Everyone is familiar with the backlash against diesel. Our own government just put a 1% VRT surcharge on all new or imported diesel cars in the budget.
This will add on average €400 or so to the price of a new or imported diesel car.
It seems appropriate therefore that I am road testing the latest generation of Nissan’s top selling Qashqai powered by a petrol engine.
Four models are offered, XE, SV, SV Premium, as tested here and the SVE.
So has it any street cred?
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 but it does look refreshed.
What’s it like inside?
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.
The SVE tested has sumptuous leather and a huge amount of standard kit.
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.
Pity the graphics in the central screen look a bit old hat now.
Accomadation is perfect for four or five at a squeeze. The boot is good though not the largest in class.
So whats under the bonnet?
Powered in this case by a 1.2 litre four cylinder petrol DIG-T producing 115 bhp and mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox this petrol Qashqai is very refined with good if not riveting overall performance.
I returned an overall test return of 6.1 litres per 100km so its frugal too. Road tax is €270.00
Will I enjoy driving it?
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.
So what is the final Verdict?
The petrol powered Qashqai makes real sense for those not doing huge kilometres every year. Its quiet, refined and economical.
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.
The Nissan Qashqai 1.2 petrol SVEas tested costs €34,320. Prices kick off at €26,070 for the 1.2 petrol XE.