We caught up with the newly-updated Qashqai during a recent SMMT Test Day at Millbrook. Interestingly, Nissans UK Engineering Centre is, at Cranfield, not far from Millbrook, and they use the proving ground extensively for development testing.
My expectations of the new Qashqai in 1.2 litre DIG-T petrol-powered form were, frankly, not high as I fully expected to find it seriously underpowered with compromised ride or handling, being a typically high-riding SUV. I couldn’t have been more wrong! The 1.2 litre four-pot was enough to hustle the car round Millbrooks Alpine hill route very respectably, with a surprisingly good amount of torque to keep gear changing to a minimum. The car handled excellently round even the most vicious bends, staying on line even when hitting the strategically placed mid-bend bumps designed to send a vehicle off-course. This surprisingly agile handling was not accompanied by the expected board-like ride, which whilst firm was far from tooth-jarring.
Quality of the car seemed high, with admirable fit & finish, and in the as-tested Tekna trim level includes a raft of useful kit including an excellent satnav, reversing camera, leather trim, lane departure. With an on-the-road price, in solid paint Tekna spec, of £23,145, it is easy to see why the Qashqai was Britains 6th best-selling car in 2013, with over 50,000 sold.
good performance for a small petrol engine
excellent ride & handling
Tekna trim includes lots of useful toys
not much of note