and 158bhp...”
Along with a recent makeover, helping extend the Qashqai's long-time popularity are two economical new powerplants. Replacing the previous 1.2-litre and 1.6 petrol engines are a pair of turboed 1.3-litre, four-cylinder, petrol units with outputs of 138 and 158bhp.

Qashqai cabins have always scored with their agreeably un-flash but decidedly well laid-out architecture and the 2019 models are even better. The mix and textures of finishings, both upholstery and other cabin trim, is tasteful and everything meticulously put together. Switchgear is exactly where you would expect to find it. All of which creates a satisfying upscale 'hit' the moment you climb aboard.

The Tekna's Monoform sports seats, upholstered in soft leather and fabric, benefit from comfortable bolstering and are supportive in all the right places. The driver's seat is power-adjustable; both front seats also adjust for height and both have adjustable lumbar support and two-stage heating. The sporty, flat-bottomed steering wheel's leather rim is agreeably meaty and good to hold plus you'll enjoy fine visibility and a commanding driving position.

The wheel is, as you'd expect, seriously multifunctional including controls for the five-inch multi-mode driving information display between the white-on-black dials, plus cruise, speed limiter, infotainment, etc, and makes it easy to stay in control while keeping your eyes on the road (or 'watching out for the other Bs', as my driving instructor was fond of saying).

Even taller front passengers will be able to stretch out without stealing legroom from whoever is sitting behind them, and with a fist-and-a-half of headroom hat-wearers will also feel at home. The panoramic glass roof is another big plus.

Whether your priority is finding your way or being entertained, the Qashqai's seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system is really easy to use. The Tom Tom-based SatNav is a breeze, with fast full-postcode destination entry. And to help keep you legal, Traffic Sign Recognition shows the posted limit alongside the digital road speed readout in the instrument panel.

Whether your priority
is finding your way
or being entertained, the
seven-inch touchscreen
infotainment system
is really easy to use.
The Tom Tom-based
SatNav is a breeze, with
fast full-postcode
destination entry.
And to help keep you
legal, Traffic Sign
Recognition shows the
posted limit alongside
the digital road speed
readout in the instrument
panel...”
On hand for smartphone linkage and handsfree calling is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto; traditional entertainment is well sorted with a high-spec, eight-speaker premium Bose sound system capable of delivering a concert-grade listening experience. Should you prefer, you can listen to the DAB digital radio, connect up to an MP3 player, or partake of some Bluetooth audio streaming... it's your life you choose!

Nissan gives you quantity as well as quality with keyless entry and locking (front doors and tailgate), keyless push-button Start, dual-zone climate control with pollen filter, electric parking brake, ambient cabin lighting, heated powerfolding (on-demand and automatically on locking and leaving) door mirrors, auto-dimming rearview mirror, one-touch power windows front and rear with remote opening and closing, 360-degree parking camera system, front and rear parking sensors, and rear privacy glass. And, as you'd be expecting from its family-friendly billing, plenty of useful cubbies.

Other safety features include Chassis Control with Intelligent Ride Control and an Electronic Stability Programme, adaptive LED front lighting with dynamic cornering lamps, LED daytime running lights and signature rear lights, automatic self-levelling headlights, a heated windscreen, tyre pressure monitoring, auto lights and wipes, height-adjustable front belts, and a full set of airbags.

Slotted into our Tekna's engine bay was the most powerful 1,332cc engine, the 157bhp (160PS) DIG-T if you regularly fill all the seats or plan on carrying heavy loads, it's the logical choice. While oil-burners have had their fair share of bad press, their strongest points were unquestionably their gutsy torque and superior economy. The good news is that this new 1.3 turboed petrol engine isn't short of torque and, partnered with the seven-speed double-clutch autobox, the power delivery is flexible.

So whenever you decide to suddenly up the pace, or just want to scoot safely past some slower-moving traffic, the muscular 199lb ft on tap ensures smooth and linear acceleration; enough to put a grin on your face. Around the houses it's perky and responsive with ample oomph available without the need to pile on the revs. Motorways, too, are cruised at a relaxed and refined canter, whichever side of the UK's legal limit you're on for the record, top speed is 123mph.

“Thanks to its compact
footprint, higher ride
height and commanding
driving position — and
the fact that it’s a very
agreeable drive — the
Qashqai is a highly-rated
player with the
‘mums.net’ brigade.
But guys, don’t let that
put you off because this
crossover drives fluently
enough to be punted
down the road when
you’re in the mood
and the kids are safely
home...”
And neither does the 157bhp DIG-T disappoint when it comes to stretching a gallon of unleaded. Officially the Combined Cycle figure is 49.4mpg; in real-life, our hard-driven week behind the wheel saw an overall average of 48.9mpg recorded. Given our punishing test demands, we'd be very surprised if the average Joe (and Joanne) doesn't regularly see the smiley side of 50mpg.

The USP for Crossovers was always that they blended the driving dynamics of a well-sorted hatchback with a healthy dose of high-riding versatility and, when equipped with four-wheel drive, would take you places where no hatchback could dream of venturing. However, over the years a good number have failed to fully live up to expectations but not the Qashqai, which has always done exactly what its crossover body has promised.

Thanks to its compact footprint, higher ride height and commanding driving position and also the fact that it's a very agreeable drive the Qashqai is a highly-rated player with the 'mums.net' brigade. But guys, don't let that put you off because this crossover drives fluently enough to be punted down the road when you're in the mood and the kids are safely home. At which point you might like to switch the electric speed-sensitive steering from Normal to its Sport setting. Well weighted steering and front-wheel drive lends the Qashqai a wieldy feel that will take you through corners at a greater lick than you might have assumed.

While its reassuring road manners are a core factor in its wide-ranging appeal, underscoring that for those with family responsibilities are safety systems such as Intelligent Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Recognition as useful on the daily commute as on the school run when an excited child could easily dart out in front of you.

Additional standard-fit safety assists include Moving Object Detection (when using the Intelligent Around View Monitor, the system alerts you to anything moving near the Qashqai), Rear Cross Traffic Alert that warns of traffic crossing behind when reversing, Lane Departure Warning, and Blind Spot Warning (especially useful this, lighting up in the door mirror anytime you're not clear to turn due to an upcoming vehicle about to pass you).

Space for the weekly
shop is always
a significant factor for
family car buyers: not
only will a Qashqai carry
five, it also adequately
meets both shopping
and luggage needs.
Some heavy-duty cargo
to be moved?
No problem: fold down
the 60:40-split back seats
and the 403-litre boot
transforms into a
1,598-litre loadbay...”
Also present is Intelligent Driver Alert, Intelligent Cruise Control, High Beam Assist, and Intelligent Park Assist for some auto-jockey wheel-twirling assistance when squeezing into tight bays even though doing-it-yourself is a breeze courtesy of the Intelligent Around View Monitor that uses four colour cameras to deliver 360-degree bird's-eye views that make reversing and parking oh-so-easy. All of these 'assists' add to the Qashqai's relaxed driveability this really is a car you can just jump in and go, leaving the autobox and comprehensive safety kit to take all the stress out of today's unpredictable driving conditions.

A crossover the Qashqai might be but that doesn't automatically mean a harsh ride, not even rolling on the Tekna's 19-inch alloys wrapped in sporty 225/45 Michelin rubber. The comfortable seats play their part, of course, but the ride is agreeably unruffled. Body control over buckling blacktop and bigger bumps is managed effectively by the Intelligent Ride Control.

The Qashqai's cabin is intended for real-world passenger-carrying of up to five. Adults will be more than satisfied with the head, leg and foot room in the back and should travel without complaint in the calm and quiet rear cabin. A comfy drop-down central armrest with built-in cupholders makes travel-for-two even more civilised, and then there's that full-length glass roof it's a real bonus, flooding the cabin with light (unless you want to ask the driver to press the button and let the sunshade close itself).

The rear seats are set about six inches higher than those in front and combined with the tapered shoulders of the front seats this ensures views to the front remain interesting. Pouches on the front seatbacks plus usable door pockets help keep odds and ends neatly contained, while Isofix child seat anchorage points on the outer seats will be appreciated by those needing to transport youngsters.

Space for the weekly shop is always a significant factor for family car buyers: not only will a Qashqai carry two plus three, it also adequately meets both shopping and luggage needs. Some heavy-duty cargo to be moved? No problem: fold down the 60:40-split back seats and the 403-litre boot transforms into a 1,598-litre loadbay with a completely flat and seamless floor.

Adding further versatility is Nissan's well thought-out Luggage Board system that allows the cargo area to be partitioned sixteen different ways so no worries about the shopping and the baby's pushchair being jumbled up at the first corner. And if loading to the roof, the lightweight luggage cover can be stored beneath the dual-level boot floor. Should you have towing on your mind, this Qashqai will be happy to haul a braked 1,500kg.

With diesel's star irreversibly on the wane, the Qashqai's new petrol engines are a worthy alternative, boosting the appeal of what has for many years been Britain's best-loved family chariot. Easy to like, easy to drive and easy to live with. ~ MotorBar
.
Nissan Qashqai Tekna 1.3 DIG-T 160 DCT | 30,190
Maximum speed: 123mph | 0-62mph: 9.9 seconds | Test Average: 48.9mpg
Power: 157bhp | Torque: 199lb ft | CO2: 131g/km

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