Our cars: Nissan Qashqai 1.5 dCi - September

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  • Our Qashqai has a breadth of ability that has earned the respect of all who’ve driven it

    Our Qashqai has a breadth of ability that has earned the respect of all who’ve driven it

  • Qashqai's filler cap has to be released by an awkwardly-placed lever under the dash

    Qashqai's filler cap has to be released by an awkwardly-placed lever under the dash

  • The Qashqai has been on holiday

    The Qashqai has been on holiday

  • Qashqai's clever boot dividers and stowable parcel shelf make it easy to carry a variety of objects

    Qashqai's clever boot dividers and stowable parcel shelf make it easy to carry a variety of objects

  • Qashqai hasn't impressed everyone who's driven it, but we remain delighted with our 1.5 dCi

    Qashqai hasn't impressed everyone who's driven it, but we remain delighted with our 1.5 dCi

  • Opening up the maximum 1585 litres of boot space is the work of seconds

    Opening up the maximum 1585 litres of boot space is the work of seconds

  • Diesel engine in our Qashqai gives decent economy, but not much speed away from junctions

    Diesel engine in our Qashqai gives decent economy, but not much speed away from junctions

  • Mark's kids demonstrate how the Qashqai's boot divider can segment the load space with ease

    Mark's kids demonstrate how the Qashqai's boot divider can segment the load space with ease

  • A dash to the coast had one of Mark's passengers saying the Qashqai was 'noisy' - he disagrees

    A dash to the coast had one of Mark's passengers saying the Qashqai was 'noisy' - he disagrees

  • Qashqai is stuffed with safety kit as standard, and Acenta Premium trim adds even more

    Qashqai is stuffed with safety kit as standard, and Acenta Premium trim adds even more

  • Autocar's Qashqai (right) has the stronger 1.6-litre diesel, but our 1.5 version is far more refined

    Autocar's Qashqai (right) has the stronger 1.6-litre diesel, but our 1.5 version is far more refined

  • Long-run economy seems great

    Long-run economy seems great

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Nissan Qashqai 1.5 dCi Acenta Premium

Week ending: October 3
Mileage: 9290
Miles driven this week: 85


Read the full Nissan Qashqai review

In theory, our second-generation Qashqai has an inferior rear suspension set-up to the first-generation model it replaced. Whereas the original car had a multi-link rear suspension, the newer model makes do with a simpler torsion beam, or twist beam, rear end, the idea being to save weight, save fuel and save money.

Only in theory is it inferior, though. After all, a well-designed rear beam could be a better bet than a poorly executed multi-link. Our Qashqai benefits from Nissan Chassis Control, and part of this package includes new double-piston dampers, which aid body control.

There’s also an Active Ride Control that uses the brakes to help settle the car over bigger bumps and stop excessive pitching, and an Active Trace Control that gently applies a brake to an inside front wheel to help the chassis in difficult cornering conditions.

It all works. The Qashqai’s handling is as close to a class-leading hatchback’s (a Focus, say, or a Golf) as it’s possible for a high-riding SUV to get. Its ride quality is sportier than some, admittedly, feeling quite taut and, occasionally, a little fidgety.

However, it’s a quiet ride, especially well behaved on motorways and faster runs, and comfortable over urban bumps and broken surfaces. Only that slight fidget might hint at its simpler underpinnings, while the competence of the damping thereafter confirms that all those electronic aids are working well.
One thing for sure is it doesn’t feel inferior.

 

 

By Mark Pearson
Mark.Pearson@whatcar.com

 

 


Nissan Qashqai 1.5 dCi Acenta Premium

Week ending: September 24
Mileage: 9205
Miles driven this week: 24


Read the full Nissan Qashqai review


I’ve discussed the Qashqai’s boot at length before, but it’s worthy of further comment, if only because the engineers responsible for it spent a great deal of time and effort in trying to make it the best it could be.

In terms of capacity, with rear seats either up or down, you could want for no more. As far as access goes, it couldn’t be better: there’s no rear lip or sharp ingresses to overcome, and the height is perfect. They’ve hinged the rear parcel shelf higher, too, and that parcel shelf can be stored beneath the false floor, opening up a world of possibilities.

Its piece de resistance in my book has always been the mega-useful lift-up dividers, which leave a space just the right size to accommodate a weekly family shop and stop associated bags taking a tumble as soon as you drive off. They turn every supermarket trip into a pleasure.

However there is a fly in the ointment. You see Nissan has been very thoughtful in its design of the rear tailgate. Engineers talk of designing the tailgate's handle so it can be reached by people of all heights. That may be true, but by placing only one handle on the right hand side they’ve made it awkward for anyone left-handed to pull it down, and I happen to be one of those left-handers.

Yes it might be one of the best boots, but it’s not an open and shut case.

By Mark Pearson
Mark.Pearson@whatcar.com



Week ending: September 17
Mileage: 9181
Miles driven this week: 185


Does absence make the heart grow fonder?

I’ve just driven our Qashqai for the first time in three weeks, it having been purloined by various colleagues for long-distance holidays. I was curious to see what it felt like after so long a gap – it’d be like trying it again for the first time.

During its absence I drove some very distinguished cars, most notably our long-term Audi A3 Saloon, which carried my family and me in great comfort to Cornwall and Suffolk.

The high-riding Qashqai initially felt odd in comparison. I’d always thought that the driving position was spot on, but in fact the gearlever now felt too far back, the steering wheel didn’t have enough adjustment for reach, and the upright driving position felt a little uncomfortable. However, this is all part of driving any SUV, and of course it all feels a little different to a more conventional saloon or hatch.

Things did improve when we moved off. Like the low-slung Audi, the Qashqai is quiet, smooth, and good to drive. Interestingly, there’s not even much in it on price either (our Qashqai costs £23,180, the Audi £24,275). The Qashqai should be the more practical, but all our luggage went into the A3 easily enough, and, despite the Audi being the quicker car, it was more economical too.

However, after that initial hesistation, I have to say it was good to be back in the Qashqai - it's a great all-rounder, can mix it with the best, and is still deservedly king of the compact SUVs. 

By Mark Pearson
Mark.Pearson@whatcar.com




Week ending: September 10

Mileage: 8986
Miles driven this week: 686


This was my first chance to drive our current Car of the Year, so I made it count by taking the Qashqai to the Isle of Wight for Bestival 2014 for a weekend.

I'd heard my colleagues wax lyrical about the small SUV's impressive luggage capacity and ability to carry four people in comfort, so I was expecting great things.

I'm glad to report that the Qashqai did not disappoint. My three friends and I had a lot of camping gear: tents, sleeping bags, roll mats, gallons of water and, of course, a fair amount of wine and beer (we were going to a festival after all). Eyeing up everything scattered on the floor beside the Qashqai, I wasn't sure if it would all fit in, but most of it disappeared easily beneath the handy false floor divider, so it looked like nothing had been loaded into the boot. Only the bulkier items such as rucksacks and bags needed to be slung into the remaining boot space.

Everyone loved the roomy interior too; there were no complaints from my rearseat passengers about legroom or headroom. It must've been comfortable enough as well because when we hit the inevitable Friday night traffic on the way to the ferry port at Southampton, everybody else took the opportunity to grab 40 winks.

We made the outgoing ferry with just minutes to spare; I had never crossed from Southampton before but Red Funnel Ferries (redfunnel.co.uk) couldn't have been more helpful, letting us board almost as the doors were closing. Thanks guys.

Economy was non too shabby either; the Qashqai got us to the festival and back on just less than half a tank of fuel, which, considering we were fully loaded with luggage and people, wasn't a bad effort at all.

I thought that the 1.5-litre diesel might struggle with everybody on board, but it cruised along the M3 at a respectable motorway pace. The only time it struggled was when the traffic slowed from 70mph to 60mph then sped up again, because it forced me to change down the 'box a couple of gears for some much-needed extra oomph.

Based on this experience, the Nissan will definitely be my go-to car on the What Car? fleet if I need to go away again with friends.

By Melanie Falconer
Melanie.Falconer@whatcar.com




Week ending September 2
Mileage 8300
Miles driven this week 147


It's just as well that the Qashqai doesn't drink much fuel, because refilling it with diesel is actually slightly more awkward than it needs to be.

You see, if a car has one of those handy slots on the inside of the fuel flap to hold the filler cap while you're refuelling, I like to use it. I hate leaving the cap dangling down the side of the car, or taking it off and placing it on top of a grubby pump (a recipe for getting bad things into your fuel system I reckon).

Unfortunately, when you put the cap into the slot on the Qashqai's flap, then put the nozzle into the filler neck, the cap sits exactly where your knuckles need to be when you pull the trigger on the pump. You end up either trying to operate the pump with your fingertips ior you knock the cap out of the slot.

It offends my sensibilities, but the best option is to leave the cap dangling, risking scratching the paint or having errant drops of diesel dribbling down the side of the car.

Thank goodness that the Qashqai can do the good side of 600 miles between fills.


By Euan Doig
Euan.Doig@whatcar.com

Our cars: Nissan Qashqai 1.5 dCi - August

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