The Nissan Qashqai is Britain’s most produced car. It is regularly in the nation’s top 10 best-sellers and the latest version, just out, has been designed and engineered in Britain too.
So this is a car that needs a thorough test, and it’s certainly going to get one over the next fortnight, because Autocar is driving an example to Istanbul and back.
Why Istanbul? Because it bridges Europe and Asia. Asia is the home of the Qashqai’s Nissan brand, and Europe is this car’s birthplace. And because it is a long way away – 5000 miles, 20 countries and (all being well) 13 days away in fact.
In case you’re wondering, the countries in question are England, France, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland, the Netherlands and Belgium.
The journey starts in Sunderland, where the Qashqai is made and where an example spits off the production line every 59 seconds, 24 hours a day.
Yesterday’s mission, rather easier than producing a duplicate in 59 seconds, was to drive our 1.6d dCi Acenta Premium the best part of 300 miles to Egham, Surrey, where Mark Tisshaw will take over sharing its cabin with snapper Stan Papior.
That mostly involved cruising the A1 and M1, a task that the Nissan performs with impressive refinement, the latest generation of its Renault-sourced dCi diesel is a lot more civilised, besides serving a usefully broader sweep of torque.
Other plus points? According to the trip computer it’s turning in over 47mpg (we’ll have a more accurate measure at the end) the sat-nav’s traffic-jam detouring seems very effective and its display is pretty clear, too. And this is a better-finished Qashqai inside, too. A shame the Acenta doesn’t get you adjustable lumbar support though, because there’s not enough of it.
After I handed over the Qashqai’s key, the Tisshaw/Papior duo refuelled and made the 22.50 Chunnel crossing, the on-train interval providing them time to attach a set of headlight deflectors.
They made Lille in the small hours, and are bound for Liechtenstein today via Luxembourg, Germany, Austria and Switzerland.