Nissan Qashqai 2018

Nissan Qashqai lr

VIDEO

By Tim Saunders

Most manufacturers offer an SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle) – in fact even the likes of Maserati have even followed suit. But Nissan has been at this game for a lot longer than some and as a consequence its latest Qashqai is the one to beat. 
It’s a very competent package, attractive lines coupled with good levels of equipment and comfort. There’s little to criticise.
On the road this type of vehicle sits between the height of a standard car and that of a larger 4x4. It’s an extremely practical offering for a young family such as mine. The rear seats offer enough space for my three little rascals in their cumbersome car seats and the interior is a hardwearing black leather and plastic. It needs to be hardwearing as throughout the course of the test the little darlings’ feet find their way to the hard plastic back of the front seats where they can reach them with their shoes; Henry finding this particular amusing. And then he throws his new shoes off. What else do you do to break up the monotony of a long journey? The panoramic glass roof helps to distract their attention from this little game and Henry (2) enjoys spotting birds and planes. The cover for this roof is easily removed by the press of a button.
We take the Qashqai for a jaunt to Peterborough. The boot is generally large enough for all the luggage once the parcel shelf is removed. 
The ideal driving position is easily achieved thanks to the electrically adjusted driver’s seat. It’s a comfortable seat but over long journeys there is a lack of lumbar support for me.
Initially I find that my foot doesn’t have to lift the clutch very far at all for a gear change, which takes a little getting used to because my own car is the exact opposite.
Once I have overcome this the ride is smooth and the diesel unit is barely audible. 
Its six speed manual gearbox is also smooth and easy to use while on long motorway journeys the basic cruise control is simple to engage. It’s not a complicated system by any means such as those radar operated systems fitted to more expensive vehicles that measure the distance away from the car in front and automatically brake and accelerate accordingly. But I don’t mind this because so often these days it can feel like the driver is becoming redundant. The Nissan needs the driver to think. The electric parking brake doesn’t cause any issues either while a reversing camera makes life easier, too.
At the rear are perhaps the smallest windows I have seen on a vehicle, all part of the design. Rear passengers enjoy privacy glass. Low profile tyres do mean that any potholes or bumps in the road are accentuated that bit more than usual. But what is lost on the swings is gained on the roundabouts and these tyres aid performance and economy. For such a large vehicle it will easily travel 500 miles on a tank at sensible speeds. If urgency is required it will respond accordingly but the joy of this vehicle is to transport the family at leisure and to avoid confrontations with other road users. It strikes me that increasingly on Britain’s roads drivers are becoming more irritable, rude and badly behaved. From inside our almost haven of calm we are overtaken by a motorist who very nearly misjudges the third lane cutting down to two – seconds away from kissing our wing. On other occasions we see undertaking and general poor driving.
It’s a good experience to drive the Qashqai and the driver arrives at his destination feeling fresh and capable.

Facts at a glance

Price: between £27,000 and £30,000
Engine: 1.6 diesel
Power: 128bhp
0-60mph: 11secs
Top speed: 118mph
Economy: approx 55mpg

Tim Saunders on Facebook
Tim Saunders on Twitter
Tim Saunders on LinkedIn