The recent exceptional weather has spurred me into two-wheeled action – last Sunday I dusted down my mountain bike, loaded it into the Qashqai and headed for the hills. Well, the nice, flat surrounds of Poole harbour, actually.
My regular car, a Mk1 Seat Leon, does a fine job of carrying the bike, but you have to go through the effort of removing the rear headrests, lifting up the seat bases, folding the seats backs flat and removing the bike’s front wheel. All I had to do with the Qashqai, though, was pull the levers and let the seats flop forwards – I didn’t even have to take off the bike’s wheel.
Practicality is one of the Nissan’s few strengths. I’m afraid I just couldn’t get on with the clunky manual gearchange, the overly sensitive throttle (which makes you look inept when you’re negotiating a parking space) and the poorly judged gearing that has the engine revving madly at motorway speeds. I was actually quite happy to get back into my diesel Leon.
Week ending March 23 Mileage 23,110 Driven this week: 305 miles
I write this from a Nissan service centre waiting room. An initial check of the car by a friendly service rep resulted in some scratching of heads. I’ll be able to tell you what’s covered under Nissan’s Cared 4 approved used scheme and what isn’t in next-week’s installment.
This week, I’ve been struggling with the Pure DAB radio I had fitted. The USB and aux connectors have been great for listening to tunes on the move, but it seems south-west London is a black spot for DAB signal.
A quick software update later and I thought I’d cracked the problem. However on the way to the service centre today, the dropouts got so bad that I had to switch back to normal FM radio. I’ll contact Pure this week and see if they can shed any light on the issues.
Week ending March 16 Mileage 22,805 Driven this week: 123 miles
There was the chance for an interesting back-to-back comparison test this week. A new Qashqai +2 2.0 dCi Tekna automatic appeared in the car park, and I was keen to see whether an extra couple of seats and diesel power made a difference. This is also the most recent model, which has updated styling and a number of other improvements compared with our 2008 car.
The 150bhp diesel engine isn’t as refined as rival 2.0-litre units, but it is certainly quieter than in the X-Trail 2.0 dCi 150bhp I drove recently.
In typical press car style, no option box was left unchecked. Heated leather seats, a great Bose sound system and huge panoramic roof were all present, but frankly, it was the practicality and ride I was most impressed by – and definitely the characteristics that a family buying on a used budget would be more interested in.
I do quite a bit of cycling, so I was pleased to see that my road bike went in without touching the sides after folding both rows flat. Despite its longer length and increased weight, the +2 was better controlled through the corners and over speed bumps than our long-term Qashqai, too.
My used Qashqai is booked in to a local Nissan dealer next week to address a few niggling issues. I’ll let you know how I get on.
2008 Nissan Qashqai 1.6 Visia
Week ending March 9 Mileage 22682 Driven this week: 630 miles
There's slightly better news for the Qashqai’s fuel economy this week. It has improved from 33.3mpg to 35.5mpg, although that’s still someway short of the claimed combined figure of 42mpg.
I’ll be taking the car into a Nissan dealer soon to address some of the problems I’ve spoken about in past weeks. The parcel shelf clip needs fixing, because one side is loose and the front suspension has been creaking over speed bumps driven at any speed.
I noticed this morning that the driver’s door check strap has become stiff, meaning a scraping, jarring open and close action. All small jobs, but collectively these problems are a good opportunity to test Nissan’s Cared4 used approved scheme.
Week ending March 2 Mileage 22052 Driven this week 102 miles
I’m a fan of the Nissan Qashqai. They’re comfortable, spacious and as practical as I need a car to be.
However, getting into our used Qashqai has tarnished my view a bit. Nissan has a good reputation for build quality, but our car doesn’t seem to be ageing well: the driver’s door has an unhealthy creak to it, while there’s an equally worrying whirr from the steering wheel when twirling it to park.
Fuel economy isn’t great, either. I managed to bump it up to 35mpg over the five days I had it, but with 350 miles of mostly economical motorway driving I forked out £50 for petrol.