Nissan Qashqai: the verdict

Motoring

Nissan Qashqai: the verdict

I gave you a brief preview of the latest Qashqai a month or so ago so now here is the full road test and verdict.

The latest Qashqai aims to improve the car over four main areas, namely exterior style, interior quality, Nissan’s new “Intelligent Mobility” technologies and driving performance.

Here in Ireland some 50,000 or so of the model have been sold since it arrived in late 2006 making it one of the most popular SUV’s on the market.

Following the success of a car like the current Qashqai one can understand Nissan’s reluctance to interfere too much with what is obviously a winning formula. So visually not much has changed.

Four models are offered, XE, SV, SV Premium, as tested here and the SVE.

Cosmetically not much has changed. There is a new front grille not unlike that on the new Micra and some other minor tweaks. The lights are changed too other than that it will be hard to spot the difference over the previous model.

Inside there is a general though hard to spot overall improvement in some of the materials used in the cabin and a new Infotainment screen, the seats are redesigned and there is a new flat-bottomed steering wheel. That's as much as you can see really.

However the “under the skin” upgrades are more interesting.

There is now a new and advanced autonomous braking system, with pedestrian detection and the car is also available with 8 different safety systems with multiple cameras and sensors to aid the driver with Intelligent park assist, and an excellent new Rear cross Traffic Alert. In addition the latest Qashqai offers drivers a comprehensive suite of advanced technology features enhancing every aspect of driving. Nissan’s Safety Shield technologies incorporate Forward Emergency Braking, Driver Attention Alert and Traffic Sign Recognition along with several other vital driver aids.

Connectivity is the buzz word here also with Nissan Connect Apps which offer easy access to your social media as well as travel and navigation services, all of which can be controlled with voice recognition.

The latest range of engines are more efficient than ever. Every engine uses a turbocharger to reduce emissions and fuel consumption while maintaining excellent performance with class-leading CO2 emissions from only 99g/km.

While front-wheel-drive variants will account for the majority of sales in most markets, four-wheel-drive ALL-MODE 4x4-i versions is also be available to match a choice of six-speed manual or an Xtronic auto transmissions.

The 1.5 dci engine is very good indeed. Mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox and with bags of mid-range torque performance should be very good.

The modern SUV is not a car you buy for a rewarding driving experience, if you want that buy a sports saloon. However the Qashqai delivers a pleasant driving experience. The ride and handling is composed, I found it pretty quiet and refined and the host of safety features and standard equipment make it a very satisfying car to own.

Overall then the “new” Nissan Qashqai builds on the strengths of its predecessor. Much has changed underneath the skin but your neighbour will find it hard to spot the differences in the latest version.

Lets face it the Qashqai did not need too much tweaking to improve what is already an award winning formula. Now however its bang up to date with rivals in the Connectivity and tech department.

Prices start at €26,070. The car on test here is the 1.5 DSL SV Premium which costs €32,070.