Nissan Qashqai

Tekna+ 2WD manual

158ps

Nissan Qashqai, 2021, front
Nissan Qashqai, 2021, side
Nissan Qashqai, 2021, rear
Nissan Qashqai, 2021, instrument panel
Nissan Qashqai, 2021, rear seats
Nissan Qashqai, 2021, boot

THE Sunderland built Nissan Qashqai has dominated the compact SUV market in the UK since it first arrived over 15 years ago.

It is such a common sight on our roads that it easy to forget that it changed everything when it created a new sector.

Since then practically every other manufacturer on the planet has produced their take on a compact SUV so the market is more challenging than ever.

To make sure that they hold on to their share of this lucrative sector Nissan recently launched the third generation Qashqai and it is better than ever.

It still offers practicality combined with decent handling and performance but the new model boasts more technology and quality.

Since the company has its sights on going electric the new Qashqai is only available with a 1.3-litre DiG-T petrol engine with 48-volt mild hybrid technology.

There's a choice of outputs of 138hp or 156hp and with the option of two or four-wheel drive and automatic or manual gearboxes. Numerous trim levels are also available to customers.

I sampled the car in the flagship Tekna+ trim with the more powerful engine, 2WD and a six-speed manual box.

It handled the 0-62mph sprint in 9.5 seconds and is good for 128mph in the right conditions. It is capable of returning up to 51.5 mpg and has a claimed combined figure of 43.6 mpg under the latest WLTP conditions.

The was priced at £34,175 on the road and smart ceramic grey paint and a black roof took the total up to £35,320.

The new Qashqai is bigger thanks to an extended wheelbase that gives it more presence and the front features the large Nissan V-motion grille finished in chrome. There are slim full LED headlights with boomerang daytime running lights and large 20-inch alloy wheels. A glassroof, roof rails and privacy glass add to its handsome appearance.

With an eye on the competition Nissan has taken the cabin upmarket and my car featured ambient lighting, power operated quilted leather seats and a stack of technology.

The infotainment system has been upgraded and includes easy integration of smartphones via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, in-car wi-fi and a10-speaker Bose surround sound system.

You also get a head-up display, 12.3-inch driver tft screen and thankfully separate controls for the climate.

The Qashqai is no slouch but it focuses on comfort rather than speed and that is just what most of its buyers will want.

There are drive modes called Eco, Standard and Sport that alter the vehicle's responses, while the ProPilot set-up assists with steering, acceleration and braking and helps maintain the car's lane position and distance from the vehicle in front -ideal for motorway work.

The Qashqai offers lots of grip and there is not a lot of body roll even in tight corners.

The longer wheelbase means there is more room inside for passengers and four adults can travel in comfort and five for shorter journeys.

A powered tailgate offers easy access to the boot which can take 436 litres of kit and this increases to 1,379 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat. A double boot floor is also part of the deal.

The third-gen Qashqai boasts a wealth of safety kit including the clever Intelligent Forward Emergency Braking with predictive function. This is able to read the road ahead of the car in front to detect if a vehicle suddenly brakes and reacts accordingly. Another new feature is a central airbag that protects front occupants in the event of a side collision.

The Qashqai may have lots of rivals but this new model means that it will remain a UK favourite for many years and next year Nissan is introducing its E-Power system to the range.

FAST FACTS

Nissan Qashqai Tekna+ 2WD manual 158ps

Price:£34,175

Mechanical: 158ps, 1.3-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine driving front wheels via a manual gearbox

Max Speed:128mph

0-62mph: 9.5 seconds

Combined MPG:43.6mpg

Insurance Group:19

C02 emissions:146g/km

Bik rating:34%

Warranty:3yrs/60,000miles

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