Nissan has face-lifted its Qashqai crossover, in the face of increasing competition from big-name rivals.
The Qashqai's headlights and front grille have been completely redesigned, and the rear lights also benefit from a mild makeover.
Nissan has tweaked the car's suspension to improve comfort and spent time insulating the cabin from suspension and road noise. There are also more storage spaces and cubbies in the cabin.
Stability control is now standard throughout the range and there is a new 'eco' model – the Qashqai Pure Drive. The new green version emits 129g/km of carbon dioxide and is capable of 57.6mpg.
What's it like
The Qashqai remains a good car to drive. There’s quite a bit of body lean in corners, but it feels far from untidy. There's reasonable grip and the weighty steering is direct, plus the Qashqai rides well, smoothing out bumps at any speed.
The engine line-up remains unchanged: 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre petrols built by Nissan and 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre diesels from its partner Renault. The 2.0 litres are quiet and refined, but the 1.5 diesel is still grumbly at low speed, despite the noise reduction efforts.
The range kicks off at £15,395 for the cheapest front-wheel drive petrol model and goes up to £25,745 for the 2.0-litre diesel with four-wheel-drive and an automatic gearbox.
There are four trims, and even the entry-level Visia cars come with Bluetooth, air-conditioning and alloy wheels.
Acenta versions cost £1600 more, but have cruise control, automatic headlights and wipers, climate control, parking sensors and electrically folding door mirrors. Passengers in the back get an arm rest with cupholders.
The n-tec, Nissan says, is for technophiles and comes with an integrated audio, navigation and communication package with touchscreen controls and a colour reversing camera.
Top-of-the-range Tekna cars start from £19,995 and get leather seats and keyless entry over n-tec models.
Why the change?
Now, however, there are new kids on the crossover block, including the Skoda Yeti, the Hyundai ix35 and our current Car of the Year, the Peugeot 3008.
The decision to give the Qashqai a face-lift is timely, then. Crossovers are extremely important to Nissan because they now make up 50% of its sales.
The Juke – dubbed by Nissan as the Qashqai's rebellious baby brother – arrives in the autumn, too, so the company’s reliance on crossovers is about to get even stronger.
What Car? says...
The Qashqai was already a good car and the exterior styling updates give it a cool fresh look. The proof is in the pudding, however. The May issue of What Car? will pit the Qashqai against the Peugeot 3008 and the Skoda Yeti. Check out the magazine for the outcome.
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