Nissan Qashqai 1.5 dCi 110 Acenta Premium
Week ending March 28
**Miles this week 85
The Qashqai comes with a button on the centre console that operates its electronic handbrake.
Now I’m not a huge fan of handbrakes. I rarely use them, particularly in an automatic car. If the old rachet-style handbrake is just plain nasty, the button that operates an electronic handbrake is a thing of immense frustration.
For starters, it won’t disengage unless you place your foot on the brake pedal. Then I can never remember if you’re meant to push the button down or pull it up. Then there’s a delay of what seems like about an hour before the little red light that tells you it’s on or off disappears, by which time you’ve tried again in the opposite direction, and turned it on again.
Luckily, the Qashqai’s is one of the better, and quicker, ones. It requires only a light foot on the brake pedal.
Not all is rosy, though. The Qashqai engine starts via a button, but there is an immensely frustrating three-second lag (I’ve counted!) between hitting the button and the engine firing. Worse, to start the engine (or to re-start it after the stop-start has turned it off), you must depress the clutch pedal as far down as it will go, and it actually goes down for miles. If, like me, you prefer to sit quite far back, you’ll have to shift your whole body awkwardly in your seat just to get your left foot far enough down to fire the engine up.
By Mark Pearson
Week ending March 21
**Miles this week 116
I had my first decent drive in our Nissan Qashqai this week. What a superb car. It’s classy, comfortable, refined and practical. It looks great, too.
Our 1.5-litre diesel model can feel short of puff at low revs, but performance will be fine for most people most of the time.
I showed the car to a friend of mine who owns a previous-generation Qashqai and he came away mightily impressed. He especially liked the quality and design of the interior, and said the diesel engine was very quiet (his Qashqai is a petrol).
He did say that the ride was firmer than his model’s, but I’m still sure he’ll be test driving this generation of Qashqai when the time comes to change his car.
By Barnaby Jones
**Week ending March 14
**Miles this week 85**
The Qashqai continues to impress all those who sail in her, most notably for its comfort and refinement. However, people’s comments on climbing into a car for the first time are revealing.
My 10-year-old daughter’s initial reaction to our new Qashqai was one of disappointment: she thought it felt 'cheap'. This may have been because she’d become used to the more luxurious and handsomely leathered rear bench of my previous long-termer, a Jaguar XF Sportbrake. It may also have been because the Qashqai’s rear door is lighter, and not quite so satisfying to open or close, or maybe because the door opening itself is shorter and taller. It may even have been the quality of the interior cloth, or the material on the back of the front seats, although to my eyes it looks and feels pleasant enough.
Either way it didn’t take long to win her over. She soon spied the extravagantly coloured lighting strips surrounding the gearlever on the centre console, the orangey glow from which won the approval of both my daughters.
They also approved of the panoramic glass roof, which helps make the interior so much brighter, and they found more than enough leg- and headroom. More important, perhaps, is the fact that the central rear seat offers enough room between the two of them for one of their friends to come along for the ride.
Week ending March 7
Mileage 3030 Miles this week 1480
No sooner had Mark finished his new Qashqai’s running-in period than I asked to borrow it for a long-weekend trip up to Dundee.
The trip really brought home to me what a good choice we made when we crowned it our Car of the Year. The Qashqai was incredibly quiet and refined as the M6 unwound beneath its wheels, and it was entirely capable when we turned off and took a backroad to Edinburgh instead of sticking with the monotony of the M74.
Best of all, the car covered the 460 miles from my home to Dundee and still had 177 miles of range showing – not bad from a 55-litre tank.
After a few days of running around in the stunning scenery north of Dundee, the Qashqai finished the return trip south with more than 3000 miles showing on the odometer and, unfortunately, a rattle. Still, it proved a capable and, best of all, unobtrusive companion throughout.
Car of the Year? No question.
By Euan Doig