The Nissan Qashqai is one of the titans of the compact SUV segment and a consistent top seller in Ireland. The Qashqai is one of the most visible cars on Irish roads, and has many loyal fans spread over the two generations of the model. Nissan has recently revamped the Qashqai so I took a petrol model for test drive recently to check out one of Ireland’s favourite family cars.
The Qashqai’s SUV styling has been tweaked ever so slightly with the most noticeable changes being to the grille, front bumper and fog lamps. The boomerang shaped daytime running lights are also new and the LED light motif has been extended across the whole lamp at the rear. My test car was finished in beautiful Vivid Blue and it’s easy to see how the Qashqai’s chunky but inoffensive SUV styling makes it such a hit.
Inside there is a new D-shaped steering wheel and redesigned seats in cloth or leather. The Qashqai has a good selection of equipment and is well sized for its price point (range starts €26,070). A touchscreen is standard on all but the base model. For the 2017 revision, the air vents and interior door handles are finished in higher quality, and more tactile materials. The material quality looks and feels generally good.
There’s new safety equipment available for the first time on Qashqai including Intelligent Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Intelligent Park Assist with New Rear Cross Traffic Alert. If I was to aim criticism at the interior of the Qashqai I would say that it’s starting to look a little old fashioned but there is little to complain about in terms of interior accommodation. The 430 litre boot is very practical for the needs of a family and increases to 1598 litres when the 60:40 split rear seats are folded flat.
You sit slightly elevated in the Nissan Qashqai, which we know many buyers love, but Qashqai retains the easy driving character of a hatchback. This translates to an easy drive with light steering and the compact dimensions make it at home whether in town or country.
There have been a few changes under the skin to improve comfort and driving performance including the addition of Active Return Control, which allows the steering wheel to return to centre more naturally, improving precision during driving. The steering is light and not overly generous on feedback but it does feel natural and the car grips decently too through fast corners. My test car had a 1.2-litre petrol with 115hp, which is great around town with perky low speed performance. Out of town the turbo spins willingly and overall refinement and power is good.
There is also a 1.5-litre diesel with 110hp and a 1.6 diesel with 130hp available for the Qashqai in Ireland. You can select a CVT automatic, and there are also four wheel drive models. The best for economy in the range is the 1.5 diesel (from €27,970).
New Qashqai comes in four grades in Ireland: XE, SV, SV Premium and SVE. Standard equipment includes LED day time running lights and LED rear lights, electric parking brake with Hill Start Assist and auto hold, air con, DAB radio, Bluetooth, cruise control and four electric windows.
SV models (from €27,970) include Nissan Connect 2, rear view camera, privacy glass, auto lights and wipers, front fog lights, 17″ alloys and interior ambient lighting.
SV Premium (from €30,220) adds more safety equipment including traffic sign recognition, lane departure warning, intelligent emergency braking, parking sensors and 18” alloys.
SVE (from €34,320) adds Bi-LED headlamps with Adaptive Front Lighting System, black Nappa leather seats with memory function, Blind Spot Warning, Moving Object Detection, Driver Attention Alert, Intelligent Park Assist, silver roof rails and mirror caps, side grille, rear bumper finishers and 19″ alloys.
This most recent revamp for the Nissan Qashqai adds important safety technology to the range and small improvements to styling, equipment and interior quality. The Nissan Qashqai remains a formidable contender in its segment and it’s no surprise that Irish families just can’t get enough of this predictable and practical SUV package!
Model tested: Nissan Qashqai 1.2 SVE
Price: €34,320 (Range starts at €26,070)
Engine: 1.2-litre turbo petrol
0-100km/h: 10.6 seconds
Top speed: 185km/h
CO2 emissions: 129g/km
Motor tax: €270 per year