Nissan Qashqai

Nissan Qashqai lr
 
By Tim Saunders
 
It always amazes me how these days large vehicles are fitted with tiny engines. I first came across this with the shapely Toyota C-HR and now the Nissan Qashqai has been revamped with just a 1.3-litre petrol engine. It’s the same engine that can be found in the Mercedes A-Class. The turbocharged unit is as punchy as some 1.8s of old. Not only does this help the planet by reduced emissions but it also aids efficiency – it travels around 500 miles on a full tank.
The Qashqai has always been a versatile SUV and the second generation model I test has bags of street cred to boot. Its side profile is uber cool thanks to sharp and snappy black edged alloy wheels with a similar design to a fan. Arguably the vehicle wouldn’t look so striking if it wasn’t fitted with these wheels.
Inside, the most refreshing thing for me is that three cumbersome car seats can fit in the back and that my older daughters can undo their seatbelts without an issue. Lately vehicles I have tested have been very tight in the rear meaning that my hands get scraped just trying to fit the seats and the seatbelts have been really awkward to use in this situation.
The fabric seats are edged with black leather trim and are hardwearing. They need to be with children. Good quality carpets can be found throughout too but I do wonder whether tiles or laminate flooring might be better for coping with the mess that children make. Who says that cars should only be fitted with carpet? Our houses aren’t any longer. We travel 36 miles to the other end of Hampshire to visit Andover and by the time we arrive the floor in the back has become home to orange peel, plum stones and wrappers. Don’t you just love children?
Our front seats are heated which is always a nice touch. The front armrest is also large enough to hold a box of sandwiches, useful on a long journey, especially with our continually hungry children.
I discover that the boot is large enough to accommodate an adult bicycle if the front wheel is removed along with the parcel shelf. Harriett (8) had the rear wheel over her head, perhaps not ideal but needs must.
It is quite a fraught journey because of road works. The M27 is being widened to four lanes and a 50mph average speed limit has been imposed, enforced by ugly yellow speed cameras looming overhead. The cruise control is useful in these circumstances.
I spy three police motorcyclists on the other side of the motorway - within five minutes of each other. I can’t help but feel that there are too many traffic police and not enough on the beat. It reminds me that last year a police motorcyclist with a head mounted speed camera, riding on the other side of a dual carriageway in Dorset, caught me travelling at a shade over 70mph when there was no traffic about in the early hours of the morning. I received a £100 fine and three points on my licence. So beware, especially in Dorset.
There are further roadworks when we approach our destination in Andover and we have to endure a diversion, which results in us punching in a new postcode into the sat nav. To begin with, all is well but we very soon end up exploring a number of new housing estates and finally resort to asking a man and his dog directions.
Henry (3) calls the Nissan the King Kong Qashqai, which has a certain ring to it. At his tender age he has been in all manner of vehicles but he assures me that his favourite is the Qashqai – he says goodnight to it and wonders how it is in the morning. In fact he even goes to embrace it on seeing it in the car park in London. He’s adorable. “I like the logo,” he says. Henry has really grown over the past week and there are times like this that we savour.
Inside when the weather is a little murky, the windows mist up, not helped by all our hot air of course. I put the blowers on full but still the side windows persist in steaming up, the only solution is to open a window, which when driving down the motorway is not ideal. This does seem to be a problem associated with larger vehicles, I find. My small 17-year old Ford Fiesta does not suffer from this.
While driving down the M3 on a journey home from London the Qashqai’s sat nav insists that the speed limit on the motorway is 60mph rather than the 70mph usually associated with these roads. Frustratingly, it seems that no other motorist is travelling at this speed. I have driven down this road many times and this is the first time I have become aware of such a speed limit. Twenty miles later this restriction is lifted to the more usual 70mph. Strange.
 
Facts at a glance
 
Nissan Qashqai 1.3 DiG-T Tekna 5dr
Price: £29,445
Top speed: 123mph
0-60secs: 9.9secs
Power: 160bhp
Economy: approx 50mpg
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