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I've got a new car Nice, what is it? A Nissan Qashqai A what? A Qashqai - you know the one with the advert where it does the skateboard moves Oh right.
That's the typical conversation I've had over the last couple of months since ordering and taking delivery of my Qashqai Accenta 1.5dci (Qashqai is pronounced Cash Kai, not too hard, but you'd be surprised how difficult people seem to want to make it !).
The choice of a car to replace my 160000+ mile Audi A4 was pretty easy. I do about 400 miles per week. I'm a weekend dad to 3 teenage children, all of whom are taller than me ;-(. I want something with a boot big enough to swallow my mountain bike and occasional holiday luggage. My budget is limited and I like something that stands out from the rep-mobiles which surround me every day. The Qashqai was pretty much the only car that fitted my restraints and was pleasing to my eye and my pocket.
It's hard to say what the competitors to this model are, it's smaller (and considerably cheaper) than a RAV4, X_Trail or Freelander but the design is clever enough to make it look similar in size, in truth it's closer in size to a Golf or Focus, a kind of pseudo off-roader.
My first peek at a Qashqai was earlier in 2007 when I spotted one in Spain and it certainly stood out from the crowd, I was hooked and booked a test drive after convincing myself that I need this car.
I guess a motoring hack would describe the Qashqai as a "cross-over" vehicle, similar in looks to it's big brother the Murano, it is designed and built in the UK, which is a plus for me.
For the safety minded it has a full 5star adult occupancy rating and according to crash testing body, Euro NCAP, recorded the highest ever score for front and side impact. It's a full 5 seater with 3 multi point belts in the back. The cabin is nice and wide which means the kids won't be squabbling over their space. Interior finish is to a pretty high standard with all the controls feeling robust and well put together, that said it isn't the most imaginative package and if you are need design flair and state of the art layout then look elsewhere.
Standard equipment for the Accenta (which is the mid-spec model) includes: A 6 speed gearbox, which has a lovely feel but won't be rushed. Climate control adjustable to driver and passenger side. Automatic headlights and wipers which detect the conditions and work accordingly - this takes a bit of getting used to! The headlights also have an independent height adjustment. All round electric windows. Cruise control. 6cd dash loading AM/FM in car audio system which incorporates Bluetooth so you have instant hands free phone operation. The Cruise control and Audio system both have controls on the steering wheel. 16inch alloy wheels. Fog lights. Reversing buzzer which tells you when you are about to hit a wall or kerb. Electric fold-away door mirrors. Multi-function on-board computer telling you time to service, trip/journey time and distance/mpg/miles left in tank, again operated from the steering wheel. All other standard options are there too and at this level you can also opt for a full length sun roof, sat nav and rear facing parking camera. Forget the leather seats, my kids hated them and they don't look great either. On the 2litre models you can also have 4 wheel drive.
The Qashqai handles competently, the brakes are pin sharp although the ride is fairly tight, if you are chasing the off-road wallow of a Range Rover, forget it, but watch your speed, you can easily find you are cruising at 80+ without knowing.
The driving position is high up and very relaxed, the seats are comfortable and supportive. All major controls easy to reach and very intuitive - this all adds to the safety factor.
Performance from the 1.5 turbo diesel 108HP engine won't get you in to too much trouble but it's no sluggard when the turbo kicks in fairly low down the revs and sends you off down the road with a grin on your face. The engine is noisy when cold and on start up but that soon goes away and you can chat happily with your occupants.
One of the main reasons for choosing this model for me was economy, fuel being my 2nd biggest expense, well after 2000 miles I'm averaging 52-53 mpg (that's nearly 700 miles on a tank) which pleases me greatly and will save me about £60 per month.
With an on the road price of just under £16500, 3 years or 60000 miles warranty and a service interval of 12500 miles I am a very happy Nissan Qashqai owner - I wish I could say the same for the dealer, Glyn Hopkin of Chelmsford - they are awful but that's another story……
For such a new model residual value is a major plus, with 6 month old examples selling for more than the new showroom price but I don't expect that to last, although ongoing predictions rate the Qashqai close to the top of the tree.
Since taking delivery, the only problem I've had are a couple of crashed gear-changes when I've tried to race off the lights and the gear knob fell off twice - a good thump sorted this out.
Would I recommend a Qashqai, you bet I would, but don't all rush out and get one yet, because I want to go on feeling a wee bit special as I drive mine around for as long as possible.
Helpful review - I am considering one of these at the moment and trying to arrange a test drive (not easy to get an auto to try). Thanks for the info
JunePixie 23.11.2007 15:00
I haven't come across this car yet. Sound very economical and the 1.5cc keeps you in the lower road tax bracket. My next car will be band A (no tax) as it's a Polo Blue Motion with extra low Co2 emissions.
chilipepper27 23.11.2007 14:52
Great review, I'd love a new car! I wouldn't have known what type of car it was just from the name, but I know from the advert, it's awesome! x