Nissan Qashqai

When Nissan launched their original Qashqai almost 7 years ago it seemed to take everyone, including Nissan themselves, a little by surprise. Such was the success of their new crossover that the Japanese manufacturer’s Sunderland plant all of a sudden could hardly keep up with demand; the Qashqai proved that popular. Since it first appeared the Qashqai has become the most popular Nissan model ever: Sales worldwide have topped over a million, 50,000 were sold last year alone, and it’s now the UK’s sixth best selling car. 

So then, how do you go about replacing your biggest hit and not simply falling into the dreaded difficult second album syndrome?

The answer it would appear is to continue with a similar theme - albeit perhaps with a slightly edgier direction.

Park a second generation Qashqai alongside its predecessor and the differences between the two cars soon become apparent. The original’s organic, slightly rounded shape has been replaced. The new Qashqai wears an altogether better cut, more modern looking suit, complete with some much sharper creases. It somehow looks more up-market; helped perhaps by the addition of a bolder chrome grille and LED lamps front and rear. It’s also longer and wider than it was, with a roofline that’s lower too. Despite the changes though, it is still instantly recognisable as a Qashqai.

Inside too there’s been a substantial makeover. Gone is the chunky dash, replaced instead by a far more logically laid-out arrangement and some altogether nicer and more premium feeling materials that seem to have been assembled with a new found level of precision. An electrically operated handbrake (I know, they’re not to all tastes) frees up space on the centre console and a quick look around also reveals some useful storage cubbys, a generous helping of standard equipment including DAB, and a good sized glove-box – ideal for all the paraphernalia  that goes hand-in-hand with the Qashqai’s  unashamedly family orientated nature.

The boot too, at 430 litres, is also more than up to the task of swallowing the weekly shop, and because the tailgate now opens higher and the rear seats can be folded flat, transporting the washing machine, the mountain bikes, the dog, the lawnmower, or indeed the kitchen sink shouldn’t prove a problem. Those seeking to accommodate larger broods will have to consider Nissan’s all new X-Trail instead however. The fact that it bares a striking resemblance to the new Qashqai is, I’d happily bet, probably more than just a co-incidence as this time around, there is no-longer a seven seat version of the Qashqai.

There is no-longer a 1.6 litre petrol Qashqai either. In a bid to keep emissions down and fuel economy up, a 1.2 litre, turbo-charged petrol mill takes its place. It’s a unit that seems to punch well above its weight (it is actually lighter than the 1.6) and yet it provides more than enough power to keep up with the daily grind. Despite its size it’s quiet, and remains so when worked that little bit harder, and best of all the 113bhp it produces means the Qashqai is now half a second quicker to 60mph (11.3 seconds) and cleaner as well; CO2 is now down to just 129g/km.

Whether or not you’ll ever achieve Nissan’s claim of 50.4 mpg with it, of course, depends on how you drive. I struggled to better anything over 40mpg, but then I do live in the hills. I also noticed  there’s is a noticeable flat-spot before the turbo comes alive, so regardless of where you live you will have to stir the long-throw, six-speed gearbox to keep this little engine on the boil.

Once up to speed though, it’s the overall feeling of refinement that impresses most of all. The Qashqai, even when it’s been fitted, as in the case of our press demonstrator, with fashionably sized 19” alloys – I’m sure they enhance the looks far more than they do the ride – feels relaxed and composed. It does roll a little, but you almost expect that. It is a crossover after all.

After 7 years, the second generation Qashqai picks up where its extremely successful forebear left off. A considered nip here and an engineered tuck there, have all added up to ensure the new Qashqai should be every bit as much as a hit as the original.

Nissan Qashqai Tekna 1.2 DIG-T

Engine: 1197cc 4Cyl Petrol turbo
Transmission: 6 Speed Manual, front wheel drive.
Power:  113 bhp @ 4500pm
Torque: 140 lbft @ 2000rpm
0-62MPH: 8.2 Sec
Max Speed: 126 mph
CO2: 129g/km
MPG: 50.4 combined
Price: £23,145 (Car driven £23,670)

Many thanks to Kerry at Nissan’ UK press office for the loan of the Qashqai

www.liam-bird.com

@bird_liam

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Liam Bird Liam Bird

I'm Liam Bird, a freelance Motoring Writer based in the South Shropshire Marches. I currently write car reviews and road tests for a number of regional lifestyle magazines and newspapers which are distributed throughout Cheshire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire, most of Wales and beyond.

As a member of the Welsh Group of Motoring Writers I'm as happy behind the wheel of a super-mini as I am in the latest super-car. I have press accreditation with most of the major motor manufacturers, meaning that as well as always being on the look out for further commissions, I always have a number of cars arriving each month ready to review.

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