Nissan Qashqai 2016 review
The original Qashqai wasn’t quite a re-invention of the wheel, but it did herald the newly cost-effective, family-sized SUVs that have since taken the market by storm. Amongst the most popular in this class, the Qashqai reached the end of a typical six-year life-cycle at the tail end of 2015, but has returned bigger, with lower fuel consumption and a greater choice of engines. So, will these changes, alongside some minor aesthetic tweaks, enable the new Qashqai to continue to dominate one of the fastest growing car markets in the world?
Drivers familiar with Nissan’s upgraded Qashqai will warm quickly to the latest version, as the exterior styling remains largely the same except for a few choice sporty additions. Subtle lines added to the bodywork of the previous, second generation platform have added extra dynamism and bite. Re-designed LED daytime headlights have changed the car’s complexion somewhat, and are a welcome new feature, while standard 19-inch alloy wheels demand respect even for the basic spec model of this car.
The interior is the most drastic visible transition from previous versions, mirroring the evolution of the SUV market. It’s modelled heavily on that of the Rogue (available in the US), with a layout that surpasses the likes of the Kia Sportage and Hyundai’s ix35 in terms of feature orientation and practicality. The chunky plastic of yesteryear is gone, and the new Qashqai has far exceeded the standard hatchback levels of comfort and convenience. The interior is chic and contemporary, with sleek, ergonomic design features akin to Korean or German car manufacturers.
Keeping more or less the same outer shell means increasing space in the Qashqai is all about margins. However, they’ve risen to the challenge, with small adaptations (such as the removal of the handbrake lever) giving a much roomier feel. The adaptions that have been made to the outer shell have paid off in bucket loads, with a modestly increased wheelbase providing more legroom for rear seat passengers and a lowered roofline that loses nothing in terms of headroom. 20 litres has been added to an already generous boot space, bringing the total up to 1,585-litres with rear seats folded. Access is a cinch too, with the new tailgate opening 150mm higher and dual reversible floor panels that can be lowered all the way to a fully flat floor.
The new Qashqai comes with Nissan’s standard trim range, with four levels including Visia, Acenta, Acenta Premium and Tekna. Generously equipped throughout, even the entry level models come with Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control, heated wing mirrors, hill start assist, a trip computer and air conditioning. To fully take advantage of the Bluetooth system, a step up to the Acenta Premium gives access to Nissan’s advanced Connect system, which lets you control apps, sat nav and music from a centralised seven-inch screen.
On the road
Nissan have inducted two new engines into the Qashqai range, which now features two diesel and two petrol options. The base-level model includes a turbocharged 1.2-litre petrol engine with 115bhp and 190nm torque, while the premium version features an Inline-4 1.6-litre engine with 161bhp with an approximate fuel consumption of 5.6-litres per 100km. The diesel options include a 1.5-litre dCi that cranks out 110bhp with a fuel consumption of 3.8-litres per 100km, as well as a powerful 1.6-litre variant that can generate 130bhp with a measly diet of 4.6-litres per 100km. Overall performance is as good as the old Qashqai and better, with acceleration increased to 0 – 60mph in 10 seconds and top speed pushed up to 125mph.
The 2016 Qashqai comes with a host of safety and monitoring systems to help keep you and your family protected on the road. Sensors surrounding the car have enabled the uptake of traffic sign detection, track departure warning, bling spot monitoring, front crash prevention and a rear-view camera. Meanwhile, there’s a host of passive features that improve safety and comfort, including multiple airbags and anti-lock braking, as well as binary piston shock absorbers and power steering with an innovative twist.
With this latest model, Nissan have undoubtedly strengthened the Qashqai’s position as the nation’s favourite SUV crossover. Minor adaptions to engine capacity, cargo storage and interior design have seen the Qashqai grow from an innovative experiment that took the world by storm, into the big brother of the car class with a meteoric popularity that shows no sign of dying down. So, while rivals including the Hyundai Tucson and Mazda CX-5 were catching up fast, the Qashqai 2016 is likely to stay the go-to option for practical, cost-effective family SUV motoring for the foreseeable future.