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Nissan Qashqai: Test Drive Review

Date: 26 February 2014   |   Author: Jack Carfrae

Category: Crossover
P11D Price: £20,785
Key rival: Kia Sportage
On sale: January 2014

Despite Nissan's modest expectations for the first-generation Qashqai, it went on to phenomenal success with exceptionally strong sales and rock-solid residual values that defied the volume of cars sold.

It's also widely credited as the car that started the crossover segment: halfway between a lower medium hatchback and a 4x4, the theory being that there's more room than a hatchback and lower running costs than a full-on 4x4.

The second-generation car, therefore, has a lot resting on its shoulders, and Nissan has played it safer with the styling this time: the bulbous looks have been dropped in favour of sharper angles in keeping with the rest of the company's range, particularly the new X-trail 4x4.

It is bigger than its predecessor too: 47mm longer, 20mm wider and 15mm lower. The boot has increased by 20 litres to 430 litres with the rear seats in place, and there's a split loading area, which makes it possible to divvy up the boot into sections.

Rear leg and headroom have been improved and it shows. There's plenty of space for back-seat passengers in every direction, and up front the dash is simple, solid and well laid out. Only a few slightly cheaper materials lower down take the edge off it.

A lot of new technology is on offer too, including an automatic emergency braking system, traffic sign recognition and automatic parking.

Nissan reckons 60% of Qashqais will end up with fleet buyers. It's a good job, then, that emissions have plummeted compared with the previous model, which only later in its life got down to 119g/km. The lowest-emitting 110hp 1.5 dCi diesel unit - the likely biggest seller to corporate customers - produces 99g/km and an official 74.3mpg, figures strong enough to muscle to the top of the mid-sized crossover class for cleanliness and fuel economy.

That frugality doesn't hamper the performance, though. Despite having a little diesel engine in quite a big car, it doesn't feel at all underpowered. The engine makes very little racket, even when you wring it out, and wind and road noise are well suppressed. It isn't what you'd call interesting to drive, but neither grip nor comfort is in short supply. 

Nissan says the car is deliberately priced to marginally undercut an equivalent Volkswagen Golf (not a crossover but a key rival for the Nissan), which might sound ambitious, but the previous Qashqai's residual values were strong enough to challenge the Golf's cast-iron figures, and it's claimed the new model's RVs are better still.

Look at the figures and it's a close-run thing. According to Kwikcarcost, an equivalent Golf 1.6 TDI SE comes out a mere 1.3ppm cheaper than the Qashqai. The VW is a little better to drive, but the Nissan has more space for passengers and a bigger boot. Both cars undercut other crossovers on cost per mile too.

Nissan Qashqai 1.5 dCi Acenta
P11D price £20,785
Model price range £17,540-£27,790
Residual value 40.3%
Depreciation £12,417
Fuel £5077
SMR £1763
VED £0
National Insurance £1319
Cost per mile 43.7p
Fuel consumption 74.3mpg
CO2 (tax) 99g/km (14%)
BIK 20/40% per month £49/£97
Service interval 18,000 miles
Insurance (1-50) group 17
Warranty 3yrs 60,000 mls
Engine size/power 1461cc/110hp
Top speed/0-62mph 112mph/12.4secs
 

Verdict


A huge improvement on a well-rounded predecessor.
9/10

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