► New Qashqai – can it still compete?
► We’ve integrated it into our fleet
► Our snapper, Alex, is testing it to the limit
Hello indeed. Get in the presence of the new Qashqai and you find yourself doing a double-take, because it really does look like a new car. Seeing it in the metal for the first time up close, you’re struck by the strength of the design, the quality of the finish, and the subtle inching upmarket.
Does the third-gen Qashqai need to go upmarket? Is there some danger that in getting a bit fancier, the Qashqai has lost some of the boy/girl-next-door ordinariness that has been a factor in its success? If the Mk1 popularised this style of car, and the Mk2 wisely resisted the temptation to mess with success, what does the Mk3 bring to a highly crowded crossover market? These are all questions we’ll be attempting to answer as we live with the Qashqai.
Until the E-Power range-extender version becomes available next year, the line-up involves one engine in various forms. It’s a 1.3-litre petrol four, with mild-hybrid assistance. Your choice is 138 or 156bhp, front- or all-wheel drive, six-speed manual or CVT auto, with some permutations also bringing multi-link suspension. Ours is a 156bhp front-driver with the auto ‘box, and MacPherson struts up front and multi-link rear.
There’s slightly more choice when it comes to trim – five different grades – and accessory packs. The basic level of technology and equipment is pretty high, and the cabin is modern rather than futuristic – it’s an essentially digital environment, but with enough knobs and buttons to stop it getting too ID.3 in here.
Our car, in top Tekna+ spec with only paint-related extras, adding £1145 to the price, costs £37,270 on the road. That brings 20-inch alloy wheels, a glass roof, 10-speaker Bose audio and a long list of electronic comfort, convenience and safety features.
First impressions are that it’s all very grown-up in here; and indeed it has grown, albeit only slightly. There’s more room for passengers in the back, and the boot is vast (although I’ve been spoilt by spending time in the big seven-seat Kia Sorento, so I wonder if it will start to feel cramped when I’ve loaded it up with gear and/or kids).
The overall car is – the scales will tell you – slightly heavier than before, but the increase has been kept minimal by the use of more aluminium in the body, and on the road you can’t really tell. The light feel of the new steering set-up probably helps here, and contributes to making the Qashqai easy to get on with straight away.
By Alex Tapley
Logbook: Nissan Qashqai Tekna+
Price £36,125 (£37,270 as tested)
Performance 1332cc turbocharged four-cylinder, 156bhp, 9.2sec 0-62mph, 124mph
Efficiency 43.8mpg (official), 39.7mpg (tested), 146g/km CO2
Energy cost 15.5p per mile
Miles this month 3132
Total miles 5631