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Nissan’s rejuvenated urban cross-over, the Qashqai


HAVING spent a substantial amount of time behind the wheels of various guises of the first generation Nissan Qashqai, it was quite a revelation driving the new breed of vehicle.

Dominating its segment, the Qashqai is anything but dull and its name carries a lot of weight, so it makes sense that Nissan kept similar muscular lines and curves dictating its aggressive side.

I’ve always been a fan of the Qashqai’s styling thanks to its strong detailing, and the new look ushers in the modern era.

That said, the matte-silver accents and glossy black finishes do look the part and add a touch of class, which is complemented by the newly redesigned dash making the cabin a good place to spend time.

Ease of use is fantastic as all controls are within easy reach and the ergonomically laid out dash means all vitals can be seen at a quick glance.

Its spacious interior means even rear occupants have plenty of legroom; head and shoulder room has also been improved. The new breed of Qashqai is exclusively available as a five-seater and while that might not be an inconvenience to most, the added practicality of the seven seats might be missed by some.

The boot is still spacious with 430 litres and given its SUV styling, loading and unloading is a breeze, courtesy of the tailgate, which now opens 150mm higher than the outgoing model.

The usual 60:40 split increases the cargo capacity to an enormous 1 585 litres when the rear seats are folded.

Stylish and well dressed, taking the Qashqai out on the roads tells a different story. Our test mule was fitted with the new 1.2-litre turbocharged mill, which is also found in the new Renault Megane. Producing 85kW of power and 190Nm of torque it was mated to a slick shifting six-speed manual gearbox.

I’ve always been a huge fan of downsizing and the claimed fuel consumption of 6.2 litres/100km and 144g/km of CO2 highlight just how important this technology is for the future.

But given the Qashqai’s rather bulky physique, there is a lowdown flat spot, which means the engine needs to be worked to get the Nissan going.

Nissan is punting that the Qashqai is an urban vehicle and I agree. It thrives with city living due to its high level of practicality, and increased ride height which means Joburg potholes (and in some cases, even pavements) are simple tasks for this urban warrior.

But the lack of power lowdown does mean that you’ll struggle at pull-off, which could be a nuisance at intersections. I would probably opt for the more powerful and well-known diesel derivative, which sips fuel like grandma at a tea party.

Ultimately, Nissan has ticked all the right boxes with the new Qashqai. The new styling and reworked platform make it an adaptable vehicle for modern-day living. With the correct engine and spec level, it does everything right and offers exactly what you want from this cross-over vehicle.

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