Nissan Qashqai 1.5 dCi 110 Acenta Premium
Week ending May 28
Miles this week 60
A recent family party in a rare sunny spell called for the transportation of large amounts of food, drink, glasses and garden furniture.
It’ll come as no surprise to regular readers to learn that the Qashqai took it all in its stride. To stop smaller items (such as the borrowed glasses) slip sliding around the boot, we erected the floor dividers. To fit in the larger items, the garden chairs for example, we simply hid the rear parcel shelf below the false boot floor, released and dropped the seats and, hey presto, enough room to transport a space shuttle.
The smooth ride of the Qashqai was a boon, too. It might look as if it’s trying to be a rough-tough urban 4x4, but underneath, ours is a sensibly sprung and well-damped front-wheel drive pussycat. It proved able to transport the most delicate of objects, in this case 24 wine glasses and various bottles, over some quite badly rutted urban roads, without fear of breakage.
Even more importantly it carried three adults and two children in comfort despite some pretty torrid heat, a difficulty compounded by the fact we were all dressed up for a special occasion, and anxious to avoid looking crumpled on arrival. Give it a minute or two to work, and the climate control soon has the interior cool; choose carefully who’s sitting where, and it’s a tolerable five-seater.
The day really highlighted for me not only what a talented all-rounder our Qashqai is, but also, and perhaps more importantly, how dependable it is.
By Mark Pearson
Week ending May 21
Miles this week 120
Admirers of raised driving positions will like our Qashqai. As with the old model, you sit up tall, with a good view forwards, though side and rear visibility is hampered slightly by the thickness of the stylish pillars.
There’s a reasonably adjustable driving position too, though, as I prefer a more laid-back style, I do have to push the driver’s seat as far back as it will go. At 185cm I have just enough room, but anyone taller might find it a squeeze (our Editor is at least three inches taller, so I must remember to ask him to try it). If I were to be picky, I’d have a little more adjustment for reach in the steering column too, but if one accepts a little more shuffling of the wheel through the hands than normal then all is perfectly fine.
The only trouble with having the seat all the way back is that it doesn’t leave a huge amount of legroom behind me (knowing what my driving is like, though, I wouldn’t recommend sitting behind me anyway) - taller children and adults do find it cramped on longer journeys.
No such problems with the boot, however. A quick trip to the tip last week saw the Qashqai fully loaded up with, literally, a shedload of stuff. Removing and hiding the rear parcel shelf below the false floor is the work of seconds, as is folding down the rear seats to reveal all 1585 litres of available boot space.
By Mark Pearson
Week ending May 14
Miles this week 220
A negative newspaper review of the Qashqai by the DJ Chris Evans has prompted one of our readers to write in. He bought a Qashqai on the back of our positive reviews, and wrote to ask if one of us was in the wrong.
I would actually agree with some of Chris Evans’ criticisms: the 1.6-litre version he tested is disappointingly gruff, though the 1.5-litre engine in our car is more refined. Likewise the 19inch wheels on his car would have kicked up a bit more road noise than the 17inchers on ours. The rear seats were criticised for being uninviting and uncomfortable, and one or two of my passengers have mentioned the same.
However, I haven’t found the Qashqai’s brakes too sharp, as Evans did, or the dash anything other than user-friendly. Whether or not the car is bland, his main gripe, is a subjective matter, though no one would expect driving a Qashqai to be a life-enhancing experience in the same way that driving a Lamborghini across the Stelvio Pass might be.
To me, our Qashqai comes closer to hatchback levels of driving competence than any SUV I’ve yet encountered at this price level. Of course no car is beyond reasonable criticism, and everyone’s entitled to his or her opinion. My reader remains delighted with his, and for the moment so are we with this one.
By Mark Pearson
Week ending May 7
Miles this week 108
Our 1.5-litre Qashqai is an immensely capable car, but it isn’t, as you’d probably expect, a quick car.
At the end of my road is a junction onto a busy A road, and here you have to be quick to exploit a gap in the traffic. Push the Qashqai hard, and there’s no wheelspin, no drama, and, alas, not much speed either.
First gear is low, so initial acceleration seems brisk enough, particularly combined with the light and easy clutch. The engine is smooth, and reasonably flexible, and there’s a useful operating range from about 1750rpm to 4500rpm.
However, at 26mph and 5000rpm first gear gives up the ghost. Then, it’s into second, third and fourth, hopping up the gears (smoothly, the gearchange is good) in reasonably linear progression. Gathering speed in fifth and sixth gears is possible, but, catch yourself cruising at low revs in these gears, and overtaking or fast motorway work will find you dropping a cog or two.
The Qashqai is pleasant enough to drive despite this, and its acceleration is strong enough to avoid trouble. Its turn of speed might not appeal to an enthusiast, or to someone in a perpetual hurry, but the flipside is good economy. So far I’m achieving figures in the high 40s, but I’ve yet to better our 55.4mpg True MPG figure. Alas I do find myself driving it quite hard just to keep up with the fast-flowing traffic, which might be why I haven’t yet been able to match the better figure.
By Mark Pearson