Tested by Bob Flavin
The CashCow, that’s what Nissan should have called this car. The sales of this car have been huge; especially considering the rest of the 4x4 market is all but dead. Nissan had this corner of the market to its self, some would argue that Nissan created this sector, but now everyone else is catching up. Now let’s be straight the Qashqai isn’t a 4x4, you can have that as an option, but near everyone of them on the road are 2 wheel drive only.
There’s no doubt where the appeal of this car lies, the looks are inoffensive but impressive too, there is a little happy dog around the front so check on the cuteness list. The big wheels and high ride height make is look butch too, it’s an interesting lesson on how to make a car appeal to every kind of person.
The interior feels spacious and really well put together, there’s a good feel from all the plastics. The back seat is big enough, but there is a little of the 4+1 feel to it, the rear seat squab is a little on the narrow side for 5 adults. There’s an arm rest the in centre back with two cup holders built in. Up front all the controls are well laid out, everything is where it should be. The steering wheel controls are a little fussy; it takes a bit of getting used to.
Even from cold the 1.5dci engine is quiet, the 6 speed gear box has a lovely direct feeling. With a light clutch and big power steering pump there’s no problem moving the car at low speeds. For a small diesel engine it’s quite free revving, topping out a 4500rpm, there is a little turbo lag but that’s to be expected to get the economy figures up where they need to be.
On the road there’s a nice little turn of speed from the engine, once you get to cruising speed it goes cathedral quiet in the cabin. The ride is lovely too, the driving position is high but it still feels like a car. Very little body roll in any of the bends, there’s plenty of grip too. Even though the Qashqai has a big footprint at no point of the drive did I feel like I was driving a big car, it just feels like a hatchback on stilts.
The boot is big at 410ltrs and it’s just at the right height for loading stuff in, there’s no step to speak of so it’s flat floor.
When the Qashqai first came out there was much debate over what the car really was, an SUV or a big hatchback. Well it turned out that it was neither, it was just a well put together big car; it’s a bit of a mongrel.
Road tax is only €156 on the 1.5 DCi, even with stiff competition out there the Qashqai still has a great look.
The Qashqai is named after a nomadic tribe that live in Iran, what that has to do with this car I’ll never know. One thing is for sure, this is a very capable car, solid on the road and practical too. Even though there’s a bit of competition out there now there’s still nothing to beat the Qashqai.
You’ll find the Qashqai at Downey’s Nissan in Portlaoise 057 86 8400, you might be lucky and find a used one in stock but be quick because they don’t be long about finding a new home.