Qashqai hits the mark!

2014 has started very well for car sales. It would seem that maybe we have finally turned a corner.

2014 has started very well for car sales. It would seem that maybe we have finally turned a corner.

After many years of very slow sales people feel a new confidence and are out there spending their money on new cars. Now its by no means boom time again but the figures for the first twenty days of January are well up on last year.

There is also of course a huge variety of excellent new models about and that is supported by a terrific number of very good finance and PCP (Personal Contract Plans) as a means to drive a 141 reg car.

Some times manufacturers are also very lucky and manage to fall upon a design and formula that really works very well indeed and as a result buyers flock to buy the car. So it is with the Nissan Qashqai!

Last year Nissan sold almost 3,000 new Qashqai models in Ireland and that was in the model run-out year where the economy was still very much in the doldrums.

I have just returned from a very interesting visit to the Nissan assembly plant in Sunderland, England where I saw the new car on the assembly line and then drove a new Qashqai from Sunderland over some 250 kilometers to Leeds.

The previous Qashqai was a worldwide success and I can tell you having driven the new one it will do even better. Nissan have a real gem here!

Designed, engineered and manufactured in the UK, Qashqai is the best-selling Crossover in Europe and Nissan’s best-selling model in Europe, having created a brand new segment on its launch in 2006.

Following its unveil in November, the new generation model is now in full production at Sunderland, where a Qashqai is built every 61 seconds on the factory’s Line 1.

Nissan’s Qashqai is long established as the leader in the crossover market, with more than 2.0 million produced since 2007.

The new Qashqai is 47mm longer than the current model and fractionally lower and wider, giving it a sleek, poised stance while maintaining the crossover style, compact dimensions and raised driving position. The new Qashqai is packed full of innovative technology. It offers drivers a comprehensive suite of advanced technology features enhancing every aspect of driving. Nissan’s Safety Shield technologies now incorporate

Forward Emergency Braking, Driver Attention Alert and Traffic Sign Recognition along with several other vital driver aids, while Intelligent Park Assist takes the stress out of urban manoeuvres.

Naturally in keeping with it’s image it does sit higher off the road than a conventional hatch and that to many is a big attraction.

There is plenty of head and legroom both front and rear, but like most cars in this class the Qashqai sits four much more comfortably than five. The Renault sourced 1.5 dci engine is very good indeed. Mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox and with bags of mid-range torque performance is good.

Overall then initial impressions on my launch test drive were very good indeed. Prices start at €24,495 for the 1.2 petrol turbo. The diesel entry price is €26,395 for the 1.5 dci as reviewed here. I will have a full road test on the new Qashqai in the coming weeks. In the meantime all I can say in summary is that the new Qashqai is one of thevery best compact SUV’s/ Crossover vehicles currently available.