Nine-time 24hrs champion gives the current crop some tips
You are here
£28,995 when new
I’m bored already. Don’t be. As Nissan Qashqais go, this is a somewhat interesting one. Mainly because it’s the fastest and most powerful one you can buy. And it doesn’t have a diesel engine. Its 1.6-litre, four-cylinder turbo petrol has 161bhp and 177lb ft, so 0-62mph takes a shade over nine seconds, and the top speed is a whopping…124mph. Not that quick, is it? No, not really. In fairness it’s not exactly billed as “the fast one” – it’s not covered in NISMO badges, and it doesn’t have silly seats or an obnoxious exhaust. It does, however, have the multi-link rear suspension fitted to all-wheel drive Qashqais, even though it’s front-wheel drive only, and a ten-litre bigger fuel tank for more range. Bigger tank? Can’t be very economical…
Not around town, where you’ll get high 30s. A 20-mile schlep out of town followed by a 50-mile motorway/B-road run (and the same in reverse) yielded 44.6mpg – about the same as we get from our Nissan Micra longtermer over the same route/distance. In all, not bad. Much fun? Not as much as a Seat Ateca – the steering is pretty slow and requires much twiddling. But that’s besides the point – if you’re really interested in driving you should be buying a conventional hatchback rather than a crossover, which are inherently compromised by their size and heft. Smaller, lighter, and a lower centre of gravity makes for more fun. What’s more important is comfort. Body control is good in the Qashqai but, on the 19-inch alloys of our test car, the ride is incredibly firm. A load of tyre-roar, too. We haven’t tried one on smaller wheels, but it might be worth sacrificing some spec and buying a lower trim just for the bigger sidewalls. Noted. And this is, of course, the recently-facelifted Qashqai, which means you get the new exterior aesthetic, better interior trim plus myriad tech and safety improvements. Nissan has made some minor mechanical changes, but none that dramatically affect the way the Qashqai behaves or performs. There is a new trim level though – Tekna +. Aims to push the QQ further upmarket and comes with much kit as a consequence, but little can be done to mask the fact the infotainment and general interior layout are a bit old-tech. Quality and space are fine, but rivals like the Ateca and especially the Peugeot 3008 have moved the interior game on somewhat. Engine any good? Or should I stick with the diesel? This is not a remarkable engine. It’s acceptably refined, punchy and economical – not the hidden gem of the range that we’d hoped it might be. But if it’s a petrol you’re after – and more of you are, nowadays – this is probably the one to have. The only other option – the 1.2 turbo – is down on power and not that much more economical than the 1.6. On paper it only has less than a 2mpg advantage, (50.4 to 48.7mpg) and is almost two seconds slower to 62mph. You’d have to work it harder, so in that fabled thing we call the ‘real world’ they’re probably equally (un)economical. May as well spend the extra £1,400 or so and enjoy the many benefits of having more power/torque at your disposal. Makes for a comfier, more relaxing car. Unless you want auto – then you have to have a CVT (ugh) and the 1.2. Should I buy one? If you like the Qashqai (fair enough, though there are crossovers we’d recommend over it) and don’t want or are worried about buying a diesel, then yes. For a more in-depth look at the facelifted Qashqai, read our full review.