From £18,7409
Classy and clever UK-made SUV works remarkably well with small and impressively frugal petrol turbo engine

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
30 May 2014

What is it?

You’re looking at the latest, smallest-capacity version of Nissan’s all-conquering Qashqai SUV; designed, developed and built right here in the UK.

This is a two-wheel-drive model, conceived in the knowledge that many more soft-roaders are employed to collect kids from school than to climb mountains, so their owners are happy to avoid paying for a lot of heavy all-wheel-drive paraphernalia strapped underneath, a saving that amounts to several thousand pounds and 60-80kg.  

A few years ago, an SUV with a 1.2-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, even if turbocharged and able to muster a healthy 113bhp and 140lb ft of torque, would have been laughed out of court. Not enough grunt, people would have said. It’ll rev its head off and probably wear out before the rest of the car has lived half a life.

But times have changed. Modern customer demands (and modern engine design theory) have shown that small engines can deliver top-class durability while saving mass, space and internal friction, to the benefit of the total vehicle’s agility, performance, fuel consumption and braking performance.

This is why Nissan has chosen to offer its lightweight 1.2-litre 16-valve four-cylinder turbo petrol engine in Sunderland’s super-successful SUV, providing an entry-level alternative to the 108bhp 1.5-litre dCi diesel, already one of the range’s best-sellers. The petrol model is expected to gain altitude rapidly as customers discover its virtues.

What's it like?

A scan of the specifications sheet shows what close competition it poses for the similar-performance, somewhat more conventional 1.5-litre diesel (which we tested at the start of the year).

The 1.2-litre petrol, which comes with a standard six-speed gearbox, undercuts the diesel’s price by a handy £1260 and despite its lack of cubic inches it provides slightly brisker performance: 11.3sec 0-62mph acceleration against 12.4sec for the diesel.

The trade-off is fuel consumption 8-10mpg behind the 1.5dCi’s day-to-day figure in the late 40s, but a real-world figure of 38-42mpg is still impressive for any SUV, and some buyers will doubtless prefer the quietness and smoothness of a petrol engine (not to mention the lower price of four-star) to somewhat messier, pricier diesel fuel. 

Best of all, there’s a comparative nose-lightness about the petrol model that adds delicacy to the Qashqai’s already excellent steering: repeatedly on test we’ve found remarkably little difference between the agility of this well-developed SUV and the better-class C-segment saloons.

The Qashqai’s ride comfort is especially impressive: it’s quiet, well damped but well controlled and never wallowy. You quickly come to appreciate that this suspension has been developed with the UK’s widely varied (and frequently rutted and uneven) roads in mind.

All the usual Qashqai virtues are present in this lower-end petrol Acenta: impressive trim, convenient and easily read instruments, a pervading aura of quality, comfortable seats and better rear space than both opposition models and the previous Qashqai. The UK-built crossover already sells in huge numbers, and this new economical petrol model well deserves to share the success.

Should I buy one?

Yes, it’s a great small family-sized SUV. And the Acenta’s plush-but-sensible equipment level seems ideal for most modern users. But whether you choose the previously tested diesel or this latest petrol model probably comes down to personal prejudice.

The petrol model is a little smoother and quieter but not so frugal — but it saves you £1260 at the dealership. The diesel, though refined, rattles more at idle, is a bit more vocal on the motorway and can’t impart the special sensation of a sweet-revving petrol engine. On the other hand it’s bound to be better at light towing.

Nissan Qashqai Acenta 1.2 2WD

Price £19,580; 0-62mph 11.3sec; Top speed 114mph; Economy 50.4mpg combined; CO2 129gm/km; Kerb weight 1434kg; Engine 4 cyls in line, 1197cc, transverse; Power 113bhp at 5000rpm; Torque 140lb ft at 2000rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual

Join the debate

Comments
9

TS7

30 May 2014
...road test fuel economy figures with interest.

A weedy little 1.2t may claim the power & torque of a 2.0na and the econmy of a 1.2na, but in my experience it's more likely to have the torque of a 1.2na and the economy of a 2.0na. Result? Rev the nuts off it to make reasonable progress: loss of refinement, loss of economy, greater wear and tear, more complex to service and repair. All because of retarded european fuel economy tests.

30 May 2014
Yet another review highlighting the petrol equivalent is over £1000 cheaper to buy but failing to mention the 'D' word. Depreciation is your largest expense, and in my experience, even for low mileage users, a diesel is hard to beat when talking about costings. That £1000 difference could easily jump to £1500 difference come trade-in time on a vehicle like this. A petrol engined supermini makes sense but to stick a petrol in a car designed for carrying loads? It doesn't add up. I'd be surprised if petrol works out cheaper, no matter what your annual mileage is on a Qashqai

30 May 2014
scotty5 wrote:

Yet another review highlighting the petrol equivalent is over £1000 cheaper to buy but failing to mention the 'D' word. Depreciation is your largest expense, and in my experience, even for low mileage users, a diesel is hard to beat when talking about costings. That £1000 difference could easily jump to £1500 difference come trade-in time on a vehicle like this. A petrol engined supermini makes sense but to stick a petrol in a car designed for carrying loads? It doesn't add up. I'd be surprised if petrol works out cheaper, no matter what your annual mileage is on a Qashqai

Are you an accountant? People sometimes take not just money but also pleasure into account. The petrol version might well cost fewer pennies per mile overall but people like me don't care. We get a faster, quieter, more refined and sweeter handling car; we actually dislike diesels for all the obvious reasons and are happy to pay extra to avoid them. Why do you think people pay extra for mid spec rather than base, or for leather? Why do you think some people buy a Q5 when the Nissan will do the job?

30 May 2014
Sorry scotty5, but it's horses for courses. I have to agree with a lot of the posters on this subject. I just don't do the miles per year to justify buying a diesel engine car. I've had three diesels and all three suffered a malady of mishaps due to my short journey styles. So it's petrol all the way for me.
And while we're on this subject, why are so many car manufacturers obsessed with trying to get joe public to buy diesels? Also many car magazines just seem to road test diesel engine cars. i.e. I'd love to get hold of a Hyundai X35 petrol for example. But what did they do? Put out a base car as the only petrol option. I do approx. 8k a year, mainly urban driving of less than 3 miles a day. On my daily commute to work, my diesel engined cars barely started to warm up!
At present I run a 2.0 Subaru Impreza. The fuel consumption and running costs may be steep but I don't suffer DMF, DPF, injectors, turbo or unburnt fuel flowing back into the sump and wrecking the engine problems.

30 May 2014
Please dont put 4 star in this... if you still have it at your local!

--------------------

 

 

30 May 2014
I ran a 1.2 TSI Yeti for two years, averaging 42mpg over that time. These engines do work in cars like this, try one if you doubt it.

Don't forget that there will be no DPF or DMF reliability issues with the petrol either and if I remember rightly, this petrol engine has a chain cam, the diesel a belt, so all extra costs (and big costs) down the line for the diesel. Long term it has to be petrol unless you do big miles.

30 May 2014
Now that's a glowing tribute from an old-timer. Steve Cropley: "on test we’ve found remarkably little difference between the agility of this well-developed SUV and the better-class C-segment saloons."
I enjoy driving so this could be a deal-maker. I'm still a step away from becoming a believer in small turbo-charged petrol engines, but with the advances in technology, the resistance is wearing thin.

31 May 2014
I keep looking at these and a few years ago while visiting the local Nissan dealer was told the diesel versions regularly come in with DPF issues and associated warning lights, I guess if your journeys are mostly long motorway ones the diesel would suit best and if most are local short ones then this would be fine. Be interesting to know what the mpg figures are at motorway speeds.

 Offence can only be taken not given- so give it back!

1 June 2014
Thank you so much! Really rich content and very useful information. I found my problem’s solution starting over here. I exceedingly advocate his/her machinery by means of the valuable enlightening information.

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Lexus LC500
    Car review
    20 October 2017
    Futuristic Lexus LC coupé mixes the latest technology with an old-school atmospheric V8
  • Maserati Levante S GranSport
    First Drive
    20 October 2017
    Get ready to trade in your diesels: Maserati’s luxury SUV finally gets the engine it’s always needed
  • Jaguar XF Sportbrake TDV6
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The handsome Jaguar XF Sportbrake exhibits all the hallmarks that makes the saloon great, and with the silky smooth diesel V6 makes it a compelling choice
  • Volkswagen T-Roc TDI
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    Volkswagen's new compact crossover has the looks, the engineering and the build quality to be a resounding success, but not with this diesel engine
  • BMW M550i
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The all-paw M550i is a fast, effortless mile-muncher, but there's a reason why it won't be sold in the UK