Nissan QashQai

One of the benefits of car-free living is that because I hire a car every couple of weeks for the small number of journeys which can’t be achieved by rail or bicycle. I drive lots of new, mid-priced saloons. This means A Very British Dude is an excellent place to read a car review, by someone who hates driving, yet has plenty of experience of driving lots of different cars. What’s the point of reading a review by a driving enthusiast, if you’re not?

LinkI was disapointed when the guy at Luton Airport Hertz handed over the keys to a car advertised like a training shoe, in the “crossover” category. Basically this means it’s a Hatchback, designed to look like a 4×4 to give suburban mums a feeling of superiority from an elevated driving position, and the completely misguided feeling of safety and invincibility this brings. In short, exactly the kind of car I loathe, driven by tosspots I detest. A Nissan QashQai. Specifically a 1.6 litre, 5 door ntec+ version. However. For a country road shlepp on a wet bank holiday weekend, with toddlers and a bicycle, the car made sense.

It would take my canoe, if needed. (My standard measure of “big enough”). The seats folded flat very simply. The interior was well thought out, without stupid cubby holes, but instead well thought out stowage. Nowhere to put a mobile phone though which seems odd for a car so well set up. The rear visibility was dreadful with small windows leaving enormous blind-spots. This was only partially offset by a rear reversing camera, a toy I can’t see myself trusting.

So, what was my toss-pot wagon like to drive? There was no obvious hostility from other road-users compared to the BMW I hired recently (but don’t like to talk about). There were no rattles and shakes, and the whole car had a feeling of being well put together, justifying Sunderland’s reputation as an efficient car-plant. The road-holding was excellent, the ride was comfortable, the stereo was easy to use, and gave good quality sound. Radio 3 was playing music written before 1800 (no dischordant modernist nonsense) so when the M1 traffic slowed, I took the next junction and went cross country. Off the motorway, I found myself actually enjoying driving the bloody thing, pootling back across Bedfordshire, I saw the point of built in sat-nav, having never used a car so equipped before. So having already left the motorway, instead of taking the quicker A road route, I took the shorter, but slower twisty route through the villages.

The car cruises down a motorway or along an A-road pretty smoothly, but in the country, the engine was strangely gutless, and the gear-box was sloppy. But despite this, I liked the car. If you gave it enough revs, it was nippy enough. The elevated driving postition had surprisingly little effect on handling in the corners and I found myself chucking it into the bends with a bit of abandon. I may even have turned the traction control off.

I averaged 36.8 miles per Gallon, without driving like a pensioner. Funnily enough, this was absolutely identical to the milage I got for the same journey with a Fiat Stilo 1.2, which makes a mockery of the Government’s CO2 emissions banding for VED. £16 Grand will buy you a bottom of the range model QashQai, however I would go for a 2-litre engine and leather seats of the Tenka Trim, which will take the price well over £22,000.

This is a lot of money for a car which makes you look like a tosspot whose husband can’t afford the BMW X5 you really wanted, for which you’re having an affair with the Golf-pro. Which is a shame, because it’s actually a pretty decent little car.

Would I buy one? Probably not. But if you want one, you can spec it here but if I was in the market for a £22,000 skate shoe Nissan would have lost a sale for their shitty flash, which twice crashed my computer.

6 replies
  1. Henry Crun
    Henry Crun says:

    I looked at the Qashqai before I bought my current car and was disappointed that there was no 4×4 version – for that you need to upgrade to the Murano. Living in the Peak District, in winter snow tyres and/or 4×4 are a definite plus. In the end I opted for the Mazda 6 which given it's size is surprisingly nippy and get's a good 42 mpg on the motorways (set cruise control for 75mph) and is capable of 35 mpg combined.

  2. cuffleyburgers
    cuffleyburgers says:

    I can't quite get to like the look of this car, and as I need a 4×4 anyway it would not do.

    Besides, I couldn't live wth an underpowered lttle 4-pot motor anyway – it seems only the germans are offering 6-cylinder motors – better a second hand mercedes ML than a crappy EUrobox anytime…

  3. Simon Jester
    Simon Jester says:

    I know this isn't a valid criticism of the car, but by Odin's shaggy beard I hate those fucking adverts for the Qashqai (and its stupid name, too).

  4. Ken
    Ken says:

    Interesting. I bought one of these on behalf of my son (long story). I set out not to like it, but on the 300 mile drive to deliver it to him, I weakened and ended up thinking it was quite good. My daughter has a Nissan Note, which incidently has a boot able to swallow more suitcases than a Qashhai. I live about three miles from the Nissan, Sunderland Factory (not in Sunderland thankfully), so it is nice to hear kind words about one of their products. They keep people employed up north, here among the pit heaps.


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