Nissan Qashqai Visia

1.5 dci

Nissan Qashqai, front, action
Nissan Qashqai, boot
Nissan Qashqai, rear, action
Nissan Qashqai, instrument panel
Nissan Qashqai, interior
Nissan Qashqai, rear
Nissan Qashqai, side
Nissan Qashqai, front

SOME times a little tweak here and there can go a long way.

Having previously been underwhelmed by the styling of the Nissan's massively successful crossover, the mini facelift to the Qashqai has made a quite a difference. Well to me it has.

The British-built Nissan was introduced in 2007 and sold like hot cakes while hoovering up awards across the European motoring press.

Now, minor upgrades at the rear end and significant changes at the front, including the new bonnet, front bumper, wings, grille and headlamps and new five-spoke alloys, have given the car an more sporty and svelte look.

As one of the leading crossovers, it retains the high ground clearance and commanding driving position, much loved by SUV enthusiasts.

But it also retains the practicality that makes it a real challenger to traditional hatchbacks. While it may look like a four-wheel drive, (and all-wheel drive is available), the Qashqai with two-wheel drive offers big tax and fuel savings, especially now it has added a Pure Drive variant.

The  badge is reserved for the Nissan's greenest models. Engine and drive modification, plus better aerodynamics and weight means the car produces CO2 emissions of  only 129g/km, reduced from the 137g/km of the standard model.

This, together low rolling resistance tyres, means the car is even more frugal than before, with a huge 57.6mpg claimed, up from 55.3 mpg.

The figure seemed entirely believable in a week where many miles were covered and the fuel gauge seemed reluctant to move.

Despite all the fuel saving, the car is no slouch and the 106bhp engine can accelerate from 0 to 62mph in 12.8 seconds and on to a top speed of 109mph - not lightning fast, but quick enough. There have also been modifications to the interior with a new look to the main dials and a  redesigned drive computer featuring new white LCD screen.

The other instrumentation remains, clear, uncluttered and easy to use. As is the cabin. It exudes a feeling of roominess and light which makes for a better driving experience, especially with the optional panoramic roof.

Extra oddment holders and storage trays have been added, as has low-level lighting around the front footwells. There is a 14-litre cooled glovebox which can take 15 drink cans and the centre console storage box can hold up to eight CDs in their cases.

The car is comprehensively equipped, even at entry level with air con, electric windows and door mirrors, drive computer, radio with single CD player and aux socket for MP3 players.

For safety ESP stability control is standard across the range as are driver, passenger and side airbags and seatbelt pretensioners. Active headrests are also included on the front seats and in the case of rear impact the full-length panoramic roof where fitted is made from laminated glass to ensure it will not shatter in the event of a roll-over crash.

The cargo space with the rear luggage cover in place is 410 litres, which rises to 860 litres to window level and a total of 1513 litres to the roof with the rear seats folded.

It offers and excellent choice of engines, responsive steering and a smooth ride make the car an engaging drive, apart from some body roll on corners.

FAST FACTS

Nissan Qashqai Visia 1.5 dci

Price: £16,695

Mechanical: 106bhp, 1461cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 109mph

0-62mph: 12.8 seconds

Combined MPG: 57.6

Insurance Group: 6

C02 emissions: 129g/km

Bik rating: 18%

Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles

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