Nissan Qashqai 1.3

dCi Tekna

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

WHEN you are the leader of the pack there's always someone out there eager to bring you down.

So as the producer of Europe's best selling crossover - the Qashqai - Nissan knows it has to stay ahead of the game to retain its crown and fend off any young pretenders.

The latest petrol Qashqais are, therefore, powered by a super efficient 1.3-litre engine Nissan has development in collaboration with Daimler.

They replace both the previous 1.2-litre and 1.6-litre petrol engines used by the Japanese car maker and - because of the tie up - are also used in the Mercedes-Benz A-Class models.

In the Qashqai there's now a choice of either 140bhp or 160bhp and I tried out the more powerful of the pair in a car in Tekna trim with a seven-speed dual clutch automatic gearbox.

And the first thing that has to be said is it doesn't feel like a 1.3-litre car it feels much more powerful. It's quiet, punchy and surprisingly quick off the mark for an engine of this size in such a spacious vehicle.

The new generation gearbox is seamless in operation and quick to respond to any kick down when you need more power. Moving the gearshift to the right puts the gearbox in Sport for even more sparkling results and a dramatic boost in pulling power.

This new gearbox gives the car a far more responsive feel compared to the CVT automatic gearbox used in the previous generation models while at the same time keeping noise levels to a minimum.

It's not hard to see why the Qashqai is such a best seller despite so many SUV models now available.

It's curvy, sleek and good looking thanks in part to its dynamic V-Motion grille, swept back headlights and silver roof rails. The high stance makes getting in and out easy whatever your age and is certainly one of its selling points.

And on the inside there's plenty of space for five people in what is a very smart cabin thanks to part leather seats, a huge panoramic glass sunroof, ambient lighting and an upgraded seven-inch touch screen, giving access to both Apple Carplay and Android Auto as well satellite navigation.

The front seats are heated and the driver's is electrically adjustable and there's dual zone climate control not to mention a premium Bose audio system.

It's one of those cars that, when you get behind the wheel, you feel instantly relaxed with.

The ride is slightly on the soft side but very comfortable even with five people on board. And despite that the handling is impressive with very little body roll on fast corners.

There's a generous 430 litres of boot space with the rear seatbacks upright and 1,585 litres with them folded down. And a double decker floor allows you to store smaller items at the lower level to make full use of the upper one.

Safety levels are high with features like rear cross traffic alert, blind spot warning, moving object detection, intelligent driver alert and automatic dipped/main beam headlights. And with all that on board it's a car which, as you would expect, gets the maximum five star Euro NCAP safety rating.

In addition this spec model comes with Nissan's ProPILOT which automatically keeps the car within the correct lane and ensures you stay a set distance from the car ahead of you, automatically stopping if the car in front stops.

FAST FACTS

Nissan Qashqai 1.3 dCi Tekna

Price: £29,695

Mechanical: 160bhp, 1,332cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 7-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 123mph

0-62mph: 9.9 seconds

Combined MPG: 49.6

Insurance Group: 20

C02 emissions: 131g/km

Bik rating: 31%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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