Nissan Qashqai 1.3

DIG-T Tekna 160ps

Nissan Qashqai, 2018, side
Nissan Qashqai, 2018, front
Nissan Qashqai, 2018, side, static
Nissan Qashqai, 2018, dashboard
Nissan Qashqai, 2018, 1.3-litre engine
Nissan Qashqai, 2018, boot

If Helen of Troy was the face that launched a thousand ships then the Nissan Qashqai could perhaps be billed as the car which launched a thousand crossovers.

Okay, maybe a thousand might be a bit of an exaggeration, but the Qashqai could certainly be hailed as the car which got the crossover ball rolling.

It served as the blueprint for all the scaled-down SUVs that have burst on to the scene since its arrival more than ten years ago.

Essentially people can't get enough of crossovers, which are now available in all manner of shapes and sizes, and every mainstream car maker is churning them out for all they're worth.

Before the Qashqai a crossover was something slightly different - an estate car that served as a halfway house between a conventional estate and an SUV. They had ever so slightly elevated ride height, more rugged looks and more often than not four-wheel drive.

But latterly the term has come to encompass the plethora of modern day vehicles that are characterised by SUV styling, without necessarily being an SUV.

It was Nissan who paved the way into this brave new world - announcing plans for a range of SUV-inspired vehicles big and small.

I recall reading about it - pre-Qashqai - and thinking it sounded an interesting prospect, if a tad strange.

Anyway, the rest as they say is history and the Qashqai went on to become the genre-defining model for this new classification of vehicle.

The Qashqai has evolved considerably since then, but like all success stories it has stuck pretty closely to its original brief as a family car that looks like an SUV.

Its distinguishing features are added ride height and the chunky styling clues that define an SUV. With that comes inherent practicality.

Put all these together and its easy to see why crossovers, or compact and mid-sized SUVs as they are also commonly known, have proved so popular.

The second generation version of the Qashqai underwent a hefty mid-life makeover in 2017 and changes have followed since then, the latest being the addition of a new petrol engine.

The 1.3 DIG-T engine replaces 1.2 and 1.4-litre petrol units and offers more power, better economy and lower emissions than both.

It is available in two power guises - delivering either 140ps or 160ps.

As one might expect the lower powered variant offers better economy at the expense of performance and vice versa.

This car was fitted with the 160ps engine, which will take the Qashqai from 0-62mph in 8.9 seconds and offers economy on the combined cycle of 49.6mpg.

The 140ps variant completes the 0-62mph sprint in a little over 10 seconds and has an overall economy figure of 53.2mpg.

Emission figures are 130g/km for the 160ps and 121g/km for the 140ps.

The Renault-Nissan alliance have done a great job with the new engine, which is super-smooth and refined.

This was a Tekna model, which sits near the top of the range and is only topped by the Tekna+.

It helps make for a decent drive in a vehicle which is definitely more car-like than SUV-like.

There's minimal pitch and role and the ride quality is noticeably comfortable.

On the inside the Qashqai has definitely become plusher and more premium in character over the years.

That's in line with automotive trends but Nissan have made notably big strides in this regard.

There's plenty of up to the minute tech, including a 7in touchscreen navigation and entertainment system which is excellent and wonderfully easy to use.

The spacious cabin is another big Qashqai bonus, as is the 403-litre boot, which expands to 1,958 with the rear seats folded.

FAST FACTS

Nissan Qashqai 1.3 DIG-T Tekna 160ps

Price: £28,445

Mechanical: 160ps, 1,332cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 120mph

0-62mph: 8.9 seconds

Combined MPG: 49.6

Insurance Group: 19

C02 emissions: 130g/km

Bik rating: 28%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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