You remember the old days, when getting into a car meant sucking up fuel like a jumbo jet, and the coolest bit of tech on tap would be the electric windows? Yeah, well they’re long gone. Nowadays the whole point of designing a new car seems to be to demonstrate how much technology you can cram into a small tin box without making the sides bulge too much.
Take this brand new 2014 Nissan Qashqai (pronounced cash-key, or cash-k-eye or quash-ki or whatever) for example. This car is so hot it’s been declared WhatCar Car Of The Year 2014 before a single one has even been sold, which must stand as some sort of record. Not only that, but it has a pedigree too.
Nissan was the first company to introduce this type of mongrel SUV cum saloon/sedan style vehicle – quaintly dubbed a crossover – way back in 2007 with the original Qashqai. And promptly sold over 2 million of the thing in 6 years.
So it’s hardly surprising that they’ve now come back with a slam bang updated model, complete with all the computerized tech bits that’s now fashion du jour. We got a chance to test drive a few of the models last week in the Spanish countryside, and the one that caught our eye was the very frugal 1.5 Diesel base Visia model.
The Qashqai range starts at £17,595, with the base Visia model diesel coming in at £19,290. For that you get a car which does around 74 mpg overall, and features a bunch of technology to enhance safety and driving comfort.
The real kicker however is the fact that you can buy an additional ‘Smart Vision’ pack for £450 which gives you even more tech to play with, including front collision avoidance, lane departure warning sensors, front and rear parking sensors and traffic sign recognition to help you stay within the law at all times.
It’s all very glamorous indeed, and if you go for the upscale Tekna model, you’ll be able to go total space-age with the full automatic parking system which we tried out in earnest and enjoyed immensely. The days of the self driving car aren’t far away folks.
The new car features a very clever combination of subtle styling changes which keep the brand intact while moving it forward into a more modern feel. The result is very pleasing to the eye, as well as being very practical in every way. It’s got a sporty look which will please dad, while also offering up ample space inside for those practical things like the weekly shop or shuffling the kids off to grandma for the month.
As the photos above show, the design changes from the old model (on the left of each block above) are super subtle, and yet the whole effect taken together gives the new model an ultra modern look which really works. Hats off to the design team on this one. Take a look at our video below for our impressions of the car and that fancy automatic parking tech. It’s pretty neat.
The 1.5 diesel model we spent most time with was impressively quiet on motorway runs, and yet agile and sure footed enough on country stints to make you feel confident it could handle most terrain without a murmur. The six gears and gutsy 110 PS diesel engine never felt fussed even under pressure, and the acceleration was more than swift enough to keep up in traffic.
It’s also clear that this is a vehicle built to carry stuff around when needed, so there’s bags of room at the rear, and different configurations you can set to make sure you get the most out of the 430 litre cargo space. We especially liked the new ‘platform’ feature, which gives a false floor to provide a completely flat surface from front seats to rear. It’s almost big enough for a double bed!
The new Nissan Qashqai is one of the most popular cars in Europe, and this new model should do nothing to harm that reputation. It looks great, is fun to drive and comes with enough options to satisfy even the most demanding driver. If you go the full monty and load up with the Tekna version, you’ll be able to spend literally weeks showing off all your fancy technology gimmicks to the neighbors, which has got to be worth the money, right?
Not only that, but we’re told that insurance companies are now reducing the premiums on models which feature the collision avoidance system by up to 20%, so you could also save money over the long term by spending a little extra on the safety pack up front. For fleet drivers this merits serious attention.
A worthy successor to the original crossover master. Roomy, fun to drive and definitely a strong contender for a Car Of The Year award. No wait….
New Qashqai technology highlights:
Nissan Safety Shield packages comprising:
Forward Emergency Braking
Driver Attention Alert
Traffic Sign Recognition
Lane Departure Warning
Blind Spot Warning
Moving Object Detection
High Beam Assist
Full LED headlamps which consume 50 per cent of the power of previous Xenon lamps
Around View Monitor with Park Assist
New NissanConnect with smartphone app integration
Price: From £17,595.00 on the road.