Arguably the first SUV happened to be the Nissan Qashqai, that was way back in 2007. Now, years on, has its popularity made it the ‘Peoples SUV’.
Over the years, we have seen really successful cars, the Ford Model T, Volkswagen Beetle, Fiat 500. Many, many have purchased Qashqai over the years, with over 3m sold just in Europe, the All-New Qashqai is now in the third generation and Nissan boldly claims this is the best Qashqai so far. And more good news, it’s designed in the European office in London, engineered in Cranfield, UK and built…you guessed it, in the UK, in Sunderland.
The Qashqai makes for an attractive upgrade into the massively crowded SUV/crossover market. Qashqai has always been a strong contender. After all, it started the trend with the first Qashqai and has always been a best seller in its class.
Nissan has now honed the award-winning Qashqai SUV into an All-New practical, innovative, cutting-edge model. On our days testing the car on the busy roads near Watford, this Qashqai shone, quite unlike the wet British weather thrown at us on the day. Now in its third generation, so is this the best Qashqai so far?
There is a lot to like about this new model. Once again, Nissan’s designers have tweaked the formula, keeping the car bigger on the inside thanks to the 20mm longer wheelbase and almost the same size on the outside, just 35mm longer, 25mm higher and 32mm wider. Lighter, more agile, more practical = more enjoyable.
The car I drove at the launch was the Tekna+ on sale at £37,270, near the top of the range, with just the 4wd version slightly more expensive at £37.835; however, prices start at £23,535 for the already well-specced Visia models N-Connecta sits at the heart of the range.
My initial impressions were just how easy it was to get comfortable and how light and easy to drive the car. There is a modern, comfortable feeling to the design.
The New Qashqai is 60kg lighter with the bonnet, doors and front wings made from aluminium; the car is built on Nissan’s new CMF-C platform. These changes result in a 40% stiffer bodyshell, which improves performance and driving dynamics and makes it just that bit more efficient. Nissan’s also has the ability to add electrified powertrains to the line-up later in the year.
New Qashqai is available with two suspension configurations, a torsion beam on cars with 19-inch wheels or below and a multi-link on all versions with 20-inch diamond-cut wheels or AWD.
On the outside, bold, sharp lines, with a single sharp swage line reaching from the front to the rear of the design creating a more athletic and dynamic look. A larger new V-Motion grille, led running lights, a large rear diffuser. 20″ wheels finish the look, available for the first time on Qashqai.
Attractive, intelligent LED lighting at the front is a fully automatic system that adjusts to oncoming traffic with 12 elements that activate or deactivate not to dazzle oncoming drivers.
More comfortable with higher-tech are the significant changes inside; the dashboard is stylised with a line accentuating the car’s width and giving the impression of roominess. There is a 9-inch touchscreen for the sound system along with Apple carplay or Android auto. The main instruments are a bright 12.3-inch digital cockpit system, easy to use and navigate. In addition to this, keep your eyes on the road ahead with the benefit of a 10.3-inch head-up display.
The leather seats are great looking and very comfortable with a built-in three-way massage function in some models. Soft-touch tactile materials are abundant. I particularly liked the fact that shiny piano black has gone and replaced with a premium, well-selected, tactile, non-fingerprinting material. The rear doors on this Qashqai cleverly can be fully opened to 85 degrees, when space allows bringing the most accessible access for child seats and luggage.
The 154PS 1.3-litre mild-hybrid powerplant with a 12-volt system claiming to reduce emissions and increase efficiency, potentially giving mpg of between 49-74mpg combined and emitting 143g/KM.
The additional ProPilot is standard on many models; this is Nissan’s self-driving/driving assistance technology, a real bonus, so easy to use, with a simple button on the steering wheel. Set your speed and the system will automatically accelerate, keep your distance from the cars in and brake for you. It’s not infallible, but on the right roads, it can really help. On some models, the system has been enhanced with Navi-Link, which utilises the built-in TomTom maps to foresee bends, roundabouts and the changing road, adjusting your speed for the speed limits and keeping you more informed. It often surprises me how few people seem to use these systems, they are so easy to use and ProPilot has gotten better.
The larger boot is worth mentioning, with hands-free operation and the flexibility of a two-level luggage board system, enabling cargo to be placed to stop it sliding or shifting while on the run. The boot panels are wipe clean and the parcel shelf, easily removed and stowed beneath the floor panel.
This new model will keep the All-New Nissan Qashqai in many people’s minds as the first choice for a well-priced, mid-sized, practical family SUV; the electric models to come later in the year can only enhance the options available.
The man from Drive.co.uk
After many, many years of being passionate about cars, spending too much money on cars and too much time driving. I now spend my time running and developing Drive.co.uk and creating a bold expressive new motoring lifestyle website along with some very good writers.
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