Test Drive: The New Nissan Qashqai
Ian Lamming creeps around in the near silent new Nissan Qashqai
After a run of electric vehicles I have to remind myself constantly that the new Nissan Qashqai isn’t part of that particular genre.
So silent is the popular SUV that it is easy to forget it still relies on internal combustion, albeit with the aid of a mild hybrid.
This third generation SUV is so quiet it is spooky and it’s that level of supreme refinement that can’t fail to make Washington’s finest as popular as its predecessors.
Quality oozes from every orifice, whether that’s the silent 1.3 litre turbo-charged mild hybrid, the seamless Xtronic auto, the peerless ride or the crafted interior. It’s the first thing people comment on when they slip inside the spacious cabin saying how much better the quality feels, which is praise indeed given the last Qashqai was also very good.
In the optional extra colour of two-tone ceramic grey pearlescent with a pearl black roof it stands out from the crowd to the point where strangers approach to ask questions about it, which should hearten dealers.
Colour, lines, proportions and very attractive front and rear genuinely attract the eye – it’s a fine looking car, fresh, modern, but still distinctively Qashqai.
The new design is superb bringing the look right up to date. The clever way designer have played with the LEDs, signature running lights and grille have kept it distinctly Nissan but made it more relevant to today’s roads. The back too benefits from appealing wraparound tail lamps and the overall look is more contemporary, bigger and bolder. With 20in alloys and striking lines it could have driven straight off the concept stand of any motor show.
The other thing that brings joy to my heart is the interior which has reinvented the wheel; and guess what? It is still round. So, while the touchscreen remains for some functions, the primary roles are provided once again by good ol’ buttons and switches.
There’s even a knob for the radio volume and others for the climate control – whoop, whoop – which is so much better than the touch-only versions in other cars, while some have touchy feely controls that come with haptics to give the ‘touch’ the ‘feel’ of a button. What’s the point in that? None. Just give me a button or a knob any day of the week.
Inside is still a technological feast in many ways and a lesson in luxury thanks to sumptuous quilted leather seats and high quality trim. New ProPILOT with Navi-Link technology doesn’t just keep you centred in your lane at a pre-set distance from the vehicle in front, it uses built-in TomTom® maps to anticipate bends, junctions, off ramps and more, and adjusts accordingly for a smarter, more relaxing drive.
The head-up display maintains your focus on the road by providing an image projection onto the windscreen, enabling drivers to access key navigation, driver assistance and road information without taking their eyes off the horizontal.
Nothing irritates me more than a satnav that is difficult to use but I shouldn’t have doubted Nissan who always have great controls and inputting destinations proves a breeze. It is all very easy and intuitive to use.
New Qashqai may not be an electric vehicle yet but it does a fair impression of one and certainly sparks interest in the brand.
Nissan Qashqai Tekna+
Engine: 1.3 litre turbo petrol mild hybrid
0-62mph: 9.2 secs
Top speed: 124mph
Combined miles per gallon: 43.8
Transmission: Xtronic 2WD
CO2 g/km: 146