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The Top Gear car review:Nissan Qashqai
For:Comfy, quiet, economical and practical
Against:Interior and infotainment feel old tech’. Rivals are more fun to drive
What is it?
A nomadic central Asian tribe known for its Persian rugs. And one of Britain’s best-selling cars. The Nissan Qashqai is a small SUV or ‘crossover’ that aims to offer “the practicality and desirability of an SUV with the footprint, driving dynamics and running costs of a hatchback” – as, presumably, do all cars of this ilk.
When the first Qashqai was launched way back in 2007 it had few competitors. Nowadays there are many – the Seat Ateca, Mazda CX-5 and Volkswagen Tiguan to name but three. All (well, mostly) new versions of each have been launched since the second-generation Qashqai arrived in 2013, so to make sure it stays competitive Nissan’s given its breadwinner an upgrade.
The most obvious change is the front-end, which is completely new. Things get less dramatic as you move down the Qashqai’s flanks, but the revised rear-bumper and taillights nonetheless contribute to the overall sense of newness. We think it’s pretty smart. The interior benefits from revised materials and a new, thicker, flat-bottomed steering wheel. Slimmer front seats are supposed to improve rear-legroom, while the Bose stereo is allegedly the “most complete sound system ever offered in a [European] Nissan”.
But the big tech’ highlight is ProPILOT, which we haven’t tried and in any case isn’t available until 2018. The system, which is the first bit of commercially-available autonomous tech’ we’ll see from Nissan, “controls the steering, acceleration and braking in a single lane on highways during heavy traffic congestion and high-speed cruising”. We’ll let you know if it works once we’ve convinced Nissan to let us have a proper play.
As for engines, you’re looking at the same turbocharged four-cylinder petrol and diesels as before. There have been some refinement and drivability tweaks, but the headline figures remain the same. Greenest is the 1.5-litre diesel, which manages 99g/km even on chintzy 19s.