Published on August 26th, 2012 | by Trevor Lamenya23
Question; how do you move 5 adults and 2 kids about and you don’t want to be driving a bus or a big 4×4? What are your options? A hatchback perhaps? The Qashqai tries to be a hatchback. In a MPV/SUV world dominated by 4×4’s that either can’t or won’t be driven off road, and big bulky boxes, one is deluded into thinking that in order to move a lot of stuff or more than 5 people, the price to be paid is a clumsy un-car-like drive.
Nissan is successfully challenging this. Their Qashqai MPV range attempts to be more hatchback than bus and in my opinion succeeds. With its challenging looks (sorry Nissan) and bulging crouching tiger twin bonnet power bulges it looks like sheet-metal draped tightly over bulging taught muscle. They have taken the Qashqai and extended it. Not so much that you would immediately notice. According to Nissan this gives some headroom to the new, third row of seats and adds 16mm for the driver’s row and 10mm for the middle row who also get 23mm more for their knees. That middle row slides backwards and forwards considerably, making it, when in 5 seater mode, capable of taking a lot of luggage in the back. The fabric choice is robust and seems easy to keep clean. The interior, while not in the league of the Teutonic executive class is not shoddy and cheap feeling. In fact Nissan is developing a solid interior presence across their range with finishes appropriate to their sectors.
A good sound system with auxiliary input is also standard, as is climate control. So too is their excellent Bluetooth car kit. All manufacturers should follow this lead and make car kits standard fitment on all but the cheapest of variants. Unusually I thought, rear park distance control is not standard fitment, and that surprised me on a vehicle like this. Not a problem as such, as the car has excellent visibility and sight lines, but I was surprised, given a vehicle that bothers with standard fitment of full climate control and features like full rear window blackout to further help keep temperatures down and prying eyes out.
I know this is a silly question but, would I want to make extensive use of those back two seats? Hell yes! If I had pint sized brief buddies. But let’s be honest, unless you go for a fully-fledged bus, that third row is always a compromise. But if your lifestyle extends to moving that many people about those are the breaks.
Having analyzed the car’s design theme, it was time to get jiggy with it; not literally as you may think but to put to test its performance capabilities. Straight to our usual Kitengela test ground, I pushed the responsive engine just to get a feel of it on full throttle. The 2.0 litre engine found in the Qashqai is able to deliver a 0-100kph dash in just over 10 seconds and is mated to a 6 speed CVT autobox that enables the engine to offer a combined consumption of about 8.5l/100km. Drifting in to the beaten track, this vehicles felt a little brittle, as the suspension was tuned for city driving. Overcoming the ruts wasn’t an issue as the all wheel drive system kept on redistributing power to the wheel with less traction. However noticing that its brakes shudder on full braking effect isn’t a good thing; then again it’s no sports car so I will leave it at that. It feels nimble and handles averagely well. It has a solid feeling build quality and is well thought out.
In my valued opinion not too many vehicles have this much space and are this easy to get about in. For under Kshs. 5 million, theQashqai offers more car for your money as compared to similar crossovers. Despite it having a queer design theme, its pricing can make me turn a blind eye for them. Simply put it’s the best proposition in the market especially if you have a young and growing family.