From £18,7409
The Nissan Qashqai 1.2 DIG-T has a refined powertrain that deserves its predicted status as the top seller, but demanding roads may get the better of it

Our Verdict

Nissan Qashqai

Nissan's second crossover album goes platinum, but can a light refresh to the Qashqai and some added extras help it hold off the advances from the Seat Ateca and Skoda Kodiaq

Steve Cropley Autocar
10 January 2014

What is it?

The sole petrol-powered version in the Nissan Qashqai range at launch. The Qashqai 1.2 DIG-T produces marginally more power and significantly more torque than the 1.6-litre petrol engine that was featured in the original model. Unsurprisingly then that at launch, it is expected to be the biggest-selling engine, accounting for some 42 per cent of sales.

The new car also records improved fuel economy and CO2 emissions than the model it replaces: 50.4mpg and 129g/km plays 45.6mpg and 144g/km. 

As with the rest of the range, the Qashqai 1.2 DIG-T features start-stop as standard as well as a regenerative alternator, but is only offered with a six-speed manual gearbox. Those seeking automatic or four-wheel-drive versions will be fulfilled only by variants of the 1.6-litre diesel. 

Like all two-wheel-drive versions of the 2014 Nissan Qashqai, it employs MacPherson strut front suspension and a twist beam rear. And like the rest of the Mk2 Qashqai range, double-piston shock absorbers, which are intended to be capable of producing both a good ride over both low- and high-frequency bumps and a completely reengineered power-steering system.

The second-generation Nissan Qashqai is some 47mm longer, 20mm wider and 15mm lower than the model it replaces. It is undeniably more attractive than the last car, but loses little of the practicality that saw 250,000 units sold in the UK over seven years – even if a seven-seat model won’t be offered.

Boot space grows by 20 litres to 430 litres, and is accompanied by a bewildering number of positions for the adjustable boot floor to be located in. The cabin feels decidedly more upmarket than before, and our range-topping test car in Tekna trim wants for few optional extras, justifying its £23k price tag.

What's it like?

The powertrain is refined and relaxed. Some may (still) scoff at the idea of a big-ish crossover powered by a 1.2-litre engine, but it is more than a worthy replacement for the old atmospheric 1.6-litre petrol engine.

Performance isn’t what you’d call scintillating: Nissan claims it’ll take 11.3sec to reach 62mph, but for a car like this, its 115mph top speed is largely academic. There’s decent performance from step off and it feels nippy enough around town. That's thanks to torque peaking at a usefully low 2000rpm, and not tailing off until 4000rpm.

Where the 1.2 DIG-T engine really impresses is at a steady-state motorway cruise. At around the UK limit, the engine is remarkably hushed. And even though there’s a small amount of wind and road noise, it is more peaceful than many models from the class above.

The relative paucity of power and – more importantly – of torque comes into play when preparing for an overtake. Although the engine is far from thrashy at higher engine speeds, commitment and plenty of planning is required to make reasonable progress, even if few buyers will push that particular envelope.

The Qashqai employs clever double-piston dampers which endow the car with first-rate body control, yet are supple enough to largely eradicate both low- and high-frequency imperfections. 

Through bends, the Qashqai, which has a standard-fit Chassis Control system, feels sure-footed. Chassis Control’s constituent parts aid this ‘safe’ feeling further: Active Trace Control brakes the inside wheel and Active Ride Control monitors for bumps which could upset the car’s pitch and brakes the wheels accordingly.

Elsewhere the Qashqai is identical to the rest of the range: a spacious cabin that has a much-improved quality look and feel, a good-sized boot and, entry-level Visia model apart, a comprehensive roster of equipment.

Should I buy one?

That largely depends on where you plan to drive the car most of the time. The new Nissan Qashqai is undeniably an excellent car in all of the pragmatic areas that matter for most drivers, and the model’s smallest engine fitted here is both refined and claims low-running costs.

Nissan claims the new Qashqai is some 2 to 5 per cent cheaper than the equivalent Golf, but represents 2 to 5 per cent better value. Bosses also predict lower servicing, insurance, fuel and tax bills, and say that residual values will also increase.

For urban drivers then, the 1.2 DIG-T model could just represent the sweet spot in the range, with perky performance in the stop-start grind. And it’s plenty capable of holding a high-speed motorway cruise. But those who regularly have the need to make progress on give-and-take roads, or regularly encounter steep inclines, might be left wanting.

Nissan Qashqai 1.2 DIG-T 2WD Tekna

Price £23,145; 0-62mph 11.3sec; Top speed 114mph; Economy 50.4mpg(combined); CO2 129g/km; Kerb weight 1318kg; Engine 4 cyls turbocharged petrol, 1197cc; Power 113bhp at 5000rpm; Torque 140lb ft at 2000-4000rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual

Join the debate

Comments
9

10 January 2014
I always wonder how much more it'll cost to fit or have as an option the 1.4 turbo engine (it exist's in Renault form). Performance would be considerably better and mpg would be only marginally down, maybe even better in real world motoring. I suppose it's down to accountants rather than engineers.
Other than that I think I'd prefer it to a rattling 1.5 diesel anyday of the week

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

10 January 2014
Thats what I thought. Maybe it will soon though

10 January 2014
Did many people really buy the old car with a 1.6? I cant see that being up to much, any more than the 1.2 turbo here.

And we all know that adding a turbo to a small engine in a heavy car will mean awful real world fuel consumption, even if the EU test says otherwise.

I know this is the way the automotive world is going, but it doesnt mean i have to like it!

10 January 2014
...Nissan were also going to fit the 1.6T from the Juke for higher end models....?
I suppose it's still early days and other engine options could be added over the next 6-12 months.

"Why is http://www.nanoflowcell.com not getting more media attention? It could be the future... Now!"

10 January 2014
After having seen more pictures of the new Qashqai, I would say that the major changes appear inside the car.
Oh yes. The interior has certainly undergone a major make-over and looks rather upmarket and neat.

10 January 2014
Is this the same 1.2 from the Micra? If I remember well that is supercharged (possibly the only interesting thing about that Micra!)

Why turbo this one? Is this from under the bonnet of a Clio by any chance?

10 January 2014
paul896 wrote:

Is this the same 1.2 from the Micra?

No. As you say, that's supercharged and this is turbocharged but they're different engines as the Micra is only a 3 cylinder. That's too light on torque to lug a Qashqai around.


11 January 2014
I would like to see real world economy figures with three people on board. I am afraid that this is another paper tiger that produces great economy figures in a lab/on paper but suffers when faced with any sort of load. Mazda had a better approach to this and seeing the pricing of the higher end Qashqai models, is probably better value also.

GeToD

 

13 January 2014
A fine effort from Nissan and from my experience the purchasers of these vehicles do not look for performance. Just one problem. I beleive that some 90% of Qashai sales go to Motability. Its a pity but I know of people who wont buy one because of this.

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