Nissan Qashqai a

dish worth serving

Nissan Qashqai, front
Nissan Qashqai, front
Nissan Qashqai, rear
Nissan Qashqai, rear
Nissan Qashqai, interior
Nissan Qashqai, interior

DURING a long and distinguished detachment from reality I have linked various motor cars with non sequiturs.

Kentucky Fried chicken is not one of them.

However the current end of days being marked by unavailability of KFC, as it is known in the land of the drive 'thru', is worthy of comment.

This is a dish almost exclusively confined in its availability to car owners.

Very few people take a bus or train to an exciting finger-lickin' feast.

Colonel Saunders may have travelled in a Surrey with a fringe on top but that is some time ago.

Things have moved on even if you apparently still have to wash with your tongue, the napkin having not made it to parts of the USA.

The reason, I suspect, is not that KFC is just a benevolent-bearded old man but the original product and so perfected over many years.

Bringing us, with a side of beans, to the Nissan Qashqai.

It is ten years since Nissan spooked the horses by launching what it billed as the car for the urban jungle.

Since then it has remained consistently at the top end of the sales charts although now, having unleashed the beast, comes under increasing pressure from quality opposition like the Peugeot 3008, Mazda CX-5 and SEAT Ateca to name but a few.

Still the demand for the first of these new kids on the block remains strong and a recent facelift has pulled up the Qashqai's socks with improved cabin quality and ride.

Some rivals capture the imagination with more technically engaging features but this remains a benchmark for family practicality and space.

One unexpected benefit of the Qashqai's development is that it has encouraged Nissan to take the X-Trail out of the pony towing club and into competition with truly upmarket seven-seaters.

The specific version being served up today is the Tekna+ 130 dCi, powered by a 1,600cc Renault diesel which, via a six-speed manual gearbox hits 62mph in 9.9 seconds while returning a combined fuel figure claimed to be 64.2mpg.

Clearly no racing car but with good rear and boot space and frugal running costs, one the family with an eye on exterior good looks should consider.

The ride is refined and there are no qualms about the engine noise.

This I can tell you because Mrs O likes to immediately tune the radio to BBC4 and I switch it off when I get in rather than listen to some supercilious drivel masquerading as news features.

You drive to music not a discussion on third-world water pipes.

That music should be the sort which stimulates enthusiasm and the handling of the Qashqai is composed, helped by Active Trace Control which applies the brakes to individual wheel to keep you on line.

Obviously given its heritage the car is also good around town and it cruises the miles without fuss on longer flights.

All this is happening while you sit in a quality, if unremarkable, cabin which only has a somewhat cluttered instrument display to annoy.

The Tekna equipment list is more than just extensive, self-parking is one feature as is a 360 degree camera.

Other safety fixtures include the now almost compulsory cross traffic alert, driver alert, road sign recognition and emergency intelligent braking.

We really are getting to the point at which the car can be sent out with a tenner for the Saturday takeaway.

There are all the bits car costing £31,575 should have; seven-inch touch screen, navigation system, all the electronics your heart desires and a quality sound system.

Upholstery is leather trimmed and lots of items like a sunroof, tinted glass and electric tailgate are standard.

Doubtless the Qashqai is the original that launched a thousand crossovers the question is, like a Nuttalls Mintoe, is it still the best?

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