Review by it
Monday, May 16, 2016
- A versatile car good for both urban and active driving
- A cool and modern design
- A good choice of engines
- Limited headroom in the cabin
The Qashqai has enjoyed major success in the UK and it might be down to the fact that it is quite a British car. It was designed in the Nissan’s European design centre in Buckinghamshire and it is being assembled in Tyne and Wear. When the crossover utility vehicle was presented in 2006, many thought it was unlikely to achieve high sales figures. A few years later though, over half a million Qashqais have been sold. The car was part of the revolution of the Nissan’s model line up. Although it is touted as a direct successor to the Nissan Terrano 4x4, its actual task was to fill the gap that had appeared with discontinuing both the Nissan Almera and Primera. The name is derived from a tribe in Iran known as "Turkic Qashqai tribe". Nissan hopes that the Qashqai could bring out the nomadic character in the calmest European urban dwellers.
The Qashqai has been developed under the Renault and Nissan alliance. It was built on the so-called C-platform that’s shared with cars like Renault Megane, Renault Koleos and Nissan X-Trail. So far the Renault / Nissan collaboration has bore obvious benefits for both manufacturers with their knowledge exchange producing a variety of successful cars. The Qashqai is no exception.
Exterior and Interior
The Qashqai was designed in the UK by an international team of car designers. The result was a major success. The car often receives awards for its design although the body of the Qashqai isn’t novel or particularly ground breaking. In fact it’s a typical crossover with an obvious mix between a compact passenger car and an off-roader. The modern lines and the daring front end design with the gaping grille and ostentatious headlamps seem to be attracting just the right market.
The Qashqai has a strong shoulder line with the pronounced and large wheel arches giving it the identity of a sport utility vehicle. The car has slightly increased ground clearance and the lower half of the car resembles an SUV. With all new modifications within the car, the interior looks include improved sound proofing, new instrument panel layout and space for storage.
The interior design is equally eclectic. According to the design team leader, the car’s cabin was inspired by Swarovski jewellers and the virtual rock-band Gorillaz. How do those two go together? Well, it’s for you to judge, but the car certainly looks hip and modern. The designers have tried to achieve a vertical separation in the cabin space â€“ the top section is jolly and urban while the bottom section is more sombre and hard wearing.
Unlike some other crossovers, the Qashqai is a 5-seater and luckily it doesn’t try to entice additional buyers with a forced 3rd row of seats. The driver’s seat is functional while the passengers’ seats are relaxed and light. The car is comfortable and provides a good space for its size.
Performance and Economy
The Nissan Qashqai comes with four-wheel drive and is theoretically capable of mild off-roading. Although in reality it is nothing like the old Terrano, its gear is similar to that supplied for the Nissan X-Trail. If the Qashqai had better underfloor protection and a higher ground clearance, it would be a good utility car. As it is, the Qashqai will manage deep snow and mud, but by doing serious off-roading you’re risking to break it.
It comes with a good selection of petrol and diesel engines. The 1.6-litre diesel is capable of 57mpg in a combined cycle. The most powerful engine in the Qashqai range is the 2.0-litre diesel. 147bhp for a medium sized car like Qashqai is more than enough. Besides, the engine still manages around 47mpg in a combined cycle.
The smaller petrol engine might be too weak if you drive actively, however, it is spot on for city-only driving. It delivers 42mpg while the bigger 2.0-litre petrol unit can only return around 34mpg.
Like to Drive
It’s a very comfortable car with firm and sporty suspension that is still able to provide a comfortable ride in the city, despite the stiffness. It’s as easy to drive as a compact family car, but you benefit from a higher seating position and a more spacious cabin. The larger diesel engine justifies the American name for the cars, SUV or sport utility vehicle. It is really sporty and active. Parking takes time to get used to as its rear visibility is limited and although the car is equipped with parking sensors, they’re too sensitive and will start beeping way before you’d normally have to stop.
Faults and Repairs
The firm suspension may create problems so it’s worth paying attention to noises, especially at the rear. Overall, the Nissan Qashqai is a reliable car, although it sometimes suffers from poor craftsmanship in cabin and some minor electrical faults.