Nissan Qashqai road test review: The new Qashqai features much technology to keep you safe and the car in one piece, but as DAVID HOOPER finds out, sometimes less is more
I LIKE surprises, and the latest Nissan Qashqai was a very nice surprise when it arrived. I’m sure you’ll agree that Nissan has done an excellent job of refreshing this British-built favourite and giving it an impressively classy update.
The car’s exterior now boasts a plethora of details to attract your eyes and indeed keep your attention, both fore and aft. The previously fairly vanilla Qashqai now stands out from the crowd and shouts look at me! I think its smart new suit will attract new converts to its legions of fans.
The good news continues inside, too. The interior has also been given a huge update. It now looks and feels better and the quality of the fixtures and fittings and touch points are a substantial step forward, and I loved the quilted seats in our test car.
The model I tested is packed full of all the latest in-car tech you could wish for, with things Rear Cross Traffic Alaert and Rear Automatic Braking to hopefully prevent you backing into things, although the view from the rear-facing camera is crystal clear, so there would be no excuses!
I’m an attentive driver, but this car will virtually drive itself and it actually caught me out a couple of times, for example entering a 50mph section of roadworks on the A1 – the Qashqai started slowing down, quite firmly, all by itself, because although I had registered the reduced speed limit, was in traffic and had lifted off the throttle to reduce speed, but the car, when it recognised the 50mph sign decided I wasn’t slowing down fast enough and opted to do so more quickly – I actually had to over-ride it for fear that the car following me might not realise what was happening – he was too close anyway.
It also features Intelligent Forward Brake with Pedestrian, Cyclist and Junction assist, Lane Departure Warnings, Lane Departure Prevention – which resulted in a wrestling match with the steering wheel on a few occasions when I wanted to change lane without indicating (it wasn’t necessary) and the car didn’t!
It also has something called ProPilot which links with the sat nav and intelligent cruise control which adjusts the car’s speed as the road signs change. This can be helpful at times as there are so many flipping speed limit changes in quick succession these days, it can be hard to keep up, but while these new systems (which are not unique to Nissan) are a good aid to help you keep your driving licence free of penalty points, I do like to be in charge of the vehicle I’m driving, and there is so much technology on this car that at times, I felt that it was the other way round!
All that said, you can turn most of it off should you so choose.
Once all the technology is turned off, or down, the Qashqai itself is a refined, quiet and comfortable travelling companion. Progress is agreeably quiet inside, and any external noises can be easily drowned out by the excellent Bose sound system.
At the back, there is a good sized boot for all the family clutter, and the car’s slightly raised, SUV-style seating position gives a good view of the goings on around you, yet the Qashqai’s fairly compact footprint means parking it is never an issue.
Overall, I liked the latest Qashqai, it’s gone up in the world in terms of its aesthetics and quality, but with a price tag in excess of £37,000 for the model I spent a few days with, it’s not a cheap proposition, but if you didn’t want the Two Tone Ceramic Grey bodywork and contrasting Pearl Black roof, you could save over £1,000 on the asking price.
THE VITAL STATISTICS
MODEL: Nissan Qashqai Tekna +
ENGINE: 1332cc, 158PS four-cylinder petrol engine, driving front wheels through an automatic speed gearbox.
PERFORMANCE: Top speed 124 mph. 0-62mph in 9.2 secs.
ECONOMY: City: 35.5mpg.
CO2 EMISSIONS: 146g/km.
FUEL TANK: 55 litres.
INSURANCE: Group 16
PRICE: £37,270 as tested
• All data correct at time of publication.