Nissan Qashqai 1.5 dCi 110 Acenta Premium
Week ending April 30
Miles this week 102
If I were to tell my friends that the feature that gives me most pleasure in my long-term Qashqai is the boot, they’d think my motoring criteria had undergone a pretty massive shake up.
Forget the pleasures of accurate steering, eager throttle responses, or ferocious acceleration. You see the Qashqai has a boot that makes every supermarket trip a pleasure, and if, like me, your life consists of supermarket trips, you too would fall in love with this car.
Deep and wide, with 430 litres of available and easily accessed space, the Qashqai comes with a hidden compartment underneath its flat floor. Here you’ll find a good-sized space for storing odds and ends out of sight, or, even more usefully, the rear parcel shelf. Get rid of that and you can fold the rear seats flat to reveal an impressive 1585 litres of space - enough to transport even the most bulky of flat-pack items.
However, my new passion is really ignited by the lift-up dividers that act as the main boot floor. These can be erected, either front half or rear half, to divide up the boot, and provide a sturdy bookend to stop your shopping spilling over. For years, I’ve driven home surrounded by items of food rolling around the car’s interior, as unsecured bags fall over at the first sign of moderate braking or cornering. No longer. Wedge the bags in the divided up boot, and you can drive with abandon, without any spillage. Who wouldn’t love it?
By Mark Pearson
Week ending April 23
Miles this week 350
A quick, 50-mile, Easter holiday dash to the Sussex coast, four up with family luggage, is the kind of journey our refined and roomy Qashqai takes in its stride.
So, with the sun shining, the children behaving, the road ahead straight and clear, all was looking right with the world, when suddenly, halfway down the A24, my wife surprised us all by announcing that she thought the Qashqai ‘noisy’.
Now, I have been more vocal than most in my support for this Qashqai’s excellent levels of refinement, particularly its engine refinement. More so, indeed, than I have ever been about the previous Qashqai, which I never thought particularly quiet, or even particularly good. This one, though blessed only with an economical little 1.5-litre diesel engine, is impressively hushed, especially at a cruise.
I think, therefore, that the present Mrs Pearson’s complaint arose from the fact that she was trying to listen to a speech programme on the radio, just as we hit one of those patches of Tarmac that do so much to accentuate tyre roar. Indeed the Qashqai’s tyres can kick up a fair bit of road roar, but in this case I think it was unfairly handicapped by the vicissitudes of the typical British road surface. Added to that, we were going at a fair old lick, which, such are the Qashqai’s generally high refinement levels, she’d failed to notice.
After that the rest of the journey was remarkably uneventful.
By Mark Pearson
Week ending April 16
Miles this week 110
Our Qashqai is stuffed full of safety features.
As well as the anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control systems, all new Qashqais have Nissan Chassis Control, whose active features seek to imitate a limited slip differential, and help improve ride and handling. There’s also a Hill Start Assist system, and a very useful Tyre Pressure Monitoring system.
On top of this, our Acenta Premium trim adds a Lane Departure Warning device, and a Front Collision Avoidance system. Stray out of your lane and over the central white lines in the road without indicating, and the car will beep at you. Approach a car in front at too high a speed and - likewise - some urgent beeps will attempt to wake you from your slumber.
You can turn these off completely, if wanted, but I must admit I deliberately try to set them off, and, in the case of the lane departure warning, I’m rather confused by how and when it works. Sometimes they beep as I cross the centre lines, and sometimes they don’t. Such randomness is puzzling, unless it’s worked out that I’m just playing around.
Also included in our passive safety features are front and rear parking sensors (very useful on the heavily pillared Qashqai). Throw in the audible warnings from these, which can even be set off by cars approaching too close, and it’s possible to complete whole journeys with such a musical accompaniment that we seldom need to turn the radio on.
By Mark Pearson
Week ending April 9
Miles this week 290
This week I’ve driven the long-term Qashqai currently being run by our sister publication, Autocar.
At first glance, it looks pretty much the same as ours. Theirs is the same spec, the lavishly equipped Acenta Premium, and in the same colour, striking Storm White. However, whereas ours has a 1.5-litre diesel under the bonnet, theirs has the 1.6 version, which produces 128bhp rather than our 109bhp. As expected, performance is slightly up, but fuel economy is down – the Govt figure for ours is 74.3mpg, and for the larger engine 64.2mpg.
On paper, the differences don’t look that dramatic, but what surprised me when I first drove the 1.6-litre car is how different it actually feels. There’s more low-speed punch, that’s for sure (though neither Qashqai will go down in the history books for their sparkling performance), but there’s an accompanying gruffness to this engine that our 1.5-litre version simply doesn’t have. Ours is far sweeter, with less clatter from the engine throughout its range, and this encourages you to use all of the available performance. As well as this, our gearchange seems to be slightly slicker in its operation.
Driving the two back to back was certainly an eye opener. There must be many who assume bigger is better, and are prepared to put up with the higher emissions for better performance. In practice, our 1.5-litre car gets along well enough, at less cost, and with more refinement.
By Mark Pearson