Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

No Need to Dig Deep; Is Nissan's Qashqai One of Those Cars That Gets Better the Less You Spend Upfront? ANDY ENRIGHT Takes a Look at the Entry-Level Version

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

No Need to Dig Deep; Is Nissan's Qashqai One of Those Cars That Gets Better the Less You Spend Upfront? ANDY ENRIGHT Takes a Look at the Entry-Level Version

Article excerpt

Byline: ANDY ENRIGHT

CAN you really put a 1.2-litre petrol engine in a vehicle as big as a Nissan Qashqai and expect it to be any good? Well, yes, you can.

The latest Qashqai has established its bona fides and the turbocharged 1.2-litre engine can manage a respectable 115PS, which will be more than enough for many customers. The PS17,500 opening price isn't going to hurt either.

As you might expect at this price point, you don't get all-wheel-drive but then neither do most Qashqai customers. Around 85% of all Qashqais will be sold running a frontwheel-drive chassis and it makes sense. It's more efficient, more cost-effective, easier to package and most target customers don't need all-wheeldrive anyway.

The 115PS engine has a bit to it and thus equipped, this Qashqai is actually faster than the old 1.6-litre version. It'll skip to 62mph in 11.3 seconds and run on to a top speed of 115mph, so it's unlikely you'll feel embarrassed in the outside lane.

Peak torque is between 2,000 and 4,000rpm thanks to the turbocharger, so it's not as if you need to rev it like crazy to make respectable progress. That always used to be the recipe if you fitted a small engine in a big car but things have changed for the better.

OK, so this is never going to be a vehicle where you overtake just for the fun of it, but motorway cruising is relaxed and refined and handling is assured thanks to the standard chassis control system. This uses active trace control to improve stability through bends by braking the inside wheel while active ride control also stabilises the car this time over bumps that could cause the car's body to pitch slightly forward and backwards.

The ingenious double-piston dampers already put the Qashqai a step ahead of its key rivals in terms of ride quality. There's also a dual mode steering system which changes the weighting of the electrically-assisted rack when you select the sport setting.

The interior has come on leaps and bounds. …

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