The efficient times
The times they are a-changing. The times I’m referring to are current trends and exciting developments in the motor industry and although one part of me will miss big, lazy motors, the other half gets a proper petrol-head kick out of small, efficient engines. Like the one in this new Nissan Qashqai.
To put things into perspective, I’ve just calculated the average engine size of all cars I’ve ever owned: 3.18 liters. Doing the same for my father’s cars shows an average capacity of 3.61 liters. That means this number will statistically continue to drop because of the down-sizing trend.
The new Qashqai is available with two small turbo-Diesels or this new turbo-Petrol, a 1.2L (1,197cc) in-line four-cylinder which kicks out 85kW (116hp) at 4,500rpm or 190Nm from 2,000rpm onwards. That’s the same amount of power an old 1.6 or 1.8L would produce, with considerably higher twisting power.
Before I get into the nitty-gritty of its engine, I’d like to convey my personal opinion on the looks of this new Nissan. From its trademark chrome V grill and snazzy LED day-time lights (standard on all models) to its flowing new shape and agreeable rear end, I think the Qashqai is a seriously good-looking car.
Someone mentioned a resemblance to the Hyundai ix35’s rear lights and I’ll chalk that up as high praise. Inside, the fresh SUV shows interesting forms and textures, modern lighting and sharp displays. Nissan’s trusty but crusty radio/media unit is finally gone, replaced by a touch-screen device surrounded by sparkly black trim.
The cloth seats are comfortable and versatile; boot space grows from 430L to 1,585L with the rear 60/40 split seats folded. We enjoyed lots of cup holders and bottle holders, power windows and exterior mirrors. My better half bemoaned the unlit ignition slot but that’s all the criticism we could conjure up in a week.
Available in two spec levels, this Acenta model boast 17-inch alloy wheels, more cup holders, auto lights, rain sensor, power folding mirrors, leather-covered gear lever and steering wheel, front fog lights, more speakers, climate control and seat-back pockets over its cheaper Visia counterpart.
The Qashqai base specifications are properly impressive and include, among others, full Bluetooth connectivity, two 12V sockets, multiple airbags, four disc brakes with ABS and EBD, brake assist, stability control, hill start assist, active chassis control, cruise control and on-board computer.
Our test car had the optional Techno Pack fitted which gives you surround cameras, navigation, Nissan Connect system and heated exterior mirrors. Nissan also offers a Design Pack with silver roof rails, privacy glass and 19-inch alloys; unfortunately these two packages are not available on the cheapest model.
The next thing to strike us was the new Qashqai’s split between agile road holding and pliant damping, courtesy of front McPherson struts and independent multi-link setups at the back. 180mm of ground clearance complete a picture which should suit most growing suburban families like a glove.
To finally describe its power: while not breath-taking, this new turbo engine has an energetic and linear delivery with its only Achilles’ heel being low revs. Let the needle drop below 1,500 revs and it’ll go on strike. Other than that, it pulls well and struggles to tilt 10L/100km from the 65L tank; Nissan claim 6.2.
Our performance testing resulted in 0-100km/h times around 11 seconds but I can’t stress enough that this Qashqai feels much faster. A few years ago I would’ve outright dismissed the thought of driving a 1.2L front-wheel-drive SUV, now I’d even proclaim that I wouldn’t mind owning one.
Part of this may be due to the Nissan Qashqai 1.2 Acenta’s price of N$310,100 which seems very reasonable for such an attractive, efficient and well-spec’d soft-roader. A 5-year/90,000km service plan and incredible 6-year/150,000km warranty is also included in what I think is one of 2014’s best new models. Brilliant!
0-10km/h: 0.53 seconds
0-20km/h: 1.14 seconds
0-30km/h: 1.93 seconds
0-40km/h: 2.73 seconds
0-50km/h: 3.90 seconds
0-60km/h: 5.09 seconds
0-70km/h: 6.38 seconds
0-80km/h: 7.70 seconds
0-90km/h: 9.61 seconds
0-100km/h: 11.53 seconds
0-110km/h: 13.65 seconds
0-120km/h: 16.02 seconds
0-130km/h: 18.89 seconds
0-140km/h: 23.13 seconds
0-100m: 7.65 seconds @ 78.47km/h
0-200m: 11.67 seconds @ 98.27km/h
0-300m: 15.09 seconds @ 111.91km/h
0-400m: 18.16 seconds @ 121.75km/h
Maximum acceleration G-force: 0.55G
All data captured by Racelogic® Performance Box